Tag Archives: cast iron cookware

Top 7 Green Cooking Tools

The kitchen is an important part of the home to take the environment into consideration. What you do there impacts your family as well as the environment. Your cooking tools are one part of that.

Now, I’ll tell you right up front that I’m no fan of nonstick cookware as a general rule. There are varieties out there now that say they’re more environmentally friendly, but I have yet to see nonstick cookware that really keeps the nonstick surface long enough to satisfy me, especially when it comes to skillets. The stuff wears off, whether over a few months or a few years, and then you have to buy new. Not terribly efficient in the long run, if you ask me.

These are all personal preferences I’m listing here. You may not agree, and you don’t have to. I will tell you that some of my preferences won’t work well if you have a glass cooktop rather than gas burners on your stove. Take that into consideration as you shop.

Top 7 Green Cooking Tools1. Cast Iron Skillets

I love my cast iron skillets. They’re heavy, they take a little extra care if I want to keep them properly seasoned, but they last and last. Seriously, my big one belonged to my grandmother and it’s still wonderful. When it comes to being green in the kitchen, pieces that last just about forever rank really high with me.

2. Pressure Cooker

I like my pressure cooker, don’t use it enough, but it’s a good item to have around. Nice, solid, and it speeds up your cooking. That’s the whole point of a pressure cooker. My favorite things to make in them are artichokes. So much faster than cooking them in a regular pot.

The Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers are excellent, although my handmedown Presto is generally good too. Make sure you check reviews for durability, as when I looked at some brands, parts tended to wear out shortly after the warranty expired. Once again, I favor products that don’t tend to need regular replacement as much as possible. Also, if you want to do canning, make sure you select a model designed for it. It’s just easier that way.

3. Bamboo Cutting Boards

The best part about bamboo, environmentally speaking, is that it grows quickly, and so cutting it down to make things has less impact than other woods do. Bamboo cutting boards can work really well, although they can be a little thin. It’s also attractive and durable.

4. Pyrex Storage Sets

Pyrex storage containers are great for getting away from your typical plastic containers for leftover foods. They’re a very durable glass, and the lids can be made from BPA-free plastics. From reviews, I can say that the lids don’t last as well as the containers (hardly a surprise), but I understand you can get them replaced.

5. Pyrex Bakeware

I like their bakeware too. Some of it comes with lids, so it can be used as storage too, but others don’t.

6. Stainless Steel Food Containers

If you want something more durable than glass, stainless steel is a great way to go. Can’t use them in the microwave, obviously, but wonderful for carrying a lunch. Make sure you get leakproof containers if you’re dealing with liquids.

7. Vitamix

While not a specifically eco friendly item, a Vitamix (or Blendtec blender if you prefer), is far superior to a basic blender. If you buy one, you must make smoothies with it. That’s an order. It really make it easy to enjoy a nice, healthy smoothie, and of course you can use it as you would any other blender. Best of all, they last very, very well.

How to Choose Green and Healthy Cookware

If you’re like me, you regularly spend time cooking for your family at home. It can be both a chore and a delight. But have you ever bothered to think about whether your cookware is both environmentally friendly and good for your family?

It’s a thought that’s easy to skip. Cookware is something that once you have it, you’ll probably take it for granted, at least until the nonstick coating wears off.

That’s one of the biggest problems with Teflon cookware. That stuff comes off bit by bit through the years, guaranteeing that you will have to replace it regularly, and that your family is eating bits of Teflon. Not really what I want in my food, even though nothing is proven health-wise about it… unless you’re a bird, in which case I understand concerns have been demonstrated. Teflon can create a gas called PFOA that is poisonous to them when used at high temperatures.

The use of PFOA in making nonstick surfaces is decreasing already, as the EPA is working with companies to eliminate its emissions and product content by 2015.

Even if you aren’t concerned about the Teflon, having cookware that you have to replace regularly isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. Wouldn’t you rather have stuff that lasts longer?

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware is my absolute favorite. Heavy, takes a little extra care, but it lasts just about forever. My favorite skillet is a cast iron skillet that was handed down to me from my grandmother. So long as I take care of it, I may very well be able to hand it down to my own grandchildren.

Cast iron cookware does release a little iron into your food, in part depending on the acid content of the food. That’s not a bad thing, as many people need a little more iron in their diet.

You do not need huge amounts of oil to cook in cast iron. Keep your cookware well seasoned, and it is beautifully nonstick.

Best of all, even if you don’t have someone to inherit cast iron from, you may be able to find it in antique shops or thrift stores. There’s also plenty of new cast iron out there to be bought if you just aren’t having any luck.

If you don’t want iron leeching into your food, there are ceramic coated cast iron pans you can buy also. They come in some nice colors as well.

Stainless Steel

If you want something a little lighter, go for stainless steel cookware. These often have a core of aluminum or copper to help with heat distribution. I grew up using my mother’s stainless steel skillets, and they worked quite well. Quite reasonably nonstick too.

Old, dinged up stainless steel cookware can leech some chemicals, but only in small quantities.

“Eco Friendly” Nonstick Cookware

“Eco friendly” nonstick is a bit newer to the scene.It uses a nano coating, which not everyone is comfortable with, as the technology is quite a bit newer.

Thermolon is what the coating is usually called, and I have some concerns about whether or not it is really worthwhile. Looking at online reviews, people love it at first, but within a couple months in an awful lot of them start to have problems with food sticking badly to the cookware.

This type of cookware, for all it gets trumpeted as being green, I am much concerned is more of a greenwash. It’s not green if frustration with stickiness causes you to replace the pans in short order.

They’re also apparently quite susceptible to chipping, and some manufacturers recommend you hang them rather than store in a cabinet or drawer. I consider durability a part of being green, so these don’t do well in that respect.

Overall, despite the number of people calling this type of cookware green, I’m not convinced. I suggest sticking with more reliable types.

edited to add

Glass Cookware

I had a reader point out to me that glass is another great choice. I don’t know how I forgot my beautiful glass cookware. My Pyrex cookware is wonderful for cooking and storing the leftovers. You have to use it in the oven, not stovetop, but it’s amazing stuff. Wonderfully easy to clean since you can put it in the dishwasher if you like.