Posts Tagged ‘container’
by Colleen Doyle
Homemade oat milk’s a wonderful solution to a packaging problem. Store-bought oat milk (and many other boxed liquids) come in a drink cartons comprised of 75% paper, 20% plastic, and 5% aluminium foil. There’s usually a plastic pour spout on the top of the carton. Making your own cuts down on packaging waste – and is also far more economical.
A quart of organic oat milk from the store will usually cost around 3 to 4 dollars. The oat groats I bought in bulk only cost $1.69/lb. Oat milk’s smooth and creamy. Many agree that of all the milk substitutes, oat
milk in most similar to dairy in texture. Cooked oat milk tastes nutty; raw oat milk has a slightly grassier flavor. Both are easy to make!
0.25 cup raw organic oat groats
4 cups water
0.25 tsp of sea salt
Directions: Cooked oat milk
1. Soak the oat groats in a bowl of water for about 8 hours. Rinse the oats and discard the soaking water.
2. Place the oats, salt, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let the oats cool completely.
3. Blend the cooked oats with the 3 cups of water until very smooth (I used my immersion blender and added the water directly to the saucepan—which meant less dishes to wash afterwards!).
4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container. You can reserved the solids to use in a baking recipe (I simply warmed mine up with a little water and ate them as a porridge the next morning).
You can also make raw oat milk:
1. Leave the soaked and rinsed oats in a colander in a cool spot for 12-24 hours to initiate the sprouting process. Then blend the oats with the 0.25 tsp of salt and 4 cups of water until very smooth. Let the blended oats sit for 1 hour before straining.
2. The oat milk will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Use it as a cooking base, pour it over cereal, or drink it straight. I sweeten mine with a little honey and freshly ground cinnamon!
(image: Colleen Doyle, No Trash Project)
Brian’s an Austin native with a passion for intelligent city design and sustainability. When he’s not busy helping in.gredients get off the launchpad, he loves cycling, drawing maps, and great conversations!
I walked into my co-working space yesterday with a sack lunch – that is, a reusable bag filled with a ceramic plate, a cutting board, a fork and knife, and three glass containers full of leftovers. I didn’t bring my espresso machine. If it fit in the bag, though, I would have…
Some insist there’s a level of social appropriateness I may not be reaching by carting half my kitchen into a small workspace every day. The important thing, I contend, is that I’m not wasting anything – no paper bags, no packets of black pepper, no foil, no plastic cutlery, no nothing. All it took was a little change in thinking.
When the Brothers Lane and I began planning in.gredients over a year ago, we knew we’d be challenging norms and proposing changes in behavior even we’ve had to spend time adjusting to. For example, in the past year my wife and I have switched to hankies and cleaning rags in our house – eliminating tissues and paper towels in order to cut down on household waste. For the first few weeks, it wasn’t easy! I remember having guests over to the house and thinking “wait… we’ll have to give special instructions about where to put used hankies,” and later spilling something (I always do) in the kitchen and instinctively looking for the paper towels.
In terms of packaging waste, up until recently we’ve had the “ignorance is(was) bliss” experience. After becoming aware of the facts about how much packaging is wasted in the US – and how much of it’s actually unnecessary for product quality and safety – we could no longer walk into a store without thinking “there’s packaging… everywhere… just imagine the… oh my…” We’ve discovered the simple brilliance of reusing containers at the store – and how much needless consumption it saves. Sure, packaging that’s not necessary for product integrity can be convenient for customers for the purpose of portability and portion size, and can also serve rightfully as marketing space for the manufacturer – but at what (and whose) cost?
This was our eventual epiphany: a majority of the waste we generate makes our lives really, really convenient. Putting individual bags of chips that may or may not be recyclable in kids’ lunch boxes makes getting out the door in the morning a whole lot easier. And grabbing a paper towel, wiping, and tossing makes cleaning a breeze! But we realized that as great as these things are, we were making our lives easier at the expense of the environment. And when we thought further, that expense was actually billed to us in two ways: (1) in taxes, since the more waste we generate, the more our local government has to tax its citizens for waste management services, and (2) as a negative health impact, since we can’t get away with storing mass waste on the earth without it impacting the air we breathe, the soil our food grows in, or the water that sustains life.
