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  • Writer's pictureDotty

How To: Make Your Kitchen More Sustainable This Year

The start of a new year is always littered with good intentions, goals and resolutions. Have you broken your resolutions yet? Did you even both making any?

Since the pandemic, I’ve had very mixed feelings about goal setting. I love the concept of it but I find that it’s quite difficult to stay motivated and optimistic when the world can hurtle upside down at a moments notice.

One thing that I am thinking about, though, as we work our way through the first week of this brand new, shiny year, is how I can make more conscious and more sustainable choices in my life that will have an impact on the planet.

Since I spend most of my life in the kitchen, this seems like the obvious place to start. Perhaps this is something that is on your mind too. If it is, here are some of the things that I am going to try this year to make my kitchen a more sustainable place.

1) Bring Your Own Tupperware

If you shop at indie suppliers – butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers etc.- they will more than likely support you bringing your own reusable packaging to transport your goods home. Simple, Easy. Achievable.

2) Seasonal and Organic Shopping

Seasonal produce has usually travelled fewer miles to reach your shopping basket which means it’s probably more sustainable and better for the planet. Even better if you’ve managed to buy it from a small local supplier!

Eating seasonally is really important to me as a chef. I wrote a post about why I think it’s something you should care about and how you can try to be more conscious of the seasons in your cooking this year.

In 2021 I read more and more about the damning effects of intensive farming on the British countryside and environment so I’m also going to be seeking out organic produce where I can too. The British Soil Association website has some really interesting statistics on this, such as the fact that organic farms have 75% more bees and 50% more wildlife diversity. Now that sounds like the kind of world that I want to live in!

Seeking out local, seasonal, organic produce isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap. Sometimes it’s a simple supermarket swap, as easy as picking the organic range over the generic brand, but those choices aren’t always available. Veg box schemes, local greengrocers and farm shops can be ways to supplement the generic fruit and veg you can buy in the supermarket.

3) Embrace The Plant Based Diet

There’s no need to eschew meat, fish and dairy altogether to make an impact on the planet. Just reduce the amount and the frequency that you eat it.

When I’m feeling tired and uninspired it’s too easy to fall back on the familiarity of meat to cobble together some staples – Bolognese, fajitas, roast chicken…you know the ones. This year I’m keeping a sharp eye out for some plant based inspiration to add to the weekday repertoire. I’ll be looking out for new cookery books to inspire me, as well as turning back to a few favourites.

Here are a couple of the books that I love for some veggie inspiration:

4) Refill Shops

From store cupboard essentials such as pasta and pulses, to cleaning and beauty products, refill shops can help cut out plastic packaging and help support a small local business rather than a supermarket giant.

It’s probably not realistic to think that I’ll be there every week, but a visit every couple of months to stock up the cleaning cupboard and supplies seems doable.

5) Goodbye Cling Film

If you’re a chef or if you’ve ever worked in a kitchen you’ll know that this is much easier said than done! There isn’t an easy switch for cling film as it’s so multifunctional.

Beeswax wraps or silicone dish covers can be good for covering food in the fridge. They wipe clean and are reusable.

You could also switch from cling film to plastic sandwich/ freezer bags. Unlike cling film, these can be reused and reused until they split. Simply rinse them out with warm soapy water after use and dry them thoroughly. They can be stored and re used again and again. Yes, they will ultimately end up in the landfill, but hopefully you’ll be able to extend their life span to four or more uses meaning that you get through them at a slower rate.

6) Love Your Leftovers

Why bother going to the effort of making a delicious meal to then throw the remains in the bin? That’s just a waste of everyone’s time, effort and money!

Cooking with leftovers can lead to some weird and wonderful combinations that sometimes end up being more delicious than the original dish! My philosophy is: keep everything. Every scrap of sauce, every bit of veg, and nobly ends of cheese. If you keep it (and you remember that you have it!) you just might find the perfect use for it. Of course, you might not. But if you don’t save your leftovers you stand no chance of using them.

I wrote a post about how to cut down your food waste which you can read here. Elly Pear’s Instagram page has absolutely LOADS of ideas about using leftovers plus she shares loads of lovely content about sustainable consumerism and plant based cooking. Follow her if you don’t already!

Frittata is one my favourite ways to use up leftover cooked veg and potatoes.

If you have any other swaps or ideas about how we can make positive changes in our kitchen this year then I'd love to know! Get in touch @dottyinthekitchen on social media or leave me a comment!


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