1. Start by Being a Smart Shopper
Planning ahead before heading to the market will avoid additional trips for all of the items you forgot - helping to save time and gas! Buying items in bulk or larger packages, like a 10 lb. bag of sugar, will not only cut down on shopping trips, but you will avoid excess packaging and create less trash. And when you do go to the store, don't forget to bring your own reusable bags!
2. Look out for 'Green' Products
Buying products that are either organic or sustainable go a long way to helping the environment. Organic foods are grown without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides, which is a good thing for both our bodies and the earth. There are also more and more products labeled as sustainable, meaning that the products are produced in a way that preserves and protects our environment. Try baking with Domino® Organic Sugar or with Domino® Sugar Certified CarbonFree®. Also, the Domino® Sugar 4 lb. Canister is a reusable, recyclable, and therefore sustainable, packaging option.
3. Pick it Local
Before you head to the frou-frou fruit store that imports produce from far-off countries, consider first shopping from local farmers and orchards. Buying locally not only guarantees freshness, but you are helping to limit negative transportation impacts. And just think of the nice memories you'll create as you and your family go picking for fresh apples, strawberries or blueberries, then baking delicious homemade desserts!
4. Compost when Cooking
Thanks to Mother Nature, much of our everyday nutrient-rich kitchen "trash" can eventually turn into a super fertilizer for your garden. Composting is one of the easiest ways to avoid adding to landfills. While baking, save your egg shells, apple cores and fruit peels to add to an outdoor compost pile. Other favorite compost ingredients include vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags. Think of it as nature's own recipe for recycling!
5. Be Oven Wise
You can still be an avid baker and save energy while making your delicious creations! The next time you are baking, use a timer to figure out how long it takes for your oven to preheat. Then going forward, you can plan ahead and only preheat as short amount of time as necessary before your dish will be ready to bake. You don't need to preheat if you're broiling or roasting. And, remember that opening the oven door while baking releases a lot of heat and slows the cooking time. Keep the oven light off until you're doing a quick check and maintain a clean oven to efficiently conduct heat.
6. Avoid Fridge Follies
An organized baker is also a baker that will be saving energy in their home! Be sure to pull out as many refrigerated items as you can at one time when gathering your ingredients. This will avoid multiple trips that open the fridge door and therefore make it work harder. Also keep in mind that a well-stocked fridge uses less energy: the less empty space inside, means the less warm air gets in when the refrigerator door is open, resulting in less work for your trusted appliance to have to cool the air inside.
7. Picking the Right Pans
Using glass, ceramic, silicone or stone bakeware helps to conserve energy; some warm up quicker or retain heat longer than metal pans. In many recipes, you can lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees without affecting the results of pies, brownies or main dishes. Baking cakes, however, is trickier, so using metal pans is still recommended.
8. Don't be Wishy-Washy Washing Dishes
OK, so you've baked a wonderful pie or cake and now it's clean up time! Thinking green may help to make this chore go quicker. Since many newer models of dishwashers have a catch for food or a built-in garbage disposal, pre-rinsing is unnecessary. Fill up your dishwasher as much as you can, leaving room for sufficient cleaning, before you run a load. And if you do wash by hand, use a dishpan with soapy water and only fill up half of the sink with clean water for rinsing. This will avoid needless water waste.
9. It's Cool to Start Canning
You may think owning a petticoat or having a barn is a prerequisite for canning, but really it's a fun, eco-friendly hobby that will give you fresh fruits, jams and preserves during off-seasons. Learn all about the how-tos of canning, which can be satisfying and surprisingly easy!
10. Bake a Bunch from Scratch
As if you needed a reason to bake? But, really, baking from scratch, in and of itself, is a very sweet way to go green. Baking from scratch not only costs far less than purchasing ready-made or prepackaged foods, it also cuts down on consuming foods that are processed and needing transportation, which impacts the environment. Plus, you are guaranteed to be consuming the freshest of ingredients. When you do have your baking days, double up recipes so that you can freeze and save for later, when a day's worth of thawing uses zero energy compared to turning on the oven again.