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Green up your kitchen

A big part of living a greener lifestyle is doing what's healthy for the planet and yourself. While truly living green means buying less stuff, there are some things worth buying (at least until you actually move to the homestead). The following is a list of items, some of them more essential and some less, that should be in every green home's kitchen.

Canning jars: They range in useful sizes from pints to gallons and are great for dry and wet food storage, sprouting (if you don't have a dedicated sprouting device), canning, and fermenting everything from kombucha to kimchi. Available at your local hardware store or food co-op.

Reusable bulk bags: These are simple cloth bags with drawstrings used instead of plastic bags for your produce and bulk items like flour, beans, and nuts. Obviously, they are less useful if your local grocery store has an impoverished bulk section, but many food co-ops and natural markets like Whole Foods have pretty robust bulk sections. These bags are often made from natural materials and can be reused indefinitely. You get extra points for sewing your own bags or repurposing other cloth bags.

Miso paste: Why, out of all the foods out there, is miso so special? First of all, because it's so tasty and healthy. How tasty? Tasty enough that foods like miso have their own secret flavor category (other than sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) called umami. How healthy? Miso is probiotic, aids digestion, is a great source of vitamins and minerals, reduces risk of some cancers, is high in antioxidants, and protects against radiation.

Coconut oil: Once shunned by the health-conscious because of faulty information, coconut oil is making a big comeback. It's versatile (the best vegan butter replacer) and tastes great. And compared to refined cooking oils (which are extracted with high heat and chemicals like hexane) coconut oil is much gentler on the environment. It also makes a great skin moisturizer and salve.

Rapadura: Rapadura is unrefined sugar with all of its vitamins and minerals still intact. Refined sugar, on the other hand, goes through a process involving chemicals like sulfur dioxide, lime, phosphoric acid, and bleaching agents. Yeah, rapadura looks like dirt, but it's literally just dried sugar cane juice (not to be confused with "evaporated cane juice," which is just refined sugar).

Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Castile Soap: Use it for body wash, dish soap, shampoo, laundry, tooth brushing and more. Unlike most "soaps" on the market, it's biodegradable so you can even take it camping and wash your dishes in the river. And, of course, it's "magical."

A good cutting board: A good cutting board is like a badge of honor. It shows that you value your food and that you're buying those vegetables fresh from the farmers market (not pre-chopped at the supermarket). A good cutting board is one solidly built and made out of renewable wood.

Green up your kitchen 04/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 4:35pm]
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