1 Nov 2017

Can You Create A Sustainable Kitchen Over The Winter?


If you remember the beginning of the year, the bad weather conditions had caused Spanish farming areas to struggle with their harvested vegetables. Not of that would have mattered to us if the UK hadn’t been one of the biggest export markets for Spanish farms. As a result, millions of clean eaters found themselves during the first trimester 2017 with reduced healthy options in the green aisles of their local shops. It all started with a courgette shortage and then escalated to tomato, lettuce, pepper, celery, broccoli and aubergine. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, that would be the best part of your daily dinner that you had to reinvent until the British shops found alternative solutions. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, bad weather happens and no one can be held responsible for it. So, we thought that for next year it would be a good idea to be ready for all eventuality, not only by creating a dream garden but also by extending the new sustainable lifestyle to the whole kitchen… so that you can sustain future shortages in greens and Green with a capital G for Got to save the environment!  

What is a sustainable kitchen?

The idea of sustainability is not new. However; as it’s not a typical consumer word, a lot of people fail to see that it means a lot more than just environmentally friendly. For everyday consumers, sustainability is asynonym for organic, green, renewable or even recycling. But they fail to see the connection between a sustainable environment and a community built on collaboration, trust and ethics. More importantly, older generations, Baby Boomers and before, while they perceive a logical link between sustainability and health don’t consider that the health concept could extend to the protection of the planet for future generations. Consequently, it might be difficult to understand what a sustainable kitchen means. Let’s put it this way: a sustainable kitchen is a kitchen that is built with the greatest respect for the environment using safely sourced materials and reducing energy consumption while allowing the household to permanently drop extended emission into the atmosphere by producing instead of importing its food.

Get the kitchen setting right

Now is the best time to think of upgrading and improving your kitchen in preparation for your sustainability thrive. Everything begins with a simple question: what do you want your kitchen to be? If you like your kitchen to become a meeting space for family reunions or entertaining friends, then you need to consider improvement works that could add more space. Do you love cooking? Then you might want to add an open plan for all food preps? Getting the kitchen right starts with analysing your needs to understand the decorative and setting elements that are a must in your household.

Build it sustainable

After you’ve defined what works for you, the next thing you want to consider about your kitchen is the matter of sustainability. There are three main elements to take into consideration about your kitchen, namely the sustainability of the products and materials that you will use, the indoor air quality and the reduced presence of air pollutants, and finally the efficiency of your water and energy fittings. When it comes to picking the best materials, a simple but successful solution is to promote an efficient use of the space that doesn’t lead to an unnecessary build. Additionally, you should focus on using materials with low levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and other air pollutants, combined with a quality ventilation system. Finally, pick appliances that are rated energy-efficient and water-performant: ultimately they’ll reduce your energy costs while saving the planet!

Prepare the garden

Your garden also plays a significant role in maintaining a sustainable kitchen. Indeed, being able to grow your own vegetables can make a great deal of difference in the long term. Start by preparing your garden by placing your growing patch in the sun and giving it a good digging to break up the soil et remove the weeds. You’ll also need to nourish the soil with compost. If you are planning to grow vegetables that don’t handle the cold well — aka if you are not planting only roots — you may want to have a look for a Halls Popular aluminium greenhouse. Not only is it good value for money but it”ll let you harvest your favourite greens from the end of winter until mid-autumn!

Pick the vegetables for the winter

If you’ve never grown vegetables before; you need to pick your winter vegetables early to sow them in autumn. Most winter veggies cope well with cold winter weather so that you don’t need to worry too much. Onions, garlic and shallots are great to be planted now and harvest in spring and summer. If you fancy an early harvest, you can try perpetual spinach, which is a cut and come again crop. You can also pack the greenhouse with winter salads and carrots that can be sown from November to late summer.

 




Learn to keep veg fresh
When you’re used to buying your fruits and veggies from the shop every week, it can be difficult to know how to store your own for best last. For instance, you should keep your potatoes, onions and tomatoes in a cool place, but not in the fridge as it will ruin their flavours. You can store your salad greens and herbs in sealed bags with a little air to keep them fresh and tasty for longer.

Prepare your veg for the year
Growing your own vegs means that you will have periods of harvests where you need to know how to turn your vegetables into conserves, preserves and sauces to eat throughout the year. Riverford Farmers use asimple but yummy recipe to turn excess onions into a sticky onion marmalade. Or how about a pumpkin marmalade to match the seasonal vibes?

When you start growing your own vegetables, you can actively change the way you interact with your food and ensure that you choose products that are not only organic but also friendly on the environment. Sustainability in the kitchen is the combination of a smartly designed kitchen with green thumbs and a lot of harvesting love. It’s a lot of work to set up, but it’s worth the effort!





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