A Sustainable KitchenPosted: June 1, 2011
Over at Apartment Therapy yesterday I was reading about sustainable kitchens. Their focus was on building the kitchen…
As I am moving to a new house with a kitchen half the size of the one I’m in now it set me to thinking about that subject. Except that what I think of when I think of sustainable kitchens is how to set up a kitchen that supports a sustainable lifestyle.
The house I live in now is set up to have a very very low carbon footprint; I grow most of my veggies and use a sawdust toilet that supports me practicing high heat composting. This allows me to have soil that is deeply rich in nutrients and microbes to grow in food in my grow buckets. It’s a closed system; I do not have to buy fertilizer’s as my yard waste, kitchen scraps and all paper can be composted. Composting this way gives me useable soil in a year without ever having to turn or stir the compost. This is huge as I only weigh 109 pounds and cannot turn large amounts of compost effectively. And I refuse to buy anything plastic so getting a tumbler is out.
I make all my food from scratch; coconut milk yogurt, Kombucha tea, bone stocks, juicing, rendering fats, canning or freezing vegetables… I need room and equipment but am now going to do all that in a kitchen half the size.
Let’s look at how I do this;
· I use a Hamilton Beach slow cooker with 3 stoneware bowls to make my coconut milk yogurt and to slow cook chickens or roasts.
· I use a 32 year old Champion Juicer that is a continuous feed juicer, will make nut butters, shaved ice and will homogenize and great sorbets.
· I use a stainless steel canister to put food scraps in.
· I have a six foot prep table that I had in my restaurant with a cutting board.
· I have a hand coffee grinder from Sweet Maria’s that rocks!
Top, left to right; mason jars for caning and storing food (with laundry soap made from Soap Nuts, Ibriki to make Turkish coffee, my compost bin, ceramic coffee filter holder.
Second row; plastic free travel mug from, coffee grinder from Sweet Maria’s, Wrap n Mat instead of plastic bags, sawdust toilet, hemp coffee filters.
Third row; clothesline, Champion Juicer, Williams Sonoma dish cloths and cup towels, Soapnuts
Last row; indoor drying rack,
I recently commented to someone that I did not use a dryer. She was very puzzled and asked how I dried clothes without one! Yeah, she was young, about 22 or so…but was truly baffled! LOL!
All it takes is planning. Many people comment to me that I must spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen…but I really don’t. It takes 20 minutes to put on a batch of yogurt and it;’s done in 12 hours. It takes 45 minutes to get beef stock simmering, then it’s done in 72 hours without me touching it. The next day I render the fat and freeze stocks that will last me all month. After I roast a chicken and remove meat from the bones I put it in the slow cooker for 12 hours and I have stock that supplies me with all the iron and calcium I need to stay in perfect health!
I only take my trash can to the curb every third week because that all the trash my household generates..everything else is composted (bones, fats…all can be high-heat composted).
I make my own skin cleaners, toners, flower water and soaps but only do so a few times a year. Recipes are on my blog under skin care.
I use no paper products if I can help it; dish cloths and rags for the kitchen, baby wash cloths for the bathroom that get laundered, recycled toilet paper for guests (see No-Impact Man’s Blog entry on this).
Remember you do not have to dive in all at once…do the normal things people do nowadays…use CF bulbs, use less water…start here and take one one new sustainable choice a week.. It’s just habits and you will get use to them…
You’ll lower your bills as well as your carbon footprint!