Present in the typical Seychellois kitchen, sustainable gastronomy plays a significant role in the creole community not only in Seychelles but also amongst the island nation’s denizens around the world.
Influenced by its diverse heritage, creole cuisine is bursting with a myriad of flavors and the Seychellois are very conscious of where the ingredients are from, how the food is grown and how it gets to markets and eventually onto their tables. Sustainable gastronomy essentially allows us to choose food that is both healthy to the environment and our bodies and the good news is that wherever you are in the world, you too may benefit from it.
Here are a few sustainable practices you can adopt from creole cuisine:
Keep it seasonal – Seychellois households remain conscious of purchasing foods that are in season which leads to sustainable eating; this involves consuming certain food whilst they are abundant, benefiting the environment’s natural production as well as your wallet.
Be flexible – Be ready to adjust your menu depending on what is available. Creole dishes have various alternatives to account for the availability of ingredients; this prevents the disturbance of natural production.
Local is best – Obtain fresh ingredients from your local farms and producers and get to know more about what you put in your body. In the tiny Seychelles community, the islanders build relationships with their local supplier, which allows them to ask questions about the products and even get tips on how to make the most out of them.
Choose sustainable seafood – By getting closer to your supplier you have a better idea of whether or not they have used sustainable methods of fishing. Being a small island nation, most fishermen in the Seychelles Islands use sustainable fishing methods and stay away from mass fishing and most locals have their regular suppliers making it easier to make sustainable choices.
Be aware of your fish and seafood choices – Although a healthier option, some species of fish are over-fished and are reducing in numbers. Before purchasing seafood, educate yourself on their production and their demand on the market. Some species such as lobsters are subject to closed seasons to enable stocks to regenerate. The Seychelles Fishing Authority keeps the public aware of these details, ensuring that the Seychellois do not cause damage to the fragile marine ecosystem.
Buy only what you need – Whenever possible, make frequent trips to the market, accommodate your daily or weekly needs instead of over-purchasing and having to throw away food. With local markets and fresh ingredients available all over the islands, it has become common practice in the Seychellois community to pop by the closest market whenever necessary, making it easy to reduce waste. It is easy to know when fishermen land their catch and fresh fish reaches the market, the sound of the ‘lansiv’ will echo across the district.
Reduce food waste – Despite being natural, food takes a while to decompose, often piling up in landfills, therefore it is essential to reduce waste. Planning meals, reducing oversupply and making full use of scraps can prevent unnecessary food waste and even reduce extra spending.
Make full use of your ingredients – Part of reducing food waste is using as much of your product as possible. Traditionally, Seychellois did not have the luxury of throwing away food; therefore, they made full use of what they could get their hands on, adding spices to create flavoursome dishes.
Into the compost – Anything else that cannot be used can always be considered for compost. In most Seychellois households, you can find a compost bag, which can be used in the garden, filled with food waste from fruit, vegetable, dairy products, rice, beans, eggshells, wheat-based products, plant and flower materials, tea and coffee products. Ask your accommodation manager where their compost heap is and how to dispose of scraps.
Home-grown goodness – You can have fresh ingredients at home, just pop by your local market to buy the necessary supplies and you can have your own little garden where you can control what is added to your fruits and vegetables. Every Seychellois household has at least one tiny garden or even small pots lined up against the window with produce and aromatic herbs within one’s reach, a practice that has not faded to this day.
Ditch plastic and recycle – Avoid using plastic whenever possible and recycle. Gardens all around the islands are filled with recycled materials such as plastic and cans, which now serve as pots for growing local herbs, fruits and vegetables.
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