*sigh* We know, we’re also sad that Earth Day came and went so quickly (can’t it, at least, be a month long celebration?), but just because the official day is over doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate our planet 365 days a year. To help you do just that (because who doesn’t love this pale blue dot we live on?), we’ve written a 3 part series on how to make your current kitchen a Gaea-friendly one. So, let’s get started on our journey to making Earth a greener, cleaner place!
While there are many ways of becoming eco-friendly, we’re going to discuss the 4 main ways you can transform your kitchen: green cooking, green equipment, green cleaning, and resources/communities you can refer to to make going green fun (because it should never be boring)!
Part 1: Green Cooking/Eating
image via Shutterstock
When transitioning to a green kitchen (and lifestyle), the first step is changing what you stock your kitchen with.
Local and Organic
Buying local is the best way to connect with your food and community as you’re meeting and buying directly from the people who are growing your produce. There are two options when it comes to buying local: Farmer’s Markets or CSAs.
I LOVE farmer’s markets. If it were legally possible, I would marry a farmer’s market, but then again that would be a lot of people to marry and being in a relationship with one person is enough. Farmer’s markets are not only great for buying local produce, they’re also really fun to go to as most of them feature local vendors who sell artisanal products and food (gourmet donuts and handcrafted jewelry, anyone?). While these markets are generally associated with higher prices, there are some markets out there that cater specifically to certain income brackets and even offer deals for large families. If you’re unsure as to where a farmer’s market is around you, I’ve posted a nifty little link below to an amazing site that has every farmer’s market, along with the day and times they run, in the country. Enjoy and happy produce hunting!
CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) are the second best option when it comes to buying local and are great for people who don’t have time to visit farmer’s markets or may not have one near them.
CSA boxes are standard boxes filled with vegetables and fruit that are then delivered to your home every week (you can schedule the frequency, date and time of delivery). While in the past, you didn’t have the option of choosing what comes in your box (which is really half the fun and all the creativity), some CSA’s now offer the option of selecting which seasonal produce (and sometimes cheeses and other goodies) get delivered to you. Most CSA’s offer varying size boxes, different packages for produce ratios, and frequency of delivery, making them a convenient option. Local Harvest also has a CSA directory to help you find one in your area.
If you can’t get to a farmer’s market (we totally understand that people work full-time jobs and are busy with other things) or don’t have the option of setting up CSA deliveries, the next best option is buying organic produce from your grocery store. Yes, eating local and organic seem to be the hottest (how very Paris Hilton of us) trend taking American media and grocery stores by storm, but however annoying these buzz words might be to you, it’s important to acknowledge the scientific validity and merit to claims that organic produce is better, more nutritious and less toxic than conventional produce.
Studies conducted by the FDA and analyzed by the EWG (Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization) have proven that organic produce does, in fact, contain fewer pesticides than conventional produce. In 2007, a study conducted in the United Kingdom by Newcastle University showed that organic produce contained up to 40% more nutrients than their conventional counterparts, so when you buy organic you’re not only doing your body good, you’re also being kinder and gentler to the Earth as you have voted, with your fork, to purchase foods raised with little to no toxic pesticides. Hooray!
Buying organic can, however, be a bit pricey, so if you’re shopping on a budget, here’s a list of produce you should always buy organic versions of (the items in this list were chosen due to their high pesticide content and toxicity):
- sweet bell peppers
- cherry tomatoes
- snap peas
- hot peppers
Stay tuned for the second part of our Green Kitchen series which goes over energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly cookware. HAPPY EARTH YEAR!
For additional resources on conservation and urban farming (yes, you can grow your own veggies and fruits!), check out Pioneer Settler and DIY Ready– sites dedicated to providing great resources and tutorials to help people explore, create, have fun, and save the environment all at once!
If you enjoyed Part 1 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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