For many years now, it’s been my tradition to start my holiday baking over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Each year, I bake about 40-45 dozen cookies (yes you read that correctly!) and mail them off to my family throughout the country. This is a very big undertaking for me, and I usually start planning it about two months in advance. This planning helps me stay organized, and it also helps me have a more sustainable baking experience.
Here are some of the things I do to lower the environmental impact of my holiday baking:
- Buy as many local and organic ingredients as possible.
- Buy in bulk at my local co-op to eliminate packaging waste. Flour, sugar, oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit are all common bulk foods.
- If something isn’t available in bulk, I try to buy products that have recyclable or compostable packaging.
- Plan out exactly what I will be baking in advance, so I know precisely how much of each ingredient I will need. This helps prevent food waste.
- If I do end up with excess ingredients, I store them properly to ensure they’ll last until I can use them again. Check out Eureka Recycling’s food storage tips at http://www.makedirtnotwaste.org/at-home/food-storage-tips to learn more.
- Carefully time all baking, so I never have to leave a hot oven empty.
- Use secondhand cookbooks, cookie cutters, utensils, etc. A few years ago when I wanted to make spritz cookies, I was able to get a nice cookie press for a dollar at a thrift store.
- Save cookie tins throughout the year and purchase more at thrift stores. These are a cheap, lightweight way to package cookies for cross-country travel, and they can be used over and over again!