Pre-cooking is more relevant than ever in times when more and more people are eating more consciously. We give you valuable tips and many meat-free recipes for pre-cooking.

With pre-cooking you can save time, money and tons of calories. If you turn it into a weekly ritual – for example shopping on Saturdays, pre-cooking for the week on Sundays – you will become real meal prep professionals in no time. The term Meal Prep (from the English “meal preparation”) brings together people from all over the world who exchange their favorite recipes and tips. This also shows that precooking has long been part of everyday life for many people.

Pre-cooking: veggie recipes

In our recipe gallery for vegetarian recipes for pre-cooking you will find all kinds of delicacies that you can prepare for your lunch break, for example. If you have a microwave or an oven available, you can jump into every recipe in this article. A lot can also (or only) be enjoyed cold , especially wraps and salads.

Particularly suitable for pre-cooking Incidentally, soups and stews are . These taste even better from the second day onwards. In addition, they fill you up without you falling into the famous eating coma. But casseroles and salads are also very typical meal prep dishes that you can prepare cheaply and quickly and freely adapt to your taste.

Pre-cooking: this is how it works

In our general article on precooking, we have already prepared extensive instructions that we recommend to absolute precooking newbies. There you can also find out which ingredients keep fresh and how long after cooking. Nevertheless, we would like to give you 5 tips for precooking , with which you can avoid typical beginner mistakes.

1. Start small

If you have little or no experience with pre-cooking, then we advise you to bake slightly smaller rolls at the beginning. What it means is that you don’t try two or three dishes at the same time, but instead concentrate on one recipe . Ideally, you have already cooked it and know that it will still taste good after a few days in the fridge or freezer.

This ensures that your first pre-cooking does not degenerate into stress and spoil your desire for a great thing. As first dishes we can recommend vegetarian chilli , a quick (and cheap) stew and couscous salad .

Feta and chard pockets

2. Plan properly

Before you go shopping, make a detailed plan of which dishes you want to pre-cook and when you want to eat them. If you’re only cooking one dish anyway, that’s less relevant. But if you pre-cook for the whole working week, you should make sure that at least one dish stays fresh in the refrigerator until Friday or you can freeze it until then.

You can also avoid leftovers by pre-cooking . If there are any vegetables left over from cooking a vegetable stew, you can cook them in the oven, for example, and include them as a light lunch with a sour cream. If you still have spaghetti left over, you can process it into hearty muffins that you can enjoy cold during your lunch break.

3. Let the food cool down quickly

Pre-cooking is really worthwhile if you cook large quantities. So you have lots of portions of delicious, home-cooked food in stock and you don’t have to go to the currywurst stand around the corner or ready-made meals from the supermarket during your lunch break. After cooking, you should quickly divide your large portion of chilli, soup or stew into small portions . These cool significantly faster than a huge portion.

We recommend that you simply have suitable plastic or glass containers ready that are well suited for a lunchtime portion. Do not put your freshly cooked portions directly in the fridge or freezer , but let them cool down until they are maximally lukewarm.

ADDITIONAL TIP: YOU BETTER NOT FREEZE THESE INGREDIENTS

 Dairy products, boiled potatoes and vegetables and fruits with a high water content – for example cucumber and zucchini – are unsuitable for freezing .

4. It depends on the equipment

In our experience, it is extremely helpful to use the right containers: if you divide your pre-cooked food into lockable storage boxes that are easy to transport and microwave-safe immediately after cooking, you have killed two birds with one stone.

In the USA in particular, many rely on so-called meal prep containers . These are practical boxes with several chambers that are specially designed so that, for example, potatoes are not soaked in sauce when they are stored. You can also get these Meal Prep Containers in Germany and of course they are reusable.

5. Practice makes perfect

Successful pre-cooking has a lot to do with experience . It can happen that you notice that after three days in the refrigerator a dish no longer tastes as good as it did after one. Don’t let this discourage you: little by little, your very own personal collection of great pre-cooked dishes will come up on its own, if you are only open to new ideas.

As a starting point, you can browse through the vegetarian recipes from this article. Everyone is guaranteed to find something to their taste here! If you register for free on Chefkoch, you have access to your very own cookbook , in which you can directly create a collection of dishes that are suitable for pre-cooking.

Casseroles or gratins are absolute favorites from the oven, because they are quick to make, varied and make a fine side dish or main meal that really fills you up. We’ll show you the best recipes for your next oven dish.

Potatoes, pasta, vegetables and meat can always be used to create new ideas, so casseroles and gratins are always a good idea when there is leftover food.

