Tips for An Eco-Friendly Approach to Cooking

There is a lot we can do in the kitchen to reduce our carbon footprint, from our choice in appliances to the every-day choices we make in cooking and eating. We’re here to help you be more energy-conscious with these eco-friendly cooking tips! 

 

Watch How You Cook

There are a few simple changes that you can make in your cooking to reduce the amount of energy used. 

Try to minimize opening and closing the oven door while in use. Opening the oven door lets out heat and causes food to take longer to cook, using more energy in the process. If you’re shopping for a new appliance, opt for one that has a glass viewing window to cut down on peeking inside.  

For smaller items and reheating, use a countertop toaster oven instead. These use far less energy and produce similar results.

Avoid pre-heating the oven when possible–items that take 45 mins or more to cook can typically start in a cold oven. Next time you are making a casserole, roasting potatoes, or making a lasagna give it a try!

Cook with residual heat by turning off the oven a few minutes before the timer goes off. The heat trapped in your oven will continue to cook your food (as long as you don’t peek inside).

 

Invest in Quality Cookware & Utensils 

One of the biggest scourges of the environment is single-use and low-quality products. Rather than picking up a cheap teflon pan that is easily damaged and will need to be replaced in a few months, do some homework and invest in quality cookware. Look for longevity rather than convenience, with materials such as cast-iron and stainless steel. 

The same is true for utensils and cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards can last a lifetime with proper care and use, and opt for sustainable materials in utensils like bamboo and metal rather than plastic ones that will wind up in a landfill in a year. 

 

Eat those Leftovers!

One simple way to use less energy in the kitchen is to over-cook, and then actually eat the leftovers. Sheet pan recipes that are quick and easy are great to make in bulk and enjoy for several meals. According to the EPA, reheating leftovers in the microwave uses about 80% less energy than cooking in an oven or on the stovetop. 

If you are reheating on the stovetop, however, be sure to use the correct burner size for the pot/pan on the stove. Using a 6” pan on an 8” burner can waste a large amount of heat and energy. 

 

Shop Small and Local

The carbon footprint of buying food in a grocery store (or worse yet, having it delivered to your house) is enormous in the United States. Try hitting up your local farmer’s market instead for produce, meat, and other goods. Rather than going through manufacturing, distributors, delivery trucks, packaging, and markups, your food will come through local farmers and business owners instead. Not only will you be getting the goods right from the source and supporting your local economy, but you’ll also be limiting the amount of waste and ecological impact associated with your shopping trip. 

The impact of these tips may seems small, but when we all work together to make small incremental change,