This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Hosting a "Green" Cookout

I love grilling out!

I love grilling out.  I love the smell.  I love how the food tastes.  I love the excitement that I can't help but feel about the whole process.  Until I learned a little more about cooking out I was (mistakenly) thinking that it wasn't a very "green" option.  It turns out, cooking out can be quite environmentally friendly.

This is how we used to grill out

Most important is the choice of grill.  We have a gas grill.  Up until last year we had a charcoal grill.  I thought the charcoal grill was "greener" because charcoal is a renewable resource but unfortunately the emissions are so high from burning charcoal that it apparently cancels out all the potential good.  I read here a pretty good arguement for gas grilling.  There are also electric grills.  Sadly these grills tend to not be very efficient, especially when grilling multiple food items, thus the good done by their reduced emissions is negated by the amount of energy it takes to completely cook a meal.  Finally there is lump charcoal.  Lump charcoal is free of the additives found in traditional charcoal that create the noxious emissions but it is not readily available from local sources creating the need to ship it great distances.  The transportation emissions far exceed the "good" done by using this type of energy.

Gas grilling is more environmentally friendly than charcoal grilling

The point is that unless you are choosing a raw-food-lifestyle you're going to be cooking your food in some form or fashion.  The smallest carbon footprint comes from gas grilling.  Something about grilling seems to inspire us to invite our friends and families to join us, thus making for an even greener cooking experience as more people are fed from the same amount of energy consumed.  Heating up a grill is far greener than heating up an oven.

I love veggie kabobs, especially marinated with a little Italian dressing!

Finally it's important to note the types of food being grilled.  You could go for the heart attack special: steaks, brats, burgers, hot dogs,  mayonnaise-laden potatoe salad, macaroni salad, jello "salad", some creamy cole slaw all topped off with s'mores for dessert.  You could eat that way.  I certainly have in the past.  Now I choose black bean burgers, grilled vegetables, vegetable kabobs, grilled portabella mushrooms, and grilled corn-on-the-cob.  And s'mores.  It's best not to "char" food when grilling, in fact the shorter cooking time for veggies, the better because many nutrients are destroyed by heat. 

Pineapples and apples grill up nicely

Grilling food is an excellent opportunity to try out new foods.  Not sure if you like summer squash?  What about adding it to your kabob? Haven't ever tried grilled fruit?  Well peaches are in season and they grill up beautifully, as do blueberries, blackberries, and pears.  You could even go for more nutrients and eat the fruit raw, like in strawberry shortcake.

Who am I kidding?  Grilled fruit?
I still eat the s'mores.


Anonymous said...

so glad you still delve(sp?) into a smore now and again.

Josi Bunder said...

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