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3 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Eco-Friendly

Learn three ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly in this Howcast video featuring Alegre of Green and Greener.


Hi. Alegre from Ember Living, here today to talk about how to green your kitchen. As with all things green living, we want to think about what's non-toxic, and also how are we conserving our resources. So something that you might not have thought a lot about but is very important in green living is the idea of right-sizing, meaning using the right tool for whatever it is you need to do.

So for instance, if you're cooking a single burrito, it's not the best idea to turn on your oven to do that. You're wasting a lot of energy doing it that way. I'm a huge fan of toaster ovens. If you don't have one, I would recommend getting one. I literally do 99 percent of my cooking in a toaster oven, and it saves you a ton of energy. And actually, things cook faster, because in a small, confined space the heat is more efficiently distributed.

So you'll save energy, you'll save time, and also during the hot summer months, you'll actually save your house from getting super hot. A toaster oven cools down much faster than a traditional oven. Another concept in green cooking is about what kind of pots and pans to use. Not only are you using the correct pots and pans, less toxic, but they will cook more efficiently. So I'm a huge fan of cast iron and enamel pots and pans for a number of reasons. Cast iron has no chemical coverings on them which are carcinogenic, really bad for you. Anything that's nonstick is not a great idea, because essentially it's like plastic, and then you're cooking on top of plastic, which is not a great idea.

Also, when you cook on cast iron, you get a trace amount of iron into your body, which is good for you, because you need iron. And if you use cast iron properly, it's really easy to take care of and clean and cook with. If you visit my website, I have more videos actually about cast iron and how to care for it. So the other thing I love about cast iron is that it's really highly functional. So when my husband and I go camping, we just take out cast iron skillet with us, and in a pinch it's also a good weapon. So there you go. And because it's heavy, it holds heat and distributes heat well.

So it will actually cook more evenly and cook faster. A third tip I want to tell you about in terms of greening your kitchen, which has to do with conserving energy, is to use residual heat when you're cooking. A lot of us are in the habit of boiling things 20, 30 minutes until it's fully cooked, say rice or pasta. But a number of those things, you can cook them, you can actively boil them for one to five minutes, and then just keep them covered, and the residual heat that is in the pot with the flame off will actually cook enough. So for instance, when I make rice, I actually cook it for about six minutes, and then I just turn off the flame, cover it, and it will boil out.

So you can do this with oatmeal, with pasta, with any of those grains that you cook. Use residual heat. Or also, even just when you're cooking eggs. I like my eggs really dry. So when my eggs get to the point where just a teeny bit wet, I'll just turn off the flame, and the residual heat of the pan will finish the cooking. And you'll actually save a lot on your energy bill by thinking about cooking this way on a continual basis. So tips on greening your kitchen. Hope they were helpful.

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