Don’t Have a Farm in Your Backyard?

Neither do we! We have a small  garden, but it is not big enough to supply us with all of the fruits and vegetables we need. This means we have to get our produce from somewhere, so today we decided to go green and went picking. By picking your own, you know where the fruit or vegetables come from, how the farm deals with pests, and when they were picked. Inspired? Visit pickyourown.org and click on your state or country to get started.

Abby-Picking

How is picking your own different from the supermarket?

  • It’s fresh! You can pick the ripest, tastiest berries and eat them right away.
  • Your food comes to you almost as naturally as it would if you picked in your backyard – just add a drive to the farm.
  • No packaging waste is involved. You can bring your own containers to take your goodies home with you.
  • It is less expensive than the store. Because you are not only cutting out the middle man but a few other guys as well, they can charge less and still make money. Plus, you don’t pay for what you eat in the field!
  • You are supporting a local small business, not an argi-giant. Most pick your owns are small family-owned farms.
  • You can learn while you pick. If you’ve never seen an unripe blueberry or the flowers on a raspberry, you will get your chance. Often the farm will help you find out how to pick ripe produce too.
  • It’s fun! You can’t run around and stuff your face while you shop.

Aris-bucket Dad-picking Abby-Picking-2

Review of Wrap-N-Mat

I have been using the Wrap-N-Mat for three years now. I originally bought these because I wanted an environmentally-friendly alternative wrapper to baggies for sandwiches. A friend recommended these as a green substitute for ziploc bags and I ordered three. At the time, there were only a few fabric choices, so I ended up with three green Wrap-N-Mats.

Wrap-N-Mat

This advertisement for wrap-n-mats shows how they work. Notice the green color – it must have been their original choice! Continue reading “Review of Wrap-N-Mat”

How Local Is Your Salad?

This year I am growing my own vegetables, and tonight I finally got to taste the fruits of my labor.

Local-Salad

Yes, the tiny green tomatoes are ripened, the lettuce and spinach were harvested, and you can even see a few bean sprouts in the bowl! The only thing I didn’t grow myself was the cucumber, which I bought from the produce stand two blocks away.

Local is good, but homegrown tastes even better!

A Naturally Germ-Free Kitchen

How do you balance being eco-friendly and yet still keep your family safe from germs?  You’ve most likely heard about anti-microbial soaps and how some germs have become resistant.  In the kitchen, there is a solution!  In the book Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck, I read about her “dual spray program”.  She keeps two spray bottles handy – one with vinegar and a dark colored one with 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).  The dark bottle is for the hydrogen peroxide, which needs to be kept away from light so it doesn’t break down.

How does it work?

When the hydrogen peroxide is exposed to light, heat, or organic materials it releases its extra oxygen, so that pure water and oxygen are produced.  Micro-organisms find pure oxygen to be exceedingly toxic.  You can actually see the reaction as the hydrogen peroxide bubbles!   In Sandbeck’s book, she states that hydrogen peroxide kills 100x as many bacteria as vinegar, but when used in conjunction 10x more bacteria were killed as the hydrogen peroxide alone. Continue reading “A Naturally Germ-Free Kitchen”

Homegrown Bean Sprouts

Occasionally when I go to the grocery store, I pick up a bag of bean sprouts with the best of intentions. I enjoy eating bean sprouts, but once I get home they go straight in the fridge. The next time I get them out, they have invariably gone bad.  It could be a few hours or days, but I rarely get to eat them.

Besides tasting good, mung beans are a natural source of vitamins A, B, C, and E and minerals including Calcium, Iron, and Potassium. They are high in fiber and are easily digestible. They are very low in calories and make a great snack or an addition to a meal.

A few weeks ago I picked up a bean sprouter from Freecycle, complete with a half bag of mung beans. I brought it home and started some sprouts. They are very easy to grow and taste great fresh. The best part is that if I forget about them, they just keep growing instead of going bad! Continue reading “Homegrown Bean Sprouts”