Casserole or gratin – what’s the difference?

casserole usually consists of different ingredients layered on top of each other, which are poured in a tall form with a spicy egg-cream mixture or a bechamel sauce and baked with grated cheese, breadcrumbs and butter flakes. In addition to filling ingredients such as pasta and potatoes, they usually contain vegetables, fish, meat or sausage and thus form a complete main meal. The prepared al dente ingredients cook in the oven and the cheese melts golden brown.

gratin is the slightly finer variant and usually consists of only one or two ingredients that are served as a side dish, e.g. potatoes or vegetables. The gratin shape is flatter, so that mostly only one layer is baked or “gratinated” at high heat, creating a very crispy surface. The transitions from gratin to casserole are now fluid and colloquially the terms are often exchanged. But the baked delicacies have one thing in common – they always taste delicious!

Casseroles and gratins – whatever your heart desires

The classic par excellence is certainly the pasta casserole : A perfect use of leftovers when pasta is left over from the day before, and when time is short, a pasta casserole in the oven makes itself almost automatically when the noodles can cook in the sauce. The second classic is the potato gratin, a popular filling side dish that is also served on festive occasions. But besides pasta and potatoes as the main ingredient, casseroles and gratins can actually be prepared with all the ingredients your heart desires:

You should always pay attention to the different cooking times of the ingredients when putting together cheerfully. Anyone who enriches a potato casserole with soft vegetables such as tomatoes or zucchini must expect the zucchini and tomatoes to come out of the oven very soft – or to pre-cook the potatoes. You should also be careful not to combine too many types of vegetables that contain a lot of water. For example, you can remove the seeds from tomatoes beforehand so that the casserole or gratin doesn’t get too runny. Unless you eat the casserole or gratin as a main course in combination with rice, for example – a good amount of liquid won’t do any harm so that the dish doesn’t get too dry overall.

Casseroles and gratins – the perfect cheese

When gratinating, you have the option of choosing a cheese according to your taste. Soft cheeses such as young grated Gouda, mozzarella or brie give the casserole or gratin a wonderful creamy cheese layer . Feta cubes, sheep’s cheese or fresh goat’s cheese on the casserole also give an intense taste. If you like it even creamier, you can add creme fraîche or cream cheese to the casserole. If you love a crispy crust on a gratin or casserole, you can choose between different methods

Sweets and desserts from the oven are also in great demand with those with a sweet tooth. Fruit in particular is ideal: pears, apples, peaches or berries can be turned into great gratins and casseroles.

Gratins are the finer variant of the casseroles. They can also be combined in many ways and put together according to your own taste. A purely vegetarian variant is ideal as a side dish. The refined gratins from the oven are tasty for young and old and are a great change from normal vegetable side dishes. Here you will find exciting recipes that are absolutely suitable for everyday use – quick, easy, delicious. Let yourself be inspired by our recipes and simply combine your favorite gratin yourself.

Almost five million tons of plastic waste are generated in Germany every year. A big factor: food packaging. There are alternatives!

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The discussion about the large amounts of garbage that is generated with every purchase is not new. It revolves around cucumbers wrapped in plastic or thin films that can be found between slices of cheese. The fact that the cheese is of course already shrink-wrapped in plastic hardly needs to be mentioned. As a result, purchases in conventional supermarkets are often anything but sustainable.

In May 2018, activists in some European cities, including Berlin, took a stand against plastic packaging in supermarkets – with so-called “plastic attacks”. They put the groceries they bought directly in the market in cloth bags and storage jars and left behind the packaging waste that supermarkets have to take back (to a certain extent).

The campaign has actually attracted attention and yet it is primarily politicians and supermarkets that have to deal with the problem in order to quickly improve the situation. This has actually already happened to a limited extent: plastic bags, for example, have not been free for a long time. Rewe and Penny have also carried out initial tests to label fruit and vegetables with laser engraving and no longer pack them.

What can be done against the masses of packaging waste?

 

Free food Deinet

 

If you want to take out the garbage less often and at the same time protect the environment, you can make sure to buy food with as little packaging as possible in the supermarket. If you try that seriously, you will notice that it is easier said than done.

So-called packaging-free supermarkets are a real alternative. Here you can bring your glasses with screw caps, cloth bags and the like from home and refill oatmeal, sweets and milk. There are now such markets in most of the larger cities. 

In Bonn, where the head chef is based, for example, there is free food Deinet. On their website, they explain  further advantages of a packaging-free food market that may not be immediately clear to everyone: 

  • Buy consciously: You can freely determine the quantities purchased. This avoids unnecessary leftovers when cooking.
  • Let yourself be inspired : Without packaging, you can better look at, feel and smell food when you buy it. 
  • Regional products:  Packaging-free grocery stores (as in the case of Freikost Deinet) often rely on regionally and organically produced foods. 

