sustainability Guide 2011 / The Sustainable Kitchen
If you are contemplating buying a stove anytime soon, choose a gas stove over an electric one. Gas stoves use less energy because the fuel goes straight to your home and is used specifically for cooking. Other things to do to be more sustainable in the kitchen include using natural and nontoxic cleaning products. Studies have also shown that using a dishwasher is more sustainable than washing dishes by hand. On average, dishwashers use 37 percent less water than hand washing (assuming you let the water run while you handwash). Another way you can save energy is by purchasing an Energy Star qualified refrigerator, which is generally 20 percent more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. The makers of Energy Star products claim that if everyone chose a refrigerator that has earned an Energy Star, there would be enough reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 120,000 cars.
If it’s not the right time to buy sustainable kitchen appliances, stock your kitchen with more local ingredients. Maui onions are a great choice not only because they take less fossil fuel to transport, but because their unique location fosters its sweet flavor that is hard to find elsewhere. These onions are cultivated on the volcanic slopes of Mount Haleakala, which produce the low-sulfur content responsible for its sweetness. Maui onions are available at most supermarkets when in season (April-June).
Hawaiian sea salt or alaea salt is also a great ingredient to have on hand. This natural and unprocessed type of salt is available in both coarse and fine grain, and usually light red in color. Its main use is to preserve meat, but there are many other traditional ways to use this salt.
Macadamia nut oil is also a great local ingredient that is the healthiest of all cooking oils and also very flavorful. Macadamia oil can be great for salad dressing, and great with popcorn, too.
If you’re interested in experimenting with in season local organic ingredients, the service “Just Add Water” provides weekly boxes of fresh produce out to the local community. This is a fun way to experiment with unfamiliar produce to come up with interesting new recipes. —Niko Rivas
We’ve got you, Babe
Locally grown foods naturally contain antibodies to support immune systems of their local area, and according to Dr. Robert H. Lustig, an expert in pediatrics and neuroendocrinology, the unnatural American diet is resulting in an epidemic of obese babies.
Old-fashioned is the new fashion, and organic baby foods are back in style. Even Gerber, which uses chemicals such as (the metabolism-destroying) high-fructose corn syrup, has caught on to the movement. The company now has an organic line with nourishing mashes of treats like prunes and sweet potatoes.
Also, check out Daniela Kittinger’s line, Farm to High Chair, sold at Baby aWEARness in Manoa. Her pureed creations come fresh by the season. Flavors include Sweet Winter Squash, Banana Papaya and Kale Peasto. Kittinger, a mom herself, tries to use locally grown foods whenever possible. —Haiya Sarwar
What Lassie Wants Lassie Gets
With all the additives in commercial dog food, many dogs are developing allergies and health diseases that threaten their lives. Check out the Hawaii Doggie Bakery for a mass of canine-safe grub. Their handmade treats range from beef manapuas to seasonal Doggie Lau Lau. Waggin’ Bakery is also dedicated to using only the best ingredients. Get the pooch some of their Sweet Potato Lil’ Bites for an afternoon snack, or Pumpkin Pie Lil’ Bites for a dessert. —H.S.