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- How to properly store these 17 fruit and vegetables for zero waste.
Food water bugs the hell out of me. I was raised in a household of six where there wasn't much spare cash in our early years. And if we didn't eat all of our dinner one night, it would get wrapped and refrigerated for the following night. When I was a kid, I used to hate this. But it's a value that has bled into my adult life and that I cherish the concept of now. Why waste good food? It doesn't just cost the money from your wallet, it cost's the earth for the growing / production / manufacture of whatever is infant of you, and yet we throw it away so easily. Why? Because we know there is an abundance awaiting us at the supermarket. This consumerism conditioning leads us not just to waste food, but to waste money too. What if we only purchased what we needed before foods perished? And what if we stored them properly so they took longer to perish? To do this, it's worth understanding abit about perishable foods. Some fruit and vegetables produce a gas called ethylene. This is naturally occurring and helps produce ripen. And some foods are ethylene sensitive, meaning we have to keep certain fruit and veggies separated or the ethylene sensitive group will ripen waaaaaay too quickly and perish quickly. We also need to consider that some fruits and veggies need different temperatures to others when storing. How to store fruit and vegetables to prevent food waste: In cool, dry places (like the pantry!): Ripe bananas - Banana's ripen faster with heat, and slower with cooler temperatures. So if you want to ripen your bananas store them at room temperature, but then transfer them to a cool, dry area to slow down the ripening until you get chance to eat them! Onions, Garlic, Potato's - If these are exposed to light, they think they are outside and start to sprout! So dark, cool places dramatically slows down this process! Eggs - Eggs don't need to be refrigerated in New Zealand or Australia which is why they aren't found in the chiller section in our supermarkets too! The exception to this is, unless your kitchen is hotter than about 15 degrees Celsius, or, they are cooked and you are saving leftovers. Uncracked eggs are fine in the pantry At room temperature: Avocado's - These are ethylene sensitive. If they haven't ripened yet, store them at room temperature. Once they are ripe pop it in the fridge to slow down the ripening process. Two tips for avo's - 1. to ripen faster put a high ethylene fruit like an apple next to it in a dish on the countertop for a day. 2. when you need to save half an avo, leave the stone in the centre. This prevent oxygen getting to it. Wrapping it in a small beeswax wrap in the fridge helps to stop it spoiling and going brown! Tomato's - Yep that's right. You might be tempted to throw them in the fridge with the rest of your salad stuff, but the fridge will actually make your tomato go grainy or wrinkly! Melon - Putting melon in the fridge can actually dry it out and make it lose some of its juiciness and lose some of its natural antioxidants. Whether it's melon, watermelon or cantaloupe, store it at room temperature. Citrus fruits - these tend to be high ethylene producers, so you'll want to keep them away from fruits that ripen / spoil quickly like bananas and avo's. Putting citrus fruits in the fridge can actually dehydrate them and remove some of their juicy taste. In the fridge: Lets just mention the compartments of a fridge for a sec before we jump into food. Most fridges have been designed, not just for space and convenience, but also with a special feature called a crisper drawer to help keep certain veggies....crisp. This drawer usually has a little vent on it which you can slide open and close. Basically if it's closed it create's more humidity in the drawer. If it's open there's less humidity. Some veggies love humidity and some less so. Knowing which veggies you are storing helps you decide how to use the vent. If in doubt.....leave it half open, half closed. Also don't wash these foods before putting them in the fridge - you'll just end up with soggy food! Wash before use instead. Lettuce - It loves humidity! This is best placed in the crisper drawer, or pre-chopped in a container. I love to keep the full lettuce head in the crisper drawer, but also wrap a tea towel around it to create it's own micro environment for humidity. This means I can also store less-humid-lovin' veggies in the crisper drawer too with the vent still open. Kale - Moisture will make your kale wilt and go soggy. No one wants that. Storing kale in a cotton veggie bag in the crisper drawer will help your kale live for up to 2 weeks! Bok choy - My favourite asian vegetable! Ridiculously versatile.....also ridiculously easy for the leaves to turn brown if not stored correctly. The same as kale, moisture will ruin Bok Choy. Store it uncut in a cotton vegetable bag in the crisper drawer. Mushrooms - If you do use plastic bags....be warned, that's the worst way you could store mushrooms. They produce their own fluid, so putting them in their own little greenhouse plastic bag will make them slimy. These should be kept in a paper bag or cotton bag in the fridge (not the crisper drawer!) to stop them drying out. In the fridge, in water: Celery & asparagus - Store in a glass of water stood up right if you have the space. If not, chop the stalks and place into a container or glass jar, then cover with water to keep them fresh and crunchy. Carrots - Chop this up into long thinnish slices and store in a jar of water to keep it hydrated and crunchy! Did you know, if you have a limp carrot, it's not off, it's just thirsty? Before you throw it away follow the same method mentioned here, leave it for 24 hours in the water filled jar, and you'll be surprised to find a fresh, crunchy carrot brought back to life! Cucumber - Slice into thin sticks (think hummus dipping sized), store in a jar with water and close the lid to make your cucumbers last. Here's four bonus tips to reduce your household food waste: Pre-plan your meals for the week. Buy loose vegetables and fruit and only buy the amount you need. This helps reduce the volume of food wasted and the amount of plastic waste you bring home. If you do end up with extra that you won't use......try making your own pickles, or do a really basic pickle in white vingegar (I love this for left over cabbage!) Our reusable cotton vegetable bags come in a pack of three large bags and work a treat for collecting your shop and storing your food! Are you ready to start making your food last longer?