If you just want to try out packaging-free shopping, but don’t have enough containers to refill yourself, you can usually borrow them directly from the store. As with bottles, you pay a deposit, which you get paid back when you return it. The hurdle is therefore negligibly small to get involved in the environmentally conscious trend. 

Next step “Zero Waste” ?! 

Shopping in packaging-free supermarkets is just one of many ways to limit personal waste production. Meanwhile, a trend – or rather a movement – called “Zero Waste” has developed. You can imagine what it’s about: producing as little waste as possible – in all situations.

Above all, this requires one thing: commitment. In many situations, rubbish can be avoided if you just take the time to think about it briefly. It starts with not having a receipt printed out or using your own reusable cup instead of to-go cups for coffee. Insights into the movement can easily be found in numerous places on the Internet. On blogs and video platforms such as YouTube, for example, you can get helpful tips on how to avoid unnecessary rubbish in everyday life without much effort.

“Eating and drinking keep body and soul together” – who doesn’t know the saying? But what about our knowledge of nutrition? Do we eat healthy, wholesome, balanced? What do we mean by healthy eating?

Good food is one of the most beautiful things in life and is very important for our quality of life. Despite the food scandals, it is still possible to enjoy and, increasingly important, to choose your food naturally, seasonally and freshly. The nutrition experts also agree on this. Today, a healthy diet is understood as a varied, balanced and fresh mixed diet that can be prepared imaginatively.

Broken down to a short formula, healthy nutrition means: more plant-based foods (fruit, vegetables, grains) than animal-based foods (meat, fish, dairy products, eggs) and only small amounts of fat, salt and sugar. Plenty of fluids are essential: best water, teas, juice spritzers and the like. If you then eat versatile and varied – with enough leisure – then you are actually already eating healthy!

Healthy nutrition for every day

Thinking about what to cook for your family every day is not only a headache at times. It has to be fresh, healthy and tasty. It should also be quick in everyday life , several times a day – because with three large and two small meals we are optimally supplied with energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a bit larger, the two snacks in between are intended for small snacks. For example, crispbread with cheese or an apple and a handful of nuts.

So that the essential nutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates are used, it is beneficial to consume them in a certain ratio. In healthy adults, the proportion of the total number of calories is approx. 15% protein, 30% fat and 55% carbohydrates. All three building blocks are important; in combination with vitamins, minerals and trace elements, they fulfill life-sustaining functions. In order for this to work well, it is best to consume the food in sufficient quantities throughout the day. For a healthy diet you need ideally per day:

  • 6 glasses of water or 6 cups of unsweetened fruit or herbal tea
  • 2 servings of fruit
  • 3 servings of vegetables
  • 4 servings of pasta, rice, bread or other cereal products and potatoes
  • 3 servings of milk, yogurt, quark or cheese
  • 1 portion of meat, fish or sausage
  • 4 tbsp oil, margarine and butter

The body can only be supplied with all the nutrients it needs through a combination of different food groups. The plant foods like grains, fruits and vegetables contain fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The body gets high-quality protein from animal foods. Those who follow a vegetarian diet get the protein from milk and dairy products as well as from legumes and cereals. The cells are supplied with essential fatty acids via vegetable oils.

Eating enough fruit and vegetables is one of the most important recommendations for a healthy diet. If you only want to take one step towards a healthy diet, you should start with fruits and vegetables. Because fruits and vegetables are not only low-calorie fillers, they also contain secondary plant substances that are supposed to protect the body. In addition, fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and water-soluble fiber.

Healthy nutrition: basic knowledge of carbohydrates, protein & fat

Carbohydrates provide energy

Whenever we are hungry, our energy source is empty – liver, muscles, tissues and blood only store around 500 g of carbohydrates. If the brain needs new energy, it signals: Feed me simple (e.g. sugar, figs) or even better starchy carbohydrates (such as bread, cereals or rice). We need them to regulate blood sugar levels. If this has dropped, we occasionally feel a slight tremor in addition to hunger. With a healthy diet, one tries to prevent this as much as possible: It is better to keep the blood sugar level as constant as possible and to prevent highs and lows.

The muscles get the energy they need in the short term from blood sugar. Starchy carbohydrates, also known as complex carbohydrates, are more beneficial because they are absorbed more slowly and last longer. This works especially well if you choose the whole grain products. In addition, carbohydrates influence our mood: They put you in a good mood because they stimulate the production of the happiness hormone serotonin. Bread, rolls , cereal products, pasta and potatoes are particularly filling.

Proteins make up all body cells

Proteins are the giant molecules most frequently found in cells. They have to be ingested with food, as our body cannot produce all the protein building blocks itself. The main task is to form the cells and the tissue and to constantly renew them – which is particularly important in the growth phase of children. Proteins build hormones and enzymes and maintain the transport of metabolic products and blood clotting – without them, nothing works! So bring on milk, cheese, meat, fish, legumes, tofu and eggs for a healthy diet.

