As a mom, a lot of my time at home is spent in the kitchen. From preparing meals for today, to prepping for meals throughout the week, it seems like a never ending cycle. In the past, I’ve talked about feeding kids natural snacks and foods—free from unnecessary additives, ingredients, pesticides and whatnot. Something I’m not sure we always think about is the tools we’re using in the kitchen and what they may “add” to our food.
Cookware (Pots and Pans)—I’m sure most of us have heard about the dangers of Teflon coated pots and pans. In case you haven’t, there’s a great article from Good Housekeeping breaking down the dangers. Simply put, the chemicals used in non-stick cookware can give off harmful emissions once they reach a certain temperature (which is when they begin to break down). Good Housekeeping tested nonstick cookware, and the writers were surprised by how quickly cookware reached the dangerous temperatures (when used like any normal person would in their own kitchen).
So what type of cookware is good to use? If you like non-stick pots and pans, then your best bet is Scanpan. The aluminum pans are made from 100% recycled aluminum and they are made with Green Tek, the first non-stick coating that is completely free of PFOA and PFOS chemicals. These pots and pans are a little more expensive than other sets you might find at Macy’s and other big department stores, but they are an investment. You will have these pots and pans forever.
Kitchen Accessories—There’s nothing quite like cooking with fresh herbs, but keeping them fresh can be a challenge. I love the idea of growing fresh herbs on the kitchen windowsill. Olive Barn sells a kit with organic herbs, and when you order from them, you can choose which herbs you want. You can choose from basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley and thyme. I like the idea of choosing which herbs I want, since there are some that I use much more than others—especially basil and oregano.
I also love a good wooden spoon. If you want your wooden spoon and similar tools, then look into utensils made from bamboo. There are a number of brands of bamboo utensils. I don’t have a favorite, but you can’t go wrong with bamboo. They are stronger than wood or plastic, and they won’t scrape your cookware the way metal can. Also, important to remember is that bamboo can be grown without the use of pesticides, which is not always the case with wood. I like the idea of fewer chemicals when I cook. I prefer my food to only have the ingredients I put in it. Lastly, bamboo is 100% biodegradable, so it will have a minimal impact on the environment.
Kitchen Composter—There’s nothing quite as handy as having a composter in your kitchen. Of course, you can’t have your full compost in your kitchen, so the next best thing is a compact composter that can be stored right on your kitchen counter. There are a number of designs to choose from—everything from ceramic to stainless steel. I love the convenience of temporarily storing compostable items in the kitchen as opposed to constantly making trips outside to the compost.
The kitchen is the hub of a home. Since it’s where everything seems to come together, it only makes sense that everything within the kitchen should be eco-friendly and natural. We are so cautious about the foods we choose, and we should be just as aware of the other items we use, and make sure they are natural and free from chemicals, as well.