3 Kitchen Must-Haves for Zero-Waste Living
5 Minute Read
Having to cook for yourself every day can be a total pain in the arrssss, especially when trying to avoid items that come in excessive and unnecessary packaging that we all know is bad for the environment. So wouldn’t it be great if there were a few kitchen must-haves that could help us be better cooks, cut down on cooking time, and allow us to maximize on the amount of package-free goods we buy? I know you know that’s a rhetorical question, and I already have the answer, so let’s get this show on the road.
Here are 3 Kitchen Must-Haves
that are about to seriously up your zero waste game
“One SodaStream bottle can help the average family reduce more than 3,700 bottles and cans from our planet” (SodaStream). That’s pretty insane when you consider that half of the American population drinks 2.6 glasses of soda Every. Single. Day. with even higher numbers in young adults (HuffPost).
I’ve mentioned SodaStream before in an older blog post about zero waste holiday entertaining. It’s a life saver, money saver, and plastic-hater. I could go on about it all day (but I won’t . . . promise 😉 ). This puppy turns water into soda simply by pumping it with carbon dioxide. It also doesn’t require any electricity or a plugin (except for some of their premium models), so you can literally put it anywhere in your kitchen.
Most of the time, I drink straight up soda water, but you can buy flavor packs to spice up those fizzy drinks. I don’t particularly like the flavor packs since they have a synthetic taste to them. They also used to come in non-recyclable plastic packaging, but I think they’ve changed it to glass bottles so they are making progress. Still, you know I love me some DIY action, so I prefer to make my own concoctions if I’m up for something festive. My favorite combo is to add touch of pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lemon. La Croix ain’t got shit on this Pome-Lemon Twist.
Instant Pot (a.k.a. the Pressure Cooker on Crack!)
You’ve definitely seen that old crock pot in the back of your mom’s kitchen cupboard. My mom’s own is straight out of the 70s, with green filigree designs on a white background and funny-colored stumpy things for legs. I’m not sure if it even works, but its still there . . . just hangin’ around.
Crock pots are great, especially for those of us who have a high probability of burning grilled cheese, but they take ALL DAY. The Instant Pot, on the other hand, gets it done in just a few hours. No more will you need to buy rice or beans that are packaged in cans, boxes, or plastic bags. With this little ninja, you can fill your bulk bags to your heart’s content, and walk out of the grocery store with swag only suitable for a bad-ass, package-free shopper, and whip up the yummiest meals you could think of: rice & beans, winter stew, pumpkin soup, and sooooo much more. They’re even good for steam canning so you can cut down on condiment bottles and make your own ketchup.
So what your saying is: its better for the environment, cheaper, and makes me look like a baller in the kitchen? Yes plz!
To say that my Vitamix is a gamechanger would be a total understatement. My husband and I splurged on one almost two years ago, and I can honestly say that it gets used at least 3 times a week. I primarily use it for making cashew milk, cashew yogurt, cashew cream and CASHEW ALFREDO SAUCE . . . MMMMMM. Do I have a problem here? Hmm . . . maybe. My husband, on the other hand, uses it for his unsatisfying, “healthy” smoothies. I think they taste gross, but to each his own.
What I love about the Vitamix is it allows me to buy items from the bulk section, like nuts and beans, to blend into foods that I would have otherwise have bought in plastic packaging. I can also make yummy snacks like jalapeño hummus and a chocolate hazelnut spread completely package-free. After using a magic bullet for years, I couldn’t believe how smooth my Vitamix made things. Truthfully, no other blender comes close. Other blenders just don’t have that level of intensity that you need for some concoctions. I have to say: my Vitamix probably takes the #1 spot on my list of kitchen must-haves. Shhhh . . . don’t tell the others!
So, what can I make with a Vitamix?
- Nut butters (almond/cashew/peanut butter): 10-20 minutes
- Plant-based milk (almond/cashew/chia/hemp/oat milk): 5-30 minutes depending on which type of milk you make. I vote for cashew milk because it doesn’t require any straining and it offers the best fat-carb-protein ratio
- Juices, smoothies, & protein shakes: 5-10 minutes
- Vegan yogurt (cashew/almond yogurt): less than 5 minutes
- Vegan alfredo sauce: 5-10 minutes
- Chocolate hazelnut spread (a.k.a. freakin’ delicious nutella without all the added ingredients that will most likely give you a heart attack)
- Jalapeno hummus or Beet hummus (any kind of hummus really!)
- Sauces like salsa verde
These are just a few options. There are many other smaller ways to improve your kitchen’s sustainability factor. Even something as simple as getting a vejibag to keep your produce fresher for longer can exponentially help to reduce your food waste. Or maybe you switch from Ziploc bags to a reusable stasher bag so you’re not relying on single-use plastic to store your leftovers or snacks. There are a ton of ways to make you a total hero in the kitchen and up that zero-waste game.