Keep the balance when it comes to fat

Fat tastes good and helps to add flavor to the food: So it helps make the food taste good to us. But not only that. We also need fat so that our body can absorb certain vitamins and to supply the body with essential fatty acids. That’s the page. On the flip side, fat also contains twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Those who take in too much fat gain weight. That is why it is important to find the right balance in a healthy diet. Vegetable fats and oils are healthy because they contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids. Fatty sea fish should also appear on your plate at least once a week, as they also provide iodine.

Healthy nutrition for every situation

A healthy diet is always possible: Regardless of the age, whether you do a lot or little sport, whether you work in the office, have a lot or little free time or are expecting a child.

Healthy nutrition for children

The recommendations for healthy eating in children are no different from those for adults. Sure, the portions are smaller, but children also need a lot of fruit, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, bread and rice and lots of water. Animal foods such as meat, fish and dairy products also need them – especially when they are growing. But it is not necessary that they make up the bulk of the diet. The herbal products make up the majority of every plate and meal in a healthy diet for children. Also the snacks at school you can make it healthy and still tasty: for example, top the bread with cheese and also a leaf of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. If you then put a tangerine or a few radishes in the lunch box, your child has already managed 1 serving of vegetables and 1 serving of fruit for that day.

Healthy eating in the workplace

But don’t just think about your children, even as an adult you can have a healthy diet despite all the stress of everyday life and work. A healthy diet in the workplace is one thing above all else: It is quick and easy to eat. You can do that if you choose snacks that are low in fat and provide you with long-term energy: A light tomato sauce with whole wheat pasta, a bulgur salad with fresh tomatoes, spring onions and peppers, for example, are delicious meals that do not burden your body. Even during working hours, you can include a serving of fruit or vegetables for each meal, so that you get the recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Healthy eating during pregnancy

For many women, pregnancy is the impetus to rethink their diet and to eat more healthily for the sake of themselves and the child. A healthy diet during pregnancy hardly differs from that of other women. Pregnant women also need whole grain products, fruit, vegetables and plenty of fluids. Fish, especially fatty sea fish, is also particularly good for you and your child. Pregnant women do not need to eat more than before. Only from the fourth month of pregnancy does the energy requirement increase, but only by around 250 kilocalories – that is roughly equivalent to a slice of bread with cheese. However, for the sake of their child, pregnant women should be more careful with raw animal foods such as raw milk (cheese), sushi, ice cream, carpaccio. In addition, fruits and vegetables should always be thoroughly washed or even peeled under running water.

Healthy nutrition for athletes

The same rules for a healthy diet apply to athletes who do sports in their free time. If you eat enough grain products and plan five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, your body will be well taken care of and also well equipped for recreational sports. To meet your protein requirements, it is sufficient to eat meat, fish or eggs two to three times a week and consume three servings of milk (products) a day. Before exercising, a light meal, which tends to be more carbohydrate and low in fat, is particularly good.

If you don’t want to do without meat and still want to live more sustainably, you can use crowdbutching. We’ll tell you what it’s all about! 

Sustainability through less meat consumption

Meat is a relevant topic in terms of sustainability: a large part of the greenhouse gases generated by agriculture comes from factory farming. In addition, most of the animals that we eat in everyday life are kept in poor conditions. Your meat consumption will be more sustainable and conscious if you use steak and Co. less often and pay attention to good quality.

To assess how “good” the meat on your plate is, you need to know where it came from and how the animals were kept. Unfortunately, you don’t always get this information so easily. The obvious thing to do is to go to a nearby farmer who, in the best case scenario, raises animals according to organic standards. 

»Kaufnekuh« – This is how crowdbutching works

Crowdbutching at Kaufnekuh

The meat from “Kaufnekuh” differs from meat from the supermarket in three main ways: Some chef employees have already had good experiences with “Kaufnekuh”, which is why we explain the principle of sustainable meat bought online using this example. At www.kaufnekuh.de you can find beef since 2015, which you can order according to the crowdbutching principle (in German: group slaughter ). This means that the farmer does not slaughter the cow until all parts of the animal have been sold. This prevents food waste , but also means that you as a customer wait up to four weeks for your meat. But that doesn’t matter, after all, you don’t order two steaks for the next lunch, but larger packets of meat that you can then freeze.

  • Transparency  – When choosing the animal you will find information on the ear number, the farmer, the place of origin and the type of husbandry. So basically you can drive by the smallholder before buying and convince yourself that the cow is being kept according to your requirements. With meat from the supermarket, such information is withheld in most cases. 
  • No waste – the animal is used from tail to tip of the nose. Parts that are not allowed to go on sale (such as bile and udder) are not simply thrown away, but processed into animal feed. 
  • Animal welfare – »Kaufnekuh« attaches importance to the fact that the animals offered have had a good life and are slaughtered as stress-free as possible. The slaughtered cows are between 5 and 8 years old and are kept in semi-open stalls and on pastures. 