- Plastic Free July – take the challenge!
As with anything plastic-free and low waste, the key is preparation! That’s why we’re not waiting til July to tell you about this challenge. We’re telling you what it’s about now so you can prepare to take the challenge! Plastic Free July, is literally what it says on the tin! It’s a global challenge that asks you to take part in ditching plastics for the month to help reduce the impact to our lands and seas and be part of the solution to the plastic problem! The movement has inspired over 250 million people in 177 countries to go plastic free, so if you are new to plastic free this is a great month to get helpful content and community support of other people trying to start kicking their plastic habits. You can sign up to the challenge online at www.plasticfreejuly.org where you will receive helpful emails (but not spammed!) about different tips and tricks to reduce your plastic waste, and also content which helps inspire you on some of the basics to removing everyday plastics from your life. We love, love, love this challenge, because it helps you start a healthy habit and gives you a short target of just 31 days to consider everything you would normally purchase in plastic! Better yet, once you get to the end of the 30 days, this new mindset will help you start a long term habit of removing plastics from your life whether it’s going plastic free at work, school, home or in the community. Feeling like you might struggle to ditch every plastic? Don’t worry, we know starting a new habit can be hard. This isn’t about failing in the first week because you need to buy something you find essential which is plastic, and then you can’t complete the rest of the challenge. Instead it’s about asking you to question if there is an alternative, and if there is, purchase that instead…..or try go without! If you do find yourself needing to buy something plastic…..don’t give up…..just keep asking yourself at every purchase……do I really need this or can I go without. Why not try it with a friend for a bit of support? Ask your friend to sign up to the challenge too so you can discuss what works and what you find hard. As always you can reach out to us here at B & Sea via our contact us form or DM us on insta for any plastic-free support and tips too! You can also check out our other blogs for helpful content to help you love a plastic free, low waste and sustainable lifestyle. And if you need any plastic free products, check out our plastic free online eco-store for some awesome plastic free alternatives. Plastic Free July – Be part of the solution.
- 18 easy ways to live a sustainable life
To live a sustainable lifestyle, first you need to have a really good understanding of what it means to live sustainably. Sustainability is a lifestyle. It’s something you should practice everyday by making changes to your everyday habits that help reduce your demand and consumption of earths resources. Choosing to live sustainably in one area of your life is helpful (i.e refilling water bottles), but if you are still practicing unhealthy habits in another (i.e purchasing plastic water bottles from the servo and refilling for a few days) this can counteract your sustainable choices. That’s why it’s described as a lifestyle. It’s about recognising your impact and making conscious decisions in all your life habits and consumer purchases. For people new to living sustainably, don’t worry, this is like any lifestyle change, such as joining the gym, it’s not something you change overnight. Instead it’s about taking small steps everyday to help you form healthy habits, until that healthy habit becomes the new norm for you and it stops being a conscious effort and starts being your go-to sub-conscious choice in ethics. When I first started choosing sustainability. I found it hard at times. I’d fall off the track…..leaving my water bottle or lunch at home and end up purchasing lunch on the go or a drink from the shop which made me feel like I was failing. When in fact, I wasn’t and neither will you. At that point in my life I was habing to learn a new habit and unlearn a lifestyle of convenience. “It doesn’t matter if I leave my lunch at home, I can just buy sushi at lunch”. Along my journey, I decided that if I did forget my lunch or my water bottle, that was my fault for being unprepared and the planet shouldn’t suffer for my lack of preparation. I’d find a local café and ask for a sandwich preparing without the wrapping (yep, straight into my hand…..because that’s all that was going to happen anyway right?!) or drink water from the tap at work or a drinking fountain (because the quality of water from the tap is no different to what I’d buy in a bottle). Recognising alternatives or “how would I survive if I couldn’t buy this” is a huge step towards living a sustainable life. But it doesn’t stop at forgetting your lunch……there are sooooooo many ways to live a sustainable life to create an all-rounded wellness for you and the planet. Here are our top tips to live a sustainable lifestyle: 1. Always be prepared – Preparing for the day / week ahead allows you to foresee what lifestyle habits you’ll need to break in the upcoming time ahead and not get caught short or having to rely on unsustainable purchases 2. Bag Life – Take a spare bag with you EVERYWHERE! Just incase you do need to purchase something. I usually have my backpack with my at all times so I’m never caught short! Also remember to take your own bags for your food shopping. 