Thanksgiving is right around the corner and as we prepare for that festive feast, we should remember that the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce can be made with green in mind. I don’t mean the traditional ideas of using organic and local foods (though there are some sustainable farms nearby that grow some incredibly good organic vegetables and raise cage-free birds) but instead using the green mantra right in the kitchen – cooking utensils, prep equipment and even cookware. By using mixing bowls, measuring cups and colanders made of 100 percent recycled #5 plastic, cutting boards made of 100 percent recycled paper; bamboo spoons, spatulas and tongs; and even green pots and pans you can help reduce your “cookprint” (measurement of the chain of resources used to prepare meals and the waste produced in the process).
What makes these products green? Containers made from recycled plastic are usually made from recycled polypropolene plastic. The manufacturing process for these products versus those made from virgin polypropolene reduces water usage by 54 percent, oil by 75 percent and greenhouse gases by 64 percent. Cutting boards made of 100 percent recycled paper are less costly and have the look and feel of wood. They are also dishwasher safe. Another great raw material for the kitchen is bamboo. Bamboo grows faster than trees like oak, cherry or maple. A bamboo stalk can grow back in one year and can be strong enough to harvest in just five years. Bamboo is sturdy, naturally antibacterial, does not absorb moisture, is more heat resistant than wood, does not stain and is dishwasher safe in its natural state.
There is also a line of cookware (pots and pans) that is considered green. Cuisinart has launched a line of eco-friendly branded cookware that is called GreenGourmet. It is make of nonstick technology which is ceramic versus petroleum or fossil fuel based. The manufacturing of the pans is done in an energy efficient manner, with the handles made of 70% recycled stainless steel. The construction of the pan allows it to be heated to a desired cooking temperature and maintain its heat using less energy than a traditional non-stick Teflon pan.
So when cooking this Thanksgiving, make sure you take account of your cookprint by examining the source of everything that goes into your meal from the raw food products making sure they are organic and local, to the water you conserve, to the utensils made of sustainable materials to the cookware which can help you save energy. I would also like you to remember to assist those who might not have enough to eat this holiday. The effort of sustainability is not just about green, but also about sustenance – providing that which supports life to all. A Happy Thanksgiving to all.