As swanky restaurants, celebrity chefs and veteran gourmands ride the sustainability wave, we are confronted with eggs that scream ‘cage free’, corn which is ‘GMO free’, and micro greens that are ‘organic’.
But sustainable food doesn’t only mean splurging at gourmet supermarkets on expensive food that’s branded organic or GMO free. Or dining once-in-a-while at high-end outlets that thrive on the sustainable concept. At a holistic level, sustainable food implies sourcing, preparing and consuming food in a manner that positively impacts our bodies, the ecology and the farming community at large. And you don’t really have to be a masterchef at a fine-dine to cook sustainably.
Here’s how to make a little contribution from your own humble kitchen.
It’s better to stock on sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, organic fruits, nuts and vegetables. But not always. As it’s not always possible. And often expensive. The key to source right is to source fresh foods, avoid frozen, canned, processed or preservative laden foods. As it’s wiser to eat farm fresh mangoes than canned organic pineapples.
Food grown within your vicinity is a product of the same soil, air, water and sunlight that you receive. And hence it works wonders on your constitution. Besides helping the local farmers. Therefore, buy locally grown food instead of alternatives that have travelled miles or have been imported from foreign countries. Locally grown mangoes and bananas or a fresh catch of Indian salmon is much more valuable than kiwis imported from New Zealand or Norwegian salmon. Moreover, it’s apt to think seasonal. Eat green peas in winters, mangoes in summers, teasel gourds in monsoons and bananas all year round.
…to nil. Buy fresh to prevent perishables from wilting. Buy only what you need. It’s better to check the larder before paying a visit to the green grocer or to the supermarket. Consume rinds and peels are food. Or as home remedies and manure for plants. Orange rinds can be used while making marmalades. Pomegranate rinds can be dried and used as cures for stomach problems. While banana peels can go as manure for plants.
Save upon electricity and cook traditionally. Whenever possible. Use a mortar and pestle instead of a grinder. Or a grinding stone instead of a mixer. The stove instead of the microwave.
Make your own fresh fruit, pectin & preservatives-free jams, marmalades and sauces at home. Similarly, bake your own breads, cakes and cookies. Make in small batches and consume fast.
Grow your own pot of coriander, tomatoes, green chillies, mint, beans and aubergines in your terrace or balcony garden. If the compound has space, plant fruit trees such as banana, coconut, mango, jackfruit and other tropical produce.
Start small and reap the benefits of the sustainability craze!