Go green: Make your kitchen environmentally friendly | SierraSun.com

Go green: Make your kitchen environmentally friendly

Chef Heather Hunsaker
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212;-Spring is the perfect time to go outdoors, plant a tree, and cherish this planet we call home. It is also a great day to reevaluate your daily tasks and make environmentally friendly changes in the kitchen.

Below are nine tips to make your kitchen a more ‘green’ environment.

and#8226; Buy locally. Locally produced foods are fresher products that support your community. Local produce helps reduce fuel waste and packaging, which is often used in long-distance shipping.

and#8226; Buy in bulk. Buying goods in bulk help reduce packaging material that comes when you repeatedly buy single items. Better yet, buy ingredients from the bulk bins at your local store. Ask your storeand#8217;s manager for permission, and scoop your bulk bin items directly into your own plastic storage containers.

and#8226; Examine the packaging. Individual sized bags of chips and cookies may be more convenient but cause more trash. Look for food packaged in single layers that use recyclable materials.

and#8226; Invest in a water purifier. An at-home water purifier and reusable bottles will not only reduce waste but save money.

and#8226; Bring your own bags. Many stores reward their customers by and#8216;payingand#8217; them for using reusable bags; while other stores actually charge a fee for using their plastic bags.

and#8226; Cook in batches and make extras. If using the oven to cook lasagna throw in a batch of cookies at the same time. Since ovens use a lot of energy, this will cut down on extra wasted energy. Also when cooking, make an extra batch of that favorite lasagna; reheating food saves time and uses less energy than cooking from scratch.

and#8226; Use energy efficient appliances. Crock-pots, toaster ovens, and microwaves all use less amounts of energy compared to electric ovens.

and#8226; Use the dishwasher. A good quality dishwasher and dish detergent will thoroughly clean your dishes without pre-rinsing and actually saves more water compared to hand washing.

and#8226; Go natural. Avoid hazardous cleaning products which are harmful to your health and the environment. Baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice are all great non-toxic cleaning products.

Striving to be green? These baked beans are made in a low energy crock-pot and make a great addition to a spring barbecue! —

Crock-Pot Baked Beans-

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3-4 hours

Serves 6

2 (20 ounce) can baked beans

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup mustard-

Combine all ingredients in crock-pot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4 hours.

and#8212; Chef Heather Hunsaker attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was 9-years-old in her motherand#8217;s kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site http://www.foodonthetable.com.

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