It's no secret that food is one of the most important parts of the human experience. Food plays a critical role in bringing people together across any culture, whether that's during times of joy or sorrow. No wonder they call it the universal language!
However, we think food is even better when it's prepared sustainably and with the environment in mind. With the world's population growing exponentially and on track reaching 9.7 billion by 2050, food demand is expected to increase anywhere between 59% and 98%. In order to meet this new reality, the world will have to adapt quickly – some of that will come through in the form of new technologies and agricultural sources, but a lot of it will also come down to consumers like us. We need to rethink the end-to-end process of how we prepare, store, and dispose of food. For example, did you know households are responsible for around 10% of the food produced globally (570 million metric tons) going to waste?
With all this in mind, this week, we'll be covering a few simple tips around sustainable cooking. A while back, we also did a separate blog here where we covered other general zero waste kitchen tips. However, there is still so much left to cover, so we'll specifically focus on food in this blog.
First thing is first: where and how are you going to buy produce for that delicious meal? Of course, our suggestion is always to visit your local farmer's market. Other than supporting the community and getting access to the freshest produce, a farmer's market will allow you to ask how the produce was grown, cut down on packaging, and bulk buy on the spot. Of course, you might also just find the most enjoyable part of this experience is bonding with the farmer and getting some great cooking tips.
Let's say you didn't get the chance to visit the farmers market last weekend, and now you have to run to the grocery store. In this case, our suggestion is to make sure you eat seasonally. Now, this can mean different things based on where you live, but it might generally lead to, for example, opting for root vegetables and hearty greens in fall and winter while going for the salad and fruits in spring and summer. Seasonal produce is likely grown locally rather than being shipped from halfway across the world, significantly cutting back on transportation emissions.
As we mentioned, food storage can be a big problem in the home place. Traditional containers are often cruddy, leading to food going back early, and are made with wasteful plastics. Luckily though, there is a new wave of storage systems like the Reusable Silicone Stretch Lids and Biodegradable Food Wrap, which both provide a better seal and use eco-friendly material. If you're looking to rethink how you store food, give them a look!
Just like with almost everything else in life, it pays to think ahead! Meal prep is one of those recent trends we absolutely love. It allows you to plan out all of your nutrients, cover all of your produce needs with a single shopping run to cut down on travel, and portion your meals to reduce possible food waste.
Expiration dates are likely one of the most confusing concepts in the modern kitchen. In many cases, food can still be delicious and absolutely fine to consume after this date. Ideally, you won't let food ever reach this point, but if you do, take a closer look for spoilage before throwing anything out. A simple google search will give you all the signs you need to know if the food has gone bad.
About Zero Waste Hero
Hey again! Welcome to Zero Waste Hero. If you're not familiar with us, we're a Canadian-owned one-stop shop for sustainable and ethically sourced home and beauty products. Our mission is to make the transition to minimal impact living as easy as possible. Naturally, a big part of this involves educating our consumers, so we've begun regularly posting blogs aimed at covering the latest news in the world of sustainability, sharing eco-friendly lifestyle ideas, and so much more.
If you enjoyed this read, sign up for the newsletter and keep an eye out, as we'll continue to regularly release other informative pieces like this. Also, make sure to follow us on social media and visit zerowastehero.ca for a collection of the best eco-friendly products out there!