Disclaimer – This is possibly one of the most UK-centric and under-researched posts I’ve ever done. Enjoy!
Earth Hour Recipes
There are several things to keep in mind when trying to concoct ‘green’ recipes.
Firstly, local always trumps things from far corners of the country (and even more than things imported from other counties, especially if by airfreight).
Secondly, the carbon intensity of production of whatever tasty thing you want to use should be taken into account – this is very bad news for beef (see below). SheKnows also wrote a good blog about this issue.
Thirdly, the amount and type of energy you use when storing, cooking, reheating and whatever else can really transform the carbon footprint of even the lowest-carbon local vegetables. Whenever we roast something at home, we often throw in as many vegetables as we can fit on two shelves. It’s a tasty-licious way to maximise on energy. Even Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall has caught on.
Fourthly, eating seasonal can have a very big impact on not just your cost, but also your carbon footprint. That’s because storage of food can involve chemicals in addition to refrigeration.
Of course, one of the biggest sources of ‘carbon’ on the average dinner plate is our enduring predilection for meat. I’m not immune to that by any means, but I do try to reduce my meat intake and probably eat vegetarian 2 or 3 times per week.
Beef is especially carbon intensive, mostly because of the sheer volume of water and food they require, along with (ahem) bottom-burps that cows emit, which are mostly methane – a far more problematic gas than Carbon Dioxide.
Apparently giving up beef would have more impact than giving up cars, which is a sobering thought.
In any case there are loads of low-carbon options when it comes to cooking. Here are some of my favourites:
In the UK on Earth Day (28 March), the following are usually in good supply:
- purple sprouting broccoli (not the green stuff which might just be beginning its season)
- spring onions
- wild nettles
Of course other things are coming into season about that time (asparagus, lettuce leaves, samphire, basil, chives, dill, lamb, plaice, prawns) and other things are at the end of their season (salsify, leeks, cauliflower, virtually all citrus fruits, dover sole, lemon sole, red mullet). Any decent Google search will help you to find seasonal recipes in your local area.
Best Earth Day Recipes
But let me make a few recipe recommendations.
The best recipes involve local produce, no (or minimal cooking) and using seasonal produce.
Entree Citrus-Cured Salmon (I hate myself for including a Martha Stewart recipe)
Main Cauliflower and Peas (Assuming we all have a rogue bag of peas in the freezer)
These recipes involve some cooking.
Main Garlic and Leek Mussels (substitute white wine for vermouth)
Desert Rhubarb Pudding
Candles -v- Light Bulbs
Oh yeah, and just so you know, the romantic idea of using candles instead of electric lights probably isn’t the best way to celebrate Earth Hour – it seems that candles emit more CO2e than even the least-friendly light bulb, although I can’t confirm the analysis of that. Sorry.
If you really MUST have candles, then at least ensure that you have bees wax candles, which are not oil-based derivatives.