How I Live Sustainably: My Independence Starts in The Kitchen

How I Live Sustainably: My Independence Starts in The Kitchen

How do I live sustainably? Well before I answer that, let’s talk about what SUSTAINABLE means.

According to Webster, it means using a product without permanently destroying or depleting it. It can also mean a lifestyle that uses sustainable methods.

Okay…so what are “sustainable methods”? Other words to describe SUSTAINABLE are: Green, Renewable, Liveable, Supportable, Feasible, Worthwhile. To me it means, finding ways to reduce or reuse our resources. It means not wasting.

How I Live Sustainably

As you may know, I grew up on a small hobby farm. We grew and raised almost everything we ate. There were chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, beef cattle and pigs; we also had two large gardens, a small orchard full of apple, cherry and pear trees. My grandfather grew grapes for wine. He also made dandelion wine! We froze and canned everything. Our chest freezer was packed full of little packages of meat and veggies. Jars of jellies and fruits were stored in a root cellar, along with mounds of potatoes and carrots, and strings of onions and garlic.

Being from the old country, Hungary to be exact, my grandparents taught me to use everything. Nothing was thrown away. I suppose it was also that they lived through WWII and a depression, but they used and reused almost everything. Even gift wrapping paper, which drove me crazy! (Nothing is worse for a child than getting a present wrapped with last year’s wrapping paper!)

How I Live Sustainably: My Independence Starts in The Kitchen
Living sustainably by freezing leftovers, making broth and preserving fruits and veggies

But it must’ve rubbed off on me. Because here I am boiling a chicken carcus down to get the extra meat off it after our Sunday chicken dinner and to make chicken broth. With that, I will make packages of meat and broth to put into the freezer for later use. It has saved me from the what’s-for-dinner-dilemma many times! (Quickly thaw the meat in the microwave to use in a casserole or put in a skillet with some sauteed veggies, and TA-DA you have dinner!) By the way, steak bones make an excellent beef broth, too.

The other day I made an Angel Food Cake from scratch, which uses only egg whites. What did I do with the leftover egg yolks? I made another cake! That one went in the freezer; less work when I need a dessert later.

Leftovers are re-designed for work week meals or packed for lunches. No food is wasted.

But it’s not only through home-cooking and preserving that we live sustainably. We also do all we can to reduce energy. I love to hang out laundry; I find the whole process therapeutic – carrying the baskets outside and listening to nature while I pin the clothes on the line, breathing in the fresh air. Even in early Spring I’m out there in boots and gloves hanging out the laundry, just as long as the snow doesn’t touch the sheets! I give the dehumidifier water to my plants. We open our windows at night to listen to the crickets and frogs instead of the air conditioner. We coordinate our drives to ‘n from work with running errands so we don’t have to drive extra miles later.

How I Live Sustainably: My Independence Starts in The Kitchen
Some of our cage free hens, sunning themselves

We have our own chickens. Not for meat mind you, but for the eggs and enjoyment of having them. They supply us with delicious eggs and we give them free range of our yard. I give them vegetable scraps and they keep our yard free from bugs. A far cry from all the farm animals I grew up with, but it’s sustainable for us.

My then father-in-law taught me how to can tomatoes, “You need to know how to do this. What if something happens? You need to know how to feed your family.” He was by no means a prepper. He was a man with five busy, active sons and keeping plenty of food in the house was important. But what it showed me was that with a little extra work now I wouldn’t have to worry about not having an ingredient I quickly needed later.

I never thought of all this as living sustainably.

To me it was just how I was raised and influenced. Waste nothing, find a frugal way to live. Why spend the money on buying chicken broth when I can make my own? And besides, this way I know what exactly is in it and can control the amount of sodium it has. Why run the drier when the wind and sun will do the same? And who wouldn’t rather listen to Nature’s lullaby songs as they fall asleep instead of the drone of the A/C? To me, it just makes perfect sense.

How I Live Sustainably: My Independence Starts in The Kitchen
Homemade applesauce made with fruit from our own trees

It taught me independence. It showed me that I don’t have to rely on others. With a little thought and effort, I can find ways to do it myself. I can live a SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE – reducing my global footprint by hanging out laundry, using the leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat to make tasty enchiladas and store them in the freezer for a crazy work week dinner later.

You don’t have to go off the power grid, use only solar power, to live sustainably. You don’t have to grow all your own food, either. Little life changes come with great sustainability rewards.

How do you live sustainably?

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below this post. It is always interesting to learn what others are doing to promote a sustainable lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about living sustainably, check out my Pinterest boards. Look for the Sustainable, Organic and Local pins @maryslocalmarket

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share or are looking for? Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form on the right or on my Contact page. I’d be happy to speak with you.

And don’t forget, if you aren’t sure of what you are doing in the kitchen but want to eat healthy, you can sign up for my FREE Cooking Basics how-to-tips! You’ll get an email every week for an entire year. That’s 52 helpful kitchen tips! Everything from how to make the perfect fried egg to different ways to prepare vegetables and how to freeze those fruits & veggies you find at the market 🙂

Enjoy and Be Healthy!

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