In addition to beef, you can now also find other types of meat at the same provider : chicken, pork, lamb (at Easter) and goose (at Christmas). 

Who can afford the meat? 

Cows reared with calm, plenty of exercise and good forage – that sounds expensive, but it isn’t. This is because the intermediary is no longer available. The Classic-Mini-Package, consisting of 3.3 kg of beef, costs just under € 60 . The package includes meat for 13 meals (for two people each ), so you pay € 2.30 per meal . The mini organic package costs you almost € 80 for 3.5 kg of meat (i.e. € 2.49 per meal).

And what’s inside Among other things, steaks, roast beef, minced meat, sausages, goulash, soup meat and sliced ​​meat. The packages are customizable to a limited extent : For example, you can decide whether you want to exchange pot roast for more minced meat. 

Overall, of course, you pay more than for beef from the discounter. But everyone gets their fair share for this and you know exactly where your meat comes from and that the animals had a good life. “Kaufnekuh” recommends eating less but better meat anyway. 

How fresh can the meat I order be? 

You may be wondering how fresh meat ordered online can be – pretty fresh, according to “Kaufnekuh”. After the meat has had two weeks to mature, it is processed, packaged and dispatched after 24 hours at the latest. Usually it is with you the next day. By the way, it arrives well chilled and vacuumed in portions so that you can freeze it straight away. In the freezer, your supply will last up to 12 months. 

Poultry from kaufeinhuhn.de

Our colleagues have ordered chicken from the same supplier. The ordering principle is similar here and satisfaction is high: the meat tastes much better than chicken from the supermarket and arrived super fresh and well chilled. 

As the icing on the cake, every package comes with a list that you can hang on the freezer. All meat portions of the ordered package are listed on it and you can tick off which ones you have already eaten. So you never lose track of what you still have in stock and will soon be able to process into a tasty chef dish. 

Here at Chefkoch you will find a lot of  inspiration for what you can cook delicious with the individual pieces of beef

With just a few ingredients and even less effort, you can conjure up delicious vegan baked goods in no time. We’ll show you what to look out for and provide you with 33 vegan baking recipes for every taste!

These recipes also have some advantages for non-vegans: It’s Sunday and there are no more eggs in the house? Anyway, a vegan recipe will help! Do you want to bake with children who can nibble on the dough without fear of salmonella? A vegan recipe is the solution!

For starters , the best advice for vegan baking is: just stick to recipes that were vegan from the start. You can also convert your favorite recipe to vegan – but this requires a little experience with vegan baking recipes. Because you cannot simply exchange ingredients like milk and eggs 1: 1 for soy milk and egg substitutes.

The following applies to all recipes: do not stir too much! It is often enough to mix the ingredients with a spoon or whisk until everything has just combined. Don’t be surprised if the dough is more liquid than usual – that’s supposed to be the case with many vegan recipes: the liquid content is higher, the fat content is lower.

Replace eggs, milk and honey

If you are a slightly more advanced vegan baker and you still want to prepare your favorite recipe in a vegan version, you can replace animal foods as follows:

Vegan alternative to eggs

Many doughs can be made entirely without eggs: yeast dough, for example. You can also prepare shortcrust pastry and batter without an egg. You may then taste unfamiliar, but it works.

If, however, the egg needs to be replaced, it is worthwhile to see what purpose the egg would have served. Should it bind or should it loosen? Egg substitute in powder form does both – you can find it in every organic market and in many well-stocked supermarkets.

Flaxseeds are also wonderfully suitable for binding : 1.5 tablespoons of finely ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water replace an egg.

Fruit puree  in all variations is suitable for loosening up (for example apple pulp): 1 tablespoon replaces an egg. Since fruit puree is not tasteless, it is not suitable for every baked goods.

The dough is also loosened with pureed silken tofu – 70 g replace an egg.

Vegan alternative to butter

A common alternative is of course  margarine– but look at the list of ingredients, because some varieties are not vegan.

Oil – in many recipes that were thought to be vegan from the outset, oil is used instead of margarine. Vegan cake is so juicy! So don’t be shy if a recipe contains a lot of oil.

Vegan alternative to milk

There are now plenty of plant-based milk alternatives. Soy milk binds best, but it also has a very strong taste of its own. Almond milk is great for cakes that taste in a nutty direction anyway. Oat milk tastes grainy and goes very well with many pastries. You can also use homemade almond milk very well for baking.

