10 Hacks for Sustainable Cooking

Posted by The Gourmet Box on

With the increasing awareness of the food wastage across the world, we are all looking at ways to do our bit in reducing the impact on the planet. Cooking sustainably is a great way to do so.

Small steps and careful planning can make a big difference in cooking sustainably in a way that decreases your foodprint. Apart from helping the planet, you’ll be eating more delicious food, saving money and making decisions that are better for the environment, animals and people.

We have listed 10 tips and tricks that are easy to follow for sustainable daily cooking:

Eat Seasonal Produce

Eating local and seasonal produce guarantees you that you will be eating fresh fruits and veggies. It is great for the environment and it is cheaper as it is available at the peak of its supply and storage. There is no added cost of storage, transportation and refrigeration. When you eat local, the money is more likely to go back to your local farmers, so it’s a double win. 

 

Plan your Meals

    Making a weekly meal plans allows you to chart out exactly what you will need during the week and thus reducing food wastage. You will not buy anything excessive which will save you a tonne of space in your kitchen and money. Fruits and veggies can be bought weekly as per your meal plans. Dry goods can be bought once a month or as per your requirements. Detailed list of ingredients make sure you stick to it and avoid getting sucked in by tempting offers and impulse buys at the supermarket checkout. It will also keep a check on your junk food purchase.
     

    Avoid single-use materials in the kitchen

    Its not a common practice in India to use single use cutlery on a day to day basis. However if for some reason you must use it then choose the ones that are made of bamboo as opposed to plastic cutlery. Avoid using ziploc bags, aluminium foil or plastic clingfilm to store food or leftovers in the fridge. Instead invest in some good quality glass containers that will last a long time and will reduce usage of plastic. 


    Make freezer your best friend

    Almost all the veggies can be stored in the freezer. Incase for some reason you dont end up using some veggies that you have bought for the week then simply chop it up and freeze it. You might not be able to use it in salads but they can be used for any cooked dish. Even fruits can be frozen and used in smoothies. You can even stock up on the fruits and veggies in the freezer that you use often in your meals. Eggs and meats can also be frozen and used for a long time.


    Use leftovers 

    There are tonnes of recipes online that tell you how you can resuse your leftovers. Transform them into completely new dish for next day's lunch or dinner instead of trashing it.

     

    Resue Kitchen scraps

    Root-to-stem has become the latest trend in the food world. Restaurants across the world are adapting this philosophy to reduce wastage. Using every part of vegetable and fruit is the new trend. There is tonne of information out there on how you can use fruit/veggie skins, stalks, leaves, etc. Try using as much of your produce as possible when you’re cooking. 

    Skins of fruits and veggies have lot of nutrients so dont throw them away. However fruit skin of peach or kiwi is not very pleasant to eat due to its fuzzy texture. So it can be added to smoothies to hide the texture. Veggie scraps like skin, stalks, leaves can either be used to make stock or in stir frys.

    Fermenting or pickling has also become a popular method nowadays. It not only saves the veggies that might otherwise get spoilt but it also adds tonnes of flavor to your dishes. 

     

    Choose the right pots and pans for cooking 

    Its important to use the right size of pots and pans for cooking. It would waste a lot of energy if you are choosing a big pan to boil just a handful of veggies. When boiling water, always cover the pan with the lid and lower the gas. This will trap the heat in, allowing you to cook more efficiently and sustain the level of boiling. Choose a smaller gas if you are only cooking for 1-2 people. This can save a lot in energy costs.  


    Avoid Packaged Foods

    Avoid buying veggies and fruits that are packaged in plastic bags from the supermarket. Try to shop from your local sabzi waalas and carry your own cloth bags. Not all places give you the option of packing dry grains in your own bottles. In that case plan your requirements for a longer period of time and collect all the plastic bags and recycle it in a proper manner. Avoid brands with plastic bottles and choose the ones with glass bottles so that you can reuse them.

    Avoiding packaged foods will encourage you to cook more and eat healthier. To add to it, it will save to a tonne of money that you would spend otherwise on food every month.

     

    Grow your own veggies and herbs

    Start growing your own herbs and veggies. It doesnt take much to grow them, especially herbs. If you have a small balcony or a backyard, plant a bunch of easy to grow veggies and herbs. When you grow your own food, you value it more and are less likely to waste. Growing fruit and vegetables is also a great way of reducing some of the harmful gases produced by processing and transporting food. Not only is growing your own food rewarding and therapuetic, but it tastes better, too.

     

    Donate the leftovers

    Last but not the least, if you are having a party and if you have leftovers, donate them. There are lot of NGOs that come and collect the leftover food and donate it to the needy. There are some NGOs who even come and collect the expired packaged food and if found suitable they serve it as cattle feed.

    If there any other sustainable hacks that you use in your day to day cooking, please let us know in the comments. We'd love to find out how you are doing your bit to save our planet.


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