Essential old-fashioned tools and practices to make your kitchen more sustainable

January 21, 2019 by  
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Between planning meals , dragging home groceries, cooking and clean up, the kitchen is the hub of activity in most homes. That means it can also be a significant source of waste. However, there are lots of ways to make your kitchen more sustainable. If you’re looking for ways to cut back on disposables and instead invest in products that will serve you for many years, we have some ideas for you to consider. Cast iron skillets and Le Creuset If you have ever used heavy-duty cast iron, you know that a single seasoned pan will last for generations. With proper care, your children and their children will be using the same pans a hundred years from now. Related: 10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas Peppermill Off the vine, peppercorn is round and looks like a tiny grape. Once dried, the freshest way to enjoy peppercorn is ground directly onto your food. Avoid the waste from the myriad containers your ground pepper comes in and use a traditional peppermill instead. Buy your peppercorns in bulk and bring your own jar to eliminate packaging altogether. Mortar and pestle All things worth enjoying require a bit of effort, and a mortar and pestle is the perfect example of that. Although it means manually mashing your herbs and other ingredients, a mortar and pestle eliminates the needs for other gadgets in your kitchen and produces a fresh result in your cooking. Stainless steel When it comes to sustainability, stainless steel is a good product to reach for. Not only does it consume limited resources during production, but it is a long-lasting material and completely recyclable at the end of its functionality. To make your kitchen more eco-friendly , skip the petroleum-based plastic products and reach for stainless steel measuring cups and spoons, microplanes, ice trays if you still use them, mixing bowls, strainers, shakers and compost bins. Knives This is one area of your kitchen worth the initial investment. Good chef’s knives will pay you dividends for a lifetime. As a bonus, this means less waste from cheaper alternatives that don’t make the cut. Ceramic, stone or glass Once again, it’s important to incorporate materials made from the earth and both ceramic and glass are great options. Think ceramic ginger grater, glass or ceramic pie dish and stoneware cooking sheets. Manual tools In the long-term, sticking with traditional tools in the kitchen will save electricity costs. Plus, you’ll gain added satisfaction in the simplicity of cooking with a metal potato masher, non-electric hand mixer, manual can opener, food mill (applesauce maker) and an old-fashioned knife instead of a food chopper or garlic press. Wood Wood is another material sourced from nature and eco-friendly. Shop for wooden salad bowls, wood spoons for stirring, bamboo steamers, cutting boards and serving bowls. Storage containers We all like to hang on to those leftovers and that’s a great way to reduce waste , but plastic and foil are both problematic for the environment so consider other options for your storage needs. For the refrigerator, purchase glass or stainless steel containers with interchangeable lids. While you’re at it, replace plastic wrap with bowl covers or beeswax sheets that mould around the container. Also consider your staple products and find see-through glass jars to house your flour, cereal, pasta, beans and sugar. Spices are easy to organize and use in matching glass jars. Mason jars are another great option for storing nuts, seeds, homemade salad dressing and much more. Towels and napkins We have become accustomed to the disposable society around us, which means you may not think about reaching for a paper towel to wipe up the spill on the floor. When you consider the chemicals and water usage required to turn trees into paper products though, an earth-friendly alternative is to use cloth napkins and towels. With a little practice you’ll realize why humans got by just fine on these options, sans the single-use waste. Beverage containers A few carefully-chosen beverage containers can replace thousands of disposable cups. Grab a high-quality stainless steel coffee mug and one of the many non-plastic options for your water to make a quick and powerful contribution to the health of the planet. Cleaning tools Kitchens are messy, so consider tools that will allow you to clean it up without having an adverse effect on the environment. Purchase natural dish brushes that decompose in the landfill instead of plastic options or sponges that both end up clogging the waste stream. There are very few things that some combination of baking soda and vinegar alone can’t clean. Also look into glycerin, salt and citrus as powerful aids in cleaning without the toxic chemical contribution. Related: How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners Shopping Remember that perhaps the biggest impact you can make toward a green kitchen starts with your purchasing decisions. It seems that everything these days is wrapped in plastic so seek out alternatives. It’s best to grow your own food, but another option is to attend local farmers’ markets. Bring your own reusable shopping and produce bags to the store. Select produce that has not been bundled in plastic bags and hunt down stores that offer compostable produce bags as an option. Also bring your own containers directly to the bulk section to further eliminate waste. Cooking practices Another fabulous way to cut waste is to make your own foods rather than buying pre-packaged options. Breads are quick and easy to make. Make granola bars and protein balls for school lunches. Cook up your own yogurt and ditch the individual plastic containers. Turning your kitchen into a simplified oasis of earth-friendly food production begins with evaluating the supplies you need and making decisions about the best options to fulfil those needs. Focus on conscientious purchases that combine wholesome food along with sustainable tools and you have a recipe for a long-term low-carbon-footprint kitchen. Images via Shutterstock

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Essential old-fashioned tools and practices to make your kitchen more sustainable

5 fantastic things to do with old cutlery/silverware

December 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Recycle

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Last week’s post about those little plastic spoons you get with children’s medicine reminded me of all the great things you can do with old metal cutlery – not the finest family silver necessarily but the stuff that manages to find its way into your cutlery drawer (or conversely – the remains that are left after everything else leaves and you get a new set!). 1. Reuse them around the home Our cats have a dedicated old fork for their food; I have an old dessert spoon with a handle bent up at 90° for skimming misc and oil from the top of sauces; and, I have an old tablespoon in with my laundry stuff for spooning in wash boosters. In our tool kit, we have a fork which can be used for holding nails in place while hammering, a(n admittedly more flexible than most) old butter knife for smoothing filler and several old spoons for stirring filler, paint and whatnot. What do you reuse them for around the home? 2. Reuse them around the garden They’re almost equally as useful in the garden too! Forks are useful when transplanting seedlings – use them to lift the plant’s tender new roots out of their starter tray – and can also be used to temporarily pin thin runners in place if you want, for example, strawberries, to spread in a certain direction. Knives and spoons also make fun row markers or plant labels in pots. Some people (like dkshattuck , who made the ones above) sell ready made sets for herbs , stamped with the names or otherwise labelled so they’ll last for years and years. Do you use old cutlery in the garden? If so, what for? 3. Coat hooks and cupboard handles Sturdy cutlery can be bent into fun coat hooks or key hooks like those pictured above. They’re by Jeremy and Jen Evensen , who sell via Etsy – such fun designs! They can also be used to make fun kitchen cupboard handles – attached to the door either through the bowl of the spoon/fork or through the handle. And if you’re doing that, why not make a couple more standalone hooks for fun curtain tiebacks? 4. Jewellery There is loads of gorgeous jewellery knocking around made from old knives, forks and spoons. At a most basic level, all you need is an old fork, some pliers and a few minutes, et voila! a fun and free bracelet . At the other end of the scale, artisan crafty people are making some really lovely bracelets – the one above is by MarchelloArt and like that one, some bracelets still look like the original tool . Some other are a bit more dressed up and some, using just handles, don’t look like cutlery at all – just lovely silver pieces for around the wrist or

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5 fantastic things to do with old cutlery/silverware

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