Vegan alternative to honey

Honey to replace, is really simple: Actually, any form of liquid sweetness is a recommended alternative: maple syrup rice syrup agave nectar Etc.

The most important thing is of course: Just try it out and enjoy the dough! Have fun baking.

Not everything in our kitchen cupboards is used. It’s one thing with kitchen appliances, I want to be more careful with food. That’s why I feed myself through my supplies for 30 days until there is no longer a guilty conscience. Who wants to join in?

I regularly catch myself pushing opened packs further and further back into the kitchen cupboard, freezer or refrigerator after the week’s shopping, and sorting fresh items within easy reach. It goes on until I don’t want to eat the old stuff anymore. I have to change something about that! I am now doing a 30-day challenge in which what has been opened is cooked into delicious dishes and there are no leftovers.

I don’t know what’s waiting in your closets. For now I can only speak of myself. That’s why I’ll lift the veil once and share with you which foods I urgently need to process and what I would like to cook from them – for 30 days.

Leftover food newsletter

30-day challenge: eat through the supplies

I may not be able to finish my stash of chia seeds , sesame seeds , and grain mixes in my life . I also wonder how I can use up the different types of flour . I can barely keep track of frozen foods such as fruit and vegetables (if I have my own harvest) or fish and meat. But I am also bothered by all the small jars with a small remainder of desiccated coconut , almond flakes , quinoa , risotto rice and  oat flakes . And the biggest monster: grill and burger sauces. Before I have to dispose of any of it, I first have to: feed it through – with recipes from the chef community!

It’s hard to believe, but it is possible to use up barbecue sauces . And that’s what I intend to do before I open a new bottle. My BBQ sauces are used in sauces , dips and marinades . Please also consider how expensive they are sometimes – it is all the more important that the last bit is removed from the bottle!

There are also times when I have so much jam that I could take care of three kindergartens. In the meantime I have a strategy: bake yeast rolls with jam filling and feed the neighbors with them!

In the next 30 days I would also like to get into the habit of using sesame or desiccated coconut as breading . The result is always exceptionally tasty! I can only recommend this to you if you want to empty your pantry too.

If you want to take part, you can expect a lot of great moments: 

1. For example in the sun, because you don’t constantly waste your time in the supermarket.

2. You cook more varied and try out new dishes.

3. You make sure that good food does not go to waste.

4. Suddenly you have more space in the closets.

5. The next time you shop, you can better estimate what you are actually eating .

And what about –  Challenge accepted ? I look forward to every colleague and exchange of experiences!

More and more people are turning to organic food when shopping. However, many find it difficult to classify the innumerable organic labels on products. We give a little introduction to help you keep track of things.

Not all organic labels are the same – different qualities, criteria and labels make it difficult for consumers with the best of intentions to make a decision. Often three different organic seals are emblazoned on a product – who else can look through it? In addition to the well-known state organic seal, there is now also a uniform European organic seal on every pack – not to mention the various brands of discounters and supermarkets . And what is the difference to the seals of  ecological cultivation associations  such as Demeter, Naturland and Bioland? What is the position of labels like Fair Trade and the Blue Angel on the subject of organic products? We clarify!

State organic seals and own brands from supermarkets

The hexagonal organic seal has existed in Germany since 2001 . It guarantees minimum standards in organic farming. 95% of the ingredients used must come from organic farming: Neither chemical-synthetic pesticides, nor nitrogen fertilizers or substances that promote growth may be used. In addition, genetic engineering is taboo and animal welfare is ensured. The EU organic seal has also existed since July 2010 : It stands for the same criteria as the German organic seal, but is valid throughout Europe and must be listed on organic products .

German organic seal
EU organic logo

 

If you pay attention to the EU organic seal when shopping, you are on the safe side that the minimum standards set by the EU have been complied with. You can find more detailed information about these minimum standards on the website of the European Commission .

The organic own brands of the discounters and supermarkets , such as Penny Naturgut, Edeka Bio, Biotrend (Lidl) and BioBio (Netto), adhere to the regulations of the organic seal, but rarely go beyond the ecological requirements in terms of organic quality Minimum requirements. Some own brands such as Naturkind, Rewe Bio and Grünes Land sometimes have additional controls, for example they purchase more products from the stricter cultivation associations. Alnatura, on the other hand, has tougher regulations and is 100% organic.

Organic seals from organic farming associations

The ecological cultivation associations differ from these own brands, all of which go beyond the requirements of the organic seal. The best known are Demeter, Bioland and Naturland. With these, companies have to manufacture 100% organic products and the criteria for animal husbandry, fertilizers and additives are much stricter.

In addition, the associations in agriculture also think more holistically: water consumption, fair trade and animal welfare that goes beyond the minimum requirements are also taken into account. In order to obtain the EU organic label, however, these aspects are not checked and are accordingly often left out. Seals such as Fair Trade and The Blue Angel can therefore provide important additional information on the fairness and environmental compatibility of a product.