3. Plastic free veggies - If you do need to purchase from the supermarket, only purchase foods not wrapped in plastic. Purchasing unwrapped fruit and veggies is usually a sign of local produce meaning you’re supporting local farmers (stickers will usually tell you if it’s not local) but also…..since when and why do cucumbers need sheathing?! 4. Buy at bulk food shops – Taking your own containers and refilling from farmers markets and bulk food shops helps you remove a HUGE amount of packaging waste from your life. You can also save money purchasing food this way vs the supermarket! Buying in bulk also helps you stock your pantry with a selection of staples…..which leads to our next point…… 5. Cook your own food – Ditch the lunches-to-go and takeaways. Not only will the help you lead a healthier diet and save you money, but you’ll also ditch any extra packaging that it comes wrapped in (and dare we say it the plastic!). now we know everyone likes a tasty treat every so often – google fake-aways to curb those cravings for takeaways! 6. Layer up – Having your house warm is a luxury…..but we warm our houses up so we can walk around in less clothes. How counterintuitive! The uneccessary energy usage contributes towards climate change and higher utility bills. The solution….wear a sweater or a couple of extra layers (hello thermals!), get a couple of blankets and throws for your house too so every room is snuggly! 7. Switch it off – Make sure you turn off lights and electrics if you are leaving a room. This includes turning items off completely, leaving them on stand-by still uses energy. Go super sustainable and switch items off at the plug when they aren’t in use. Learn to adore natural light, open the blinds fully before reverting to switching on a light. 8. Ditch the plastic – And any other unsustainable product for that matter. Even plastic which can be recycled is still not worth buying (check out this blog post to find out why). If you need to purchase something, consider is there a plastic free option. Choosing to go plastic free is a great step forward to a sustainable life. 9. Low waste life – Try to reduce the waste in your house. Where possible, buy items unpackaged. Get a compost bin. Reduce how much you send to landfill or plastic recycling centers. Reuse what you can, reduce your consumption of uneccessary items, repurpose items when you no longer have use, resell if possible and when there’s no other option…..recycle it. 10. Consider your transport – Fall in love with that old bike in your shed again, or purchase a second hand one. This helps reduce the emissions from cars and completely removes the need for petrol/ diesel saving you money and saving the earth. If public transport or car-sharing/ car-pooling is an option, take it up, and if you do need a car….make sure it’s got a great energy rating and low emissions…..or even consider an electric or hybrid! 11. Say no to fast fashion – If you can buy it at the high street retailer for $10, how much do you think the living wage or working conditions are for the person who made it? Fast-fashion is the need to consume unethically made items and keep up to date with the latest season…..instead check out second hand shops like Recycle Boutique and purchase quality items second hand, whilst they might not all be from ethical brands, purchasing second hand helps drive down the consumer demand for new fast fashion manufacture. 12. Love slow-fashion – Sure ethical clothing brands may seem more expensive….why? Because they are made to a higher quality, designed to last longer, and provide more ethical and sustainable materials, pay rates and environments for workers. Skip the latest full wardrobe of fast fashion, and replace with a few items from ethical brands which will still be in season…..every season. 13. Upcycle – Whether it’s a piece of furniture you were going to throw out or an old pair of jeans, learn some new skills to have a bit of fun with! Paint that old set of drawers that didn’t fit your new décor and give it a new quirky look. Or learn some basic sewing skills such as “visible mending” to upcycle those worn out jeans. 14. Go paperless – Notify and sign up to paper statements with your bank and utility companies. Regardless if it’s on your computer or coming through your door, it will still have the same info….the difference…..less trees cut down or print production needed to tell you the same info. 15. Say no to receipts – If you can get it emailed instead of printed, do so. If the cashier asks you if you need a receipt, tell them no. Not only does printing receipts have the same tree + print issue as the point above, but receipts also contain hidden plastics in the film of them – they aren’t just paper! 16. Indoor plants – Use indoor plants to help clean the air in your house. They are also a great way for you to consciously learn about impacts to plants eco-systems and what happens when we don’t look after them…..and helps you appreciate the larger ecosystem we call earth. 17. Sustainable beauty – Try replacing your plastic container beauty routine by making some of your own or choosing reusable products, or purchasing from refillable and ethical brands such as Zao. Use shampoo, conditioner and soap bars to ditch the plastic bottles and support local artisans. 18. Love the outdoors – Some once said to me there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. How true right! Regardless of the weather, get yourself outside, bathe in the sun, jump in the puddles, enjoy every element earth has for us!
- Plastic Free | B and Sea | New Zealand
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