You can save electricity and gas even in the kitchen. The peasant chefs of Campagna Amica Torino know something about the fact that we, in the farms of Terranostra, prepare dishes with farm products.
The qualification “Country Chef” is awarded by Coldiretti to chefs who work in the kitchens of agritourisms of the Campagna Amica chain after a certain course. The courses improve traditional products and recipes that have been innovated at a technical and production level, with the aim of training new professionals in the world of local cuisine.
“Farmer chefs are connected to the land and agriculture – notes Jacopo Barone, president of Terranostra Torino – so they come from a world that always creates a circular economy and always sees the waste of resources as a crime to work the land that gives us fruit. It is this spirit it has also pushed them towards important investments in photovoltaics, which today are proving to be an excellent shield against energy surges: farms installing panels on their roofs are today at zero cost or at very low prices, even ahead of them. to this global crisis of fossil fuels”.
It is from chefs who have chosen a restaurant that is close to nature and respects the planet that there are some valuable tips for organizing food preparation more sustainably.
Obviously, raw foods, snacks, salads, pinzimonies, fruit salads save energy, but you don’t have to switch to a raw food diet to deliver less salty bills.
From reusing hot water to better organizing parties to reevaluating less invasive preparations that preserve nutrients, these are the peasant chefs of Campagna Amica Torino. Cecilia Barone of the farm Cascina dei Canonici in Sant’Ambrogio di Torino; Elena Gariglio, sale at Zucca farm in Moncalieri; Alexa and Aldo Barbetta of Cascina Mombello farmhouse in Cavour; Elvira Natalina Polidoro of Cascina Vecchia Fattoria in Villafranca Piemonte; Francesca Molon of Cascinassa of Pavone Canavese; Lorenzo Giai and Ilaria Zomer of the Fratelli Giai farmhouse in Susa; Chiara Menzio of the farm Alpeggio Menzio in Usseglio; Qualtiero Armosino of the farm I Conti della Serva.
Their tips for saving gas and electricity in the kitchen:
1. Raw food does not require energy to serve. Salads, fresh fruits, fruit salads, yogurt desserts, raw meat, dips, cheeses do not need to be cooked. If anything, they require energy production, but we don’t add energy consumption by consuming them fresh. And even with raw foods, you can create really attractive combinations of flavors and colors.
2. If we eat raw food, eat it all raw. We avoid hot creams on fresh vegetables or fruits, they change vitamins and flavors and do not save energy. If we want to dip or pour, we use cold sauces and liquids like a good oil from cold-pressed Italian olives (also here).
3. Let’s return to taste and proper digestion. To enjoy crisper, al dente, slightly rare bites, reducing cooking means consuming more nutritious foods, savoring the original aromas of the ingredients, and above all, chewing more, greatly aiding digestion. For food safety, opt for quick-cooking recipes for well-cooked foods like chicken and eggs.
4. We never throw away cooking liquids. The water in the pasta is water enriched with starch and wheat proteins, especially if we’ve cooked stuffed pasta like agnolotti. It can be stored in the refrigerator and used as a base for broth for risotto, meat, pan-fried vegetables. The water obtained from boiling vegetables has the same use. But what about boiled meat and fish broth? These are the most valuable liquids because they are broths rich in meat and fish proteins. They should be frozen and used for later meals or for liquid dishes such as soups.
5. We use boilers that allow us to save energy, such as pressure cookers, boilers for multiple cooking (boiling and steaming). In addition, we can use excess hot water to wash dishes by hand.
6. We avoid preparations that involve different cooking of ingredients for the same meal. A rich soup or stew is better than a meal made with raw ingredients that are cooked separately and then collected.
7. We prefer low volume base ingredients. Finely chopped red meat is better than fried; fried eggs are better than hard-boiled eggs; chicken breast is better than thigh: cook first. Or we prefer ingredients that require a shorter time: cook the fish before the meat.
8. We plan more parties when we use the oven. We can cook different foods in the oven to focus on different degrees of cooking, or we can cook different foods below using the temperature the oven has already reached: since the oven is hot, we use it instead of cooking on the flame.
9. We thaw the food by taking it out of the freezer the day before and do not thaw it with a microwave oven. In addition, the melting should be done slowly, but if we have to melt on the spot, let’s do it in a pot, we are already preparing the food we want to cook;
10. We use manual and non-electric tools to prepare the dishes. Unlike a carving knife, a crescent, a wooden spoon, a whisk, an electric whisk, it will take a little more time, but it does not use energy.