Seal of some organic farming associations

 

Our conclusion

The different organic seals indicate how much organic is really in the product. Every organic product must bear the EU organic seal. If you discover this, you can be sure that a product is 95% organic. The vast majority of organic seals or logos from discounters and supermarkets merely confirm that a product complies with EU standards.

Exceptions such as organic products at Alnatura, on the other hand, are 100% organic – just like products on which their Demeter, Bioland or other ecological cultivation associations can be found. So if you want the highest possible organic quality, look out for those seals.

Wild herbs are actually everything a consumer could wish for: they are regional, seasonal, 100% organic and free of charge. Here you can find tips for collecting and suitable recipes

Presumably, humans have always used and enjoyed edible wild herbs  whether as medicinal herbs or as food: in earlier times, chamomile & Co. were worth gold. In the age of industrialization and constantly available food, knowledge of the gifts from the fields and meadows has been somewhat forgotten  but interest in wild herbs and edible flowers such as daisies and dandelions is increasing. Rightly so, as you can see from the delicious and varied recipes

No weeds: wild herbs on the menu

Woodruff , sorrel and dandelion find enthusiastic buyers. Even as children, we made wreaths from daisies  and we didn’t know that the little white flowers can do much more than just be decorative. There are numerous other herbs that are less well known, but no less tasty and healthy: garlic mustard, hogweed and white goosefoot. Wild garlic is now one of the most famous wild herbs and has long since found its way into gourmet cuisine.

If you’ve got a taste for it now and want to search for wild herbs yourself, we’ve put together some information for you. Weeds shouldn’t necessarily end up in your basket.

Collecting wild herbs: what should be considered?

Of course, it’s not that easy and you should already have some prior knowledge. There are now numerous very good books and apps from which you can learn everything about edible wild herbs  and you should too. It is also a good start to take part in a guided wild herb hike: This is how you get to know good meeting places in your region.

The most important thing on your wild herb excursions: only collect what you can safely recognize.

You should use up your finds as quickly as possible, because the fresher and crunchier, the healthier and tastier the edible wild herbs are. What you cannot use should be preserved as quickly as possible: Dry your herbs on low heat in the oven, freeze them, make schnapps or oils out of them.

Overview of wild herbs

The shepherd’s purse in and as a salad

The shepherd’s purse loves full light, it occurs in the same places as the goosefoot family and loves humus and nutrient-rich soils. The plant often overwinters with a rosette of deeply pinnate leaves lying on the ground. As soon as the plant sprouts in spring, the rosette withers. On the stem, which is already branching on the ground and is no more than 30 cm in size, there are narrow, entire-edged leaves, the base of which encompasses the thin stem. The four-petalled, white flowers are very small, but bloom almost all year round. Typical are the heart-shaped fruits that sit with the tip on the stem and gave the plant its name. Its cabbage-like taste is also typical.

The shepherd’s purse is rich in vitamins, trace elements, essential oils, minerals, tannic acid, enzymes and flavonoids. Any part of the plant can be collected practically all year round. The leaves collected in winter and early spring are particularly tasty as a salad.

Wild herbs in the garden: Gundermann 

If you have a piece of fruit tree meadow or a hedge in or around your garden, the Gundermann is certainly also represented. The Gundermann has heart-shaped leaves at the top and more kidney-shaped, stalked leaves at the bottom. As its second name “Gundelrebe” suggests, it is mainly a creeping plant and does not grow taller than 20 cm. The square, finely haired stems are mostly on the ground and drive roots at the nodes. It is persistent and green all year round. Its lip flowers are colored blue-violet. There are always six of you standing together like a whorl and looking in one direction. Flowering time is from March to May.

The Gundermann is small in stature. but very powerful. You can also tell its power from its aroma. The leaves are harvested from April to November, and even over winter. Because of their intense taste, they are particularly suitable as a spice. For salads as well as for soups and sauces. Because of its content of vitamins, minerals and essential oils, it stimulates the appetite and the digestion and is generally good for the metabolism. Its power is also shown in the healing effects: it has a cough-relieving, astringent and slightly diuretic effect. For our ancestors it was one of the most important wound healing agents that also allowed ulcerated wounds to heal.

The red clover: edible meadow

The red clover is a meadow dweller valued by the farmer and is often specially grown. Significantly, it is also called “meadow clover”. In addition to meadows, it is also found at the edge of the forest, in clearings, in bushes and in fields. The red clover is between 20 and 50 cm tall. It has a branched, often not quite upright stem, which is usually hairy and a little reddish in color. A noticeable characteristic is a whitish triangle on the leaves. The flowers are fragrant and have many-flowered, approx. 3 cm long heads. The flowers, which can be seen from May to September, have a purple-red color, less often they are pink to white. Similar to the red clover, the following types can be used: alfalfa, white clover or creeping clover, hop alfalfa, golden clover.

