Where the environment is concerned, we all have to be responsible for our impact.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to helping the environment, with feelings of insignificance. Daily I’m reminded “We must become the change we wish to see” literally reminded, my partner has it tattooed on his arm. The quote from Ghandi speaks to me of responsibility, a call to action in small achievable steps. Of the insignificant having significance in their own life and environment.
And as foodies where better to start than in the kitchen.
Rhetoric and unattainable, expensive, time involved solutions removed, here are my top 5 of my top 10 ways to save the world.
If you apply just one of these you have changed your impact for the positive.
Start small and believe big.
1. Invest in a couple of Silpat Mats.
Silpat Mats are non stick reusable baking mats that are made from a combination of silicone and fiberglass. They are totally food safe, have a broad temperature range, don’t ever need greasing, don’t warp or move while in use and can be used for hundreds if not thousands of times before they need replacing.
Silpat mats can make kitchen work a breeze. Great for rolling dough, baking, and sugar work.
Using reusable silicone mats instead of the silicone baking paper helps reduces the consumption and therefore waste of silicone baking paper and saves you a lot of money.
Silpats can be found in good home ware stores and online (there are some great bargains on ebay)
2. Eat leftovers.
- discard up to 20% of the food they purchase
- That’s 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries they buy
- On average Australians throw $1,036 of food away each year
It is estimated by the UN that 1/3 of the worlds food, or 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted world wide. The British have estimated that number to be closer to 1/2 of the worlds food. Either way that is one completely alarming fact.
Learn how to use leftovers. Turn those sad almost out of date produce into amazing mish mash meals, frittata, stirfry. Create a meal plan and stick to it, to purchase only what s required. Try shopping every few days only for what you need, therefore your produce is always fresh. Learn how to par cook and freeze certain vegetables when you have excess.
3. Save your cooking water for the garden.
Water that has been used to cook veggies or pasta can be left to cool and then used on your garden, especially your veggie garden that will love the extra hit of nutrients that is held in the water.
4. Shop locally at a farmers market near you.
Reduce carbon emissions by shopping locally. You also traditionally shop seasonally and help out local farmers. The produce you buy is fresher and will potentially last you longer. Most take their own reusable bags, reducing the plastic that is heading for our landfill.
Rhubarb from my local markets
5. Make stock
This is the step I’m most passionate about.
With some vegetable scraps, some pantry standard seasonings, spices and the bones of a leftover roast chicken you can create a rich tasting broth that is full of nutrients and flavour. The stock made from all the ingrdients typically thrown away can then be used where ever stock is required. Stock can be frozen and simply defrosted when needed.
I keep a container in the freezer where my vegetable scraps can build up. Onion skins and cut offs, garlic trimmings, peelings, ends of carrots, pumpkin skin all make regular appearances in the scraps container. I also keep a container with left over chicken bits and bones. When I have gathered enough to make a stock I put them into a pot, set it on a mellow temperature to percolate for anywhere from 6 to 36 hours. The longer it is brewed, the more nourishing and flavoursome it is.
You will be reducing waste, carbon emissions, and helping to reduce methane production by speeding up the decomposition of the cooked ingredients. All of that and you get stock.
This is part 1 of my 10 ways to help the world from your kitchen. To check out Park 2 click here.
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