So how do we create an eco friendly kitchen? Following on from our recent IGTV video with Annabel from Dizzle Sky, we wanted to write a blog post all about what we can do to reduce food waste in our homes, and make our kitchens more eco-friendly. Dizzle Sky runs kitchen coaching sessions and a kitchen club membership, which supports people to gain confidence in the kitchen, enabling them to cook and eat well. The kitchen club enables people to access community support and resources, and as Annabel emphasised in our video, having confidence in the kitchen is key in being able to know what food you already have, and how to make something from those ingredients. This in turn, creates a cooking environment which is far less wasteful overall. Being mindful of using every last bit of something and using up leftover ingredients, is something that can require a fair bit of planning, and so we wanted to share some of our tips from the video in this blog post, to inspire others to eat less wastefully.
We’re not always taught how to cook growing up, and this can make a massive difference in having the knowledge and confidence to be able to put meals together from scratch. Businesses such as Dizzle Sky, demonstrate how important it is for people to have access to education and support around cooking and eating well. Trying to be more resourceful with our food can feel incredibly stressful, however we hope this blog post helps some of you in reducing your food waste and making the most out of your meals!
A few top tips
Some ideas we came up with whilst chatting to Annabel, included ideas surrounding what to do with slightly soggy lettuce or salad leaves, and vegetable peelings. Some great solutions for this kind of food waste are as follows:
- For those not quite perfect salad leaves, a great way to avoid them going into the bin is to add these leaves to something else to add extra texture and flavour. Using these leaves in soups or stocks can be a great way to get some extra nutrients into your food, especially for those of us with fussy eaters in the house!
- Another great option for veg waste, as suggested by Annabel, was to use broccoli cores in sauces and dips such as satay sauce and guacamole. Once blended with other ingredients, the core helps to thicken the sauce and add to the texture too!
- With vegetable peelings, these can be added to the stock or base of a casserole or soup when cut up finely.
- Some salad veg such as celery, lettuce and spinach can also be refreshed by placing into fresh water. This also works with fresh cut herbs such as basil and coriander, which helps these ingredients to last longer.
Additionally, we found that many people throw fruit and vegetables away which are perfectly good to eat, due to the expiry dates on these foods. It’s good to know that legally, these expiry dates are required, however often fruit and veg can last much longer than the dates provided on their packaging. With situations like these it’s best to exercise your common sense and check!
When looking to avoid food waste, one of the best things we can do is take a more considered approach when shopping in the supermarket. For example, by planning what meals you are going to eat and sticking to a shopping list, you are less likely to buy excess food. Additionally, we know how tempting it can be sometimes to buy more of something, simply because it is on offer, or cheaper than buying the amount we actually need. However, the problem with this is that it can contribute to more food waste, if these extras aren’t used up. With this in mind, it’s good to consider thoughts such as, ‘Do I need this?’ and ‘Will I use all of these?’, before making a purchase. When we do have surplus food, apps such as OLIO allow users to post a listing for unused food, for other people to pick up for free. Of course, this is not ideal at the moment due to the current restrictions in place due to coronavirus, however it’s something to consider in the future. Another app, called Too Good To Go, allows users to pick up a mystery bag of surplus food from local shops and cafes, for below retail price.
When it comes to maintaining an eco-friendly kitchen, the utensils we use can make a big impact. Using glass tupperware for storing leftovers helps cut down on your plastic consumption, as well as keeping your meal stored safely. Additionally, beeswax wraps are great for wrapping up items such as a halved avocado, or to put over a container, and snack pouches such as those by NomNom are great for taking food on the go, without added plastic waste. Using alternatives such as a wooden washing pot brush, a dishwashing soap bar, and compostable sponges, can also have a great impact on reducing plastic waste when cleaning the dishes. Meanwhile, reusable kitchen rolls and refillable cleaning solutions will help keep your kitchen clean, all the while enabling you to sustain an environmentally conscious kitchen.
So when looking to make your kitchen environment and food shop more sustainable, keep these key points in mind:
- Make sure to plan ahead. Write your shopping lists, put your reusable shopping bags by the front door or in the car, and make sure to give yourself time to shop!
- Make the switch to eco-friendly kitchen cleaning products, such as these ocean saver cleaning pods and these compostable kitchen sponges.
- Remember to use up what you already have before buying more ingredients or food, get creative in the kitchen and make the most out of the food you buy!