Vitamin C and E, carotene, essential oils and other valuable substances are contained in the plants. Leaves and young flower heads can be collected from April to October and used together with other herbs as salad and vegetables. The red clover is also good for drying or souring. It is particularly rich in protein. A hot infusion of the blooming herb works against coughs.

Chickweed: weeds by the wayside

The chickweed loves moist, light, organic, nitrogen-rich soil. The chickweed often forms pillow-like populations of weeds in fields, but also occurs in debris areas, on river banks, roadsides and in sparse pine forests.

The lying, knotty stalk of the chickweed is sometimes only a few centimeters high; only with a good supply of nutrients and water does it reach a height of up to 40 cm. It has a continuous hairline and opposite, ovate-pointed leaves, the lower stalked, the upper sessile. The mostly terminal flowers appear from February to November, with five small white petals incised to the base. Chickweed can be collected all year round, including under the snow. With young plants, take all the green parts of the plant that taste a bit like nuts, and use them primarily as a salad. Chickweed is also an excellent vegetable when cooked. With older plants, you should limit yourself to the shoot tips. It contains a lot of vitamin C and, above all, three times as much carotene as the carrot. Chickweed has a strengthening and draining effect on the organism and is still used externally against skin infections today. It has an expectorant effect and is therefore a good remedy for coughs, but also for kidney and bladder problems.

White dead nettle: edible wild herbs

The white dead nettle is at home in rubble sites, railway embankments, hedges, on fallow land, sometimes also in fields and meadows. It has an upright, square, nettle-like hairy stem that is 30-50 cm tall. The hair is not stinging hair, but completely harmless. The light green, hairy leaves with serrations on the edge are heart- to egg-shaped and sit opposite each other on short stems. The white flowers are lip-shaped flowers that sit whorled in the leaf axils around the stem. They appear already in April and accompany us into October.

All dead nettles are edible. The whole plant is collected from March to May, longer on mown meadows. It is tender while it is still in bloom. That can go until October. Although it has a distinctive scent when grated, it is mild when prepared and particularly suitable as a soup vegetable and for salad.

Drinking cow’s milk is now frowned upon: for health or ethical reasons or because of climate protection. There has to be an alternative. But are plant-based milk alternatives really better for the climate? Depends on!

If you want or have to do without milk, there are many alternatives. There should be something for every taste, whether rice, oats, soy, almond, pure, with a chocolate or vanilla flavor, the variety is almost overwhelming. But are we really doing something good for the climate if we drink plant-based products instead of cow’s milk?

An overview of the ecological balance of the popular alternatives

Oat milk :Oats are grown in Europe. He is at home here and used to the conditions, so he does not have to be sprayed and does not need excessive water. Another advantage of domestic cultivation: Long transports are no longer necessary. The grain also impresses with its mild taste. Oats also provide fiber and minerals. Some manufacturers enrich the oat milk with calcium and vitamins. Some, however, also contain sugar so that it tastes sweeter.   

Soy drink :Soy is a hotly debated topic. Because soy contains plant-based hormones that could affect the human hormonal balance, and because soy is also grown on a large scale in South America and thus leads to the deforestation of the rainforest and pollutes the soil and groundwater.  

Both are hardly relevant for soy drinks. Soy contains so-called isoflavones, which could also work in the body. However, hardly any soy is consumed in this country, so only very small amounts are consumed. If you want to be sure, you better clarify this with your doctor. The second argument can also be refuted. According to the  Albert Schweizer Foundation  , most of the soybeans for the drink come from Europe. Soy is often grown here in organic quality, so that it is more sustainable cultivation without genetic engineering. In this respect, soy cultivation definitely has a positive balance here.  

Rice drink :A lot of water is needed to grow rice. In addition, methane gases are produced during cultivation and fertilizers pollute the waters. All points that have an unfavorable effect on the climate. Rice milk tastes sweet, but contains hardly any valuable nutrients. 

Almond drink :In terms of taste, the almond milk can definitely score: It tastes mild and slightly nutty. But mostly the almonds come from California and because of the dry climate there they need a lot of water to grow. Then there is also the transport. In terms of environmental balance, the almond milk cannot score. 

Conclusion

For those who do not drink cow’s milk, herbal substitutes are a good taste alternative. But as with many products, it is worth taking a closer look. Take a look at where the raw materials come from and which other ingredients have been added to the milk / drinks. If you are primarily concerned with protecting the climate, oat milk is a good alternative to cow’s milk . Preferably in organic quality with oats from Europe.