Throughout the pandemic, many individuals have decided to take on baking. Not only does baking leave you with lots of delicious treats, but can also serve as a form of mindfulness and self-expression. Whether you are a pro or beginner baker, keep these tips in mind to ensure you are baking with the environment in mind.
Bake from scratch
Instead of purchasing boxed mixes where all you usually have to do is add water, oil, and eggs, try baking from scratch. Boxed mixes have a lot of packaging, considering they only give you one final product. However, a 5 pound package of flour will supply multiple baked goods. Also keep in mind that while a cake mix box can be recycled, the plastic bag found within is difficult or impossible to recycle in most areas.
Use seasonal ingredients
While we can find practically any ingredient all year round with the convenience of markets, it is sometimes more environmentally friendly to use seasonal items. For example, pumpkins are a fall vegetable which means it requires fewer resources to transport them from the patch to your kitchen.
There are many substitutes for common baking ingredients that can reduce your impact on the environment. For example, milk can be substituted with coconut or almond milk. Mashed bananas or applesauce can be used instead of eggs.
Time the pre-heating
It may be convenient to set the oven to pre-heat way ahead of the time actually necessary for it to get to it’s set temperature, but doing so can waste electricity and in some cases natural gas or propane as well. Instead, be mindful of the time it takes for the oven to pre-heat and to set it too far in advance.
Baking can get quite messy so it might be tempting to use single-use tools. However, any change can make a difference. There are many reusable baking tools, like silicone cupcake liners, that can reduce waste.
Not only do ovens bake delicious foods and desserts, but it can also serve as a heater. An oven remains warm even after it is turned off so feel free to reap the warmth from it before cranking up the heater.
Share with others
The United States is the global leader in food waste. Each year, Americans discard nearly 40 million tons of food. Instead of throwing out leftovers, try reducing the recipe, or sharing some baked goods with a friend.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022