Smart cooking tips to reduce your footprint on the environment
This month we feature some smart cooking tips : to eat better, with a lower footprint on the environment and save money too
We’ll gradually enrich this file with ideas and tricks coming from everyone concerned with our day to day contribution to better eating and cooking habits. Join also the Facebook Vegan Essentiels for your suggestion and remarks
October 16th will be France’s First Annual National Day against Food Waste and we want to contribute actively. While reducing our waste, we reduce our expenses and our impact on the environment too, adjusting the energy and food consumption to the real needs : let’s call it a virtuous circle !
Everyone is concerned and some figures speak for themselves. Based upon the FAO stats, the food waste at consumer level is up to some 90 kg in Europe (200 lb), 110 kg in the US, but only 5 kg in Sub Saharian Africa, proving that it is well our western way of life which is the number one factor of such wastage.
This represent some 250 to 400 £ per household per year in Uk.
Let start with some simple energy saving gestures in the kitchen :
- To boil water (not only for the tea, but also to cook pasta, vegetables etc.), kettles are more efficient than any other mean (microwave comes close then induction, hob, oven).
Of course it take the same quantity of calories to boil one liter of water but kettles have a better thermic efficacy and stop as soon as the water boils. Transfer then in the appropriate dish to continue the cooking. Whether gaz or electric kettles are more efficient is an endless debate because it greatly depends of the way the electricity is produced, and this is beyond your direct influence. Of course boil the necessary quantity, nothing more.
- With induction plates : use pans of the exact diameter of the heating plates otherwise the loss of efficacy is tremendous. Again, better use a kettle than the boost mode of the induction to boil water.
Tips for baking :
- You can start cooking’s in a cold oven (specially with vegetables). You will thus use all the heat created for the warm up instead of wasting it. You can also stop the oven 10 minutes before the expected end of the cooking : the thermal inertia will continue to cook the food without further energy consumption. The rule of thumb is to double the remaining time when you do so. If you stop 10 minutes before, expect 15 to 20 minutes to complete it.
Combining both techniques could save up to 20/25% of energy.
- The Batch Cooking is now starting to become popular : it just mean that you can load your oven with several different dishes to cook the maximum of food with the least amount of energy. Do not hesitate to cook larger quantities than needed for a meal and freeze the excess. It takes a lot less energy to keep the food frozen for one week or two than to cook it separately.
- The smaller the pieces, the less energy you need to cook them as cooking will be faster. Consumption can be reduced by 50% by cooking finely chopped vegetables compared to whole vegetables.
- Discover the interest and taste of the low temperature cooking for vegetables, as recommended by the chef Alain Passard. The basic point is to reckon that vegetables have enough water content to be cooked without any added water (just a few spoonful of sparkling water & oil will help to keep the pan clean) if they are cook around 100°C. A precision easy to achieve with induction plates (more complicated with all other systems).
Tips for Pasta :
Forget the principle that boiling a lot of water is the only way that pasta does not stick between them.
Altogether thousands of cubic meters of water are boiled for nothing.
A much smarter practice can save some 30% of energy.
- The more you overcook, the more water you need:
Did you know that overcooking releases all the starch from the pasta that makes it sticky together and that the only way to fix it is to dilute it in a lot of water?
So be careful and apply the principles mentioned above by stopping cooking a little before the recommended duration.
Of course start to boil the water with a kettle.
- Once the boiling water, do not completely discover the pan, but cover it at 50%. The goal : to lose the least energy to maintain boiling water. In addition, with less evaporation you will need less water to cook your ingredients (pasta, rice etc.). Another simple virtuous circle.
Make better use of your home appliances :
- In general, heating water is a high energy expense in the kitchen. So, use your dishwasher only when it is full. You can also wash your dishes by hand to reduce your water consumption.
- Invisible power consumption is also a challenge in your kitchen : of course, all your bulbs are now LED, but also make sure your fridge, freezer is overloaded with ice. Each half centimeter of frost increases the consumption of the freezer or fridge by 30%!
It is therefore recommended to carry out a defrosting as soon as the frost layer reaches 2 to 3 millimeters.
The freezer, like the fridge, must be maintained.
you can share your tips in the comment section