I’ve been writing about green homes for more than a decade, and sometimes I think I know it all. Just when I think there’s nothing new to learn, though, I inevitably run into an article or blog post that surprises me. Jordan Laio’s recent list of 10 Items for the Green Kitchen, which I found on Care2.com, veers from the ordinary and made me rethink miso paste and coconut oil. I’m not quite sure that a sprouting device is necessary (it’s so easy to sprout without a special gadget), but I’m grateful to know about rapadura as a sugar alternative.
What do you think? Are the following items truly essential for a green kitchen? What would you include in this list?
1. Reusable Bulk Bags: Simple cloth bags with drawstrings can be reused indefinitely.
2. Canning Jars: Laio calls these “the backbone of a sustainable kitchen” because they work for dry and wet food storage, sprouting (if you don’t have a dedicated sprouting device), canning, and fermenting.
3. Sprouting Device: Growing your own sprouts maximizes nutrition and saves money.
4. Gallon Crock: Earthenware crocks are great for fermenting vegetables, Laio writes. Lacto-fermentation enhances vegetable nutrient value and shelf life and doesn’t require the energy needed for canning or freezing.
5. Miso Paste: Why is miso so special? It has its own secret flavor category (called umami), it’s probiotic, aids digestion, is a great source of vitamins and minerals, reduces risk of some cancers, is high in antioxidants, and protects against radiation, Laio writes.
6. Coconut Oil: It’s the best vegan butter replacer and tastes great, Laio writes.
7. Rapadura: This one was new to me. Rapadura is unrefined sugar—literally dried sugar cane juice—with all of its vitamins and minerals still intact.
8. Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Castile Soap: It’s biodegradable, all natural and serves myriad uses.
9. A Good Cutting Board: Liao says a good cutting board is solidly built from renewable wood.
10. The Encyclopedia of Country Living: Liao suggests leaving the bible of DIY skills–which covers everything from baking bread to churning butter to building a chicken coop–on the counter as a conversation starter.
Look for a well-crafted cutting board made of renewable material such as bamboo.