Welcome back to Part 2 of our Green Kitchen Series! In this post, we discuss appliances and kitchenware that are both eco-friendly and non-toxic! Let's get started!
Green Equipment – Appliances and Kitchenware
Most kitchenware, such as Teflon pots and pans, are made with toxic chemicals like PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and BPAs (bisphenol A), which are carcinogenic. When choosing kitchenware, materials to look for are:
- Glass and Corningware
- Cast Iron
- Stainless Steel
These materials are non-toxic and have a longer shelf-life than Teflon and plastic, saving you both bodily harm and money! Below is a list of brands that are eco- and people-friendly.
Appliances like fridges, stoves and ovens are a big deal – I mean, they're the tools you really need in order to cook, so how can we use those tools for good instead of continuously wasting energy with them? Let's read on to find out!
When it comes to fridges, size does matter and smaller is better. Now don't get us wrong – we're total suckers for those fancy fridges with the nice French doors and huge freezers – but we also like to consider ourselves practical folks and, practically-speaking, refrigerators of that size are just not necessary for most homes.
When buying energy-efficient fridges, find the smallest size that fits your family best and always look for the Energy Star logo as appliances with that label have been identified by the US Department of Energy as being the most energy-efficient products of their class.
It's also important to be aware of the temperature settings on your fridge (the optimal setting is Normal for both your freezer and refrigerator), as well as how long your refrigerator door stays open. It's the little steps that lead to the biggest reward and these little steps will definitely pay off in the long run.
Dishwashers have generally, in the past, not been the most eco-friendly kitchen appliance, but newer models are touted as being able to conserve more water than had you done the dishes by hand (a major selling point for us because, honestly, who likes doing dishes?). If you don't want to buy a new dishwasher (and we can't blame you for that), here are some tips to keep in mind to make the dishwasher you currently have green and sexy:
- Always wash a full load – only two plates in there? C'mon now, let's get serious.
- Use all-natural cleaning products – when it comes to cleaning products that are all-natural and biodegradable, your options are limitless! You could even make your own cleaning supplies (something we'll get to in the last part of our Green Kitchen series).
- Skip the pre-rinse – pre-rinsing in any situation is superfluous and dishwashing is no exception.
- Air dry your dishes – this method saves energy and still requires no work!
- Lower the temperature – while I admit that I like it when my plates are toasty and warm, it's also not necessary for them to be 120 degrees toasty and warm.
- Run the dishwasher during non-peak hours
When it comes to stoves, you have two options: gas or electric, and each come with their own set of Pros and Cons. While gas stoves are ideal for cooking, they still burn fossil fuels making them not so environmentally friendly. However, most companies use coal-burning plants to produce electricity, making it a not-so-great option either. So what's a green cook to do?! Well, never fear, we've done the hard work for you and have broken down the difference between gas and electric stoves and how to make the appliances you currently have Gaea-friendly.
We get it, gas stoves are great for cooks, so if you're committed to keeping your gas stove or buying a new one, one green tip is to purchase an appliance with a low BTU (British Thermal Unit) output. The lower the BTU output, the more energy efficient your stove will be.
When I first saw an electric stove, I felt like a caveman seeing fire for the first time. I ooohed and aahed and thought, “Man, we really are living in the future!” Since then, technology behind electric stoves has advanced, bringing with it stoves that are not only green-kitchen friendly, but as functional as gas stoves are. The only drawback, however, is that electric stoves can be a bit pricey – especially induction element stoves. We've written a short summary of the different kinds of electric stoves on the market and their Pros and Cons to help you decide what the best option for its price would be.
– Induction Element Stoves
Induction element stoves are the most energy-efficient option. These kinds of stoves use less than half the energy of standard coil elements by transferring electromagnetic energy directly to the pan, resulting in less heat lost. The only drawback to these stoves is their price, which can be a bit steep. If you're willing to shell out the money though, induction element stoves will definitely save you money in the long-run and is the most eco-friendly option on the market.
-Halogen Element Stoves
Halogen element stoves are the next best option after induction elements. These particular breed of stoves deliver heat instantly to the surface of your cookware and can respond quickly to changes in temperature setting. With their ceramic-glass surface, they're also incredibly easy to clean, making them a favorite among consumers for their energy-efficiency and ease of use. The only drawback to these stoves is that they're only efficient when there is solid, even contact between the cookware and the ceramic surface.
– Standard Electric Coils
These stoves are the least energy-efficient.
For a list of the most energy-efficient products currently on the market, check out Energy Star.
*If buying all new appliances isn't an option, the second best way to make sure you're doing your part to conserve energy is to take great care of the appliances you do have in order to prolong their life and reduce waste. The longer you have your appliances for, the less you have to throw out and the more money you can save. Fancy that!
If you missed Part 1 of our Green Kitchen series – how to cook and eat green – check it out here. The last part of our Green Kitchen series will go over green cleaning and feature recipes for homemade household cleaning products. We'll also provide some resources to green communities that make reducing, reusing and recycling fun! See you next week!
If you enjoyed Part 2 of our Green Kitchen series let us know in the Comments section below! We love reading your comments and hearing your feedback, and try our best to respond to our awesome, lovely readers. If you have some green kitchen tips and/or resources you'd like to share, shoot us an email or leave a comment. HomemadeRecipes.com was founded as an online community where foodies and chefs can share recipes, learn new ones and have fun while doing it. If you love to cook, love food or have some great recipes and ideas you’d like to share with us, shoot us an email and make sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! We’re always looking for contributors and we want to hear from you.
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