In short, we realized we can’t just think about us. We’ve got to think about the collective health and prosperity of our community. The studies done on consumer waste are overwhelmingly clear: as a society, we have a waste problem, and it’s got to stop. I’m excited in.gredients can take this on as a business and not only make it easier for folks like us to avoid excess waste and make changes to our lifestyles… but to show other businesses that minimizing waste as a retailer is completely possible, and educate the public on how easy it can be to live sustainably.
That’s in.gredients to me.
Terrariums are making a serious come back in the home decor world – and we’re not going to lie, we’re pretty excited about that! Not only are these mini-ecosystems really cool to look at with all their tiny plants and stones, but they provide another great opportunity to re-commission an old container.
Terrarium Man is an awesome site with a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started making your own terrariums. And if you get bit by the proverbial “terrarium bug,” they have tips for advanced tricks, like building a terrarium in a narrow-neck container such as a wine bottle (tricky, but do-able with the right tools and patience).
Glass juice jugs, fish bowls, old kettles or tea pots, beakers, even light bulbs of all things, can make really neat looking terrariums. Don’t have anything around the house? Take a trip to the thrift store and you’re bound to find an interesting glass vase or container of some sort to re-appropriate. Keep your eye out for miniature trinkets and tchotchkes, too. These can give your “eco-scene” some charm and add a narrative or theme. Have fun!
With only five ingredients, there’s just no reason to go out and buy chocolate syrup. Amazingly easy to make, you can have it on ice cream, drizzle over fresh fruit, or swirl a teaspoon or two in milk for a chocolaty drink! Totally easy to store in a reusable container, and keeps well in the fridge too.
(image: The Foodie Housewife)
If you live in an apartment or other highly urban setting, chances are composting might seem tricky or impossible. Lack of outdoor space may prevent you from being able to have a compost pile, and composting indoors might not seem like the most intuitive process. Fear not! It’s indeed totally feasible to save those scraps from the landfill by composting indoors, even in a small setting. Outlined below are two ways to have an indoor compost without odor or mess:
Counter-top (or under sink) Composting
Counter-top composting can be done by putting leftover kitchen scraps, newspaper, coffee grounds, and other organic material in a container that lives on the counter or under the sink. On average, whatever you put in should break down in about 45 days. Keep in mind, with this method, you shouldn’t add things like dairy, meat, or cooked food. The compost doesn’t get hot enough to fully break them down. For more information on what to add to your compost and how to manage it, check out Apartment Composting Tips.
For this method the container you pick is crucial. You’ll want a container that’s not too big (think about how much kitchen scraps you will actually accumulate – it’s usually not that much) to keep things manageable. Also, as composting’s an aerobic process (meaning it requires air), the container needs to be ventilated. And finally, to minimize odors, a carbon filter is quite nice for indoor composting systems. Not to discourage DIY’ers in any way, but for these reasons, buying a container designed for composting may be a better way to go versus just using an old container of some sort. Check out some of the kitchen composters available through Amazon – many of these look like great options, and start at about $20.
Alternatively, there’s the Japanese method of anaerobic (air-free) composting that requires an air-tight container and a starter culture of Effective Micro-organisms (EM), and wheat bran. Using this method, you can add almost anything to your compost, including dairy, meat, bones, avocado peels, and other notoriously hard-to-break-down stuff. The reason for this: the EM/bran mixture jump starts the anaerobic fermentation process, which is quicker and heartier than aerobic decomposition. Learn more about this from Bokashi Composting.
Bokashi composting has many advantages. When done properly it’s odorless, quick, and tidy, making it ideal for an indoor environment. Not to mention, you can really reduce the quantity of outgoing garbage you have since you can put practically anything from your kitchen into the system.
Things to consider with this method, though, include that you pretty much have to buy a specially designed “system” (also available on Amazon) in order to do it since the container needs to be air-tight, and drainable. You’ll also need to purchase the EM/bran mixture on a regular basis, or otherwise find out how to make it yourself, because you have to add it in continuously to keep things breaking down.
Ultimately, whichever method you choose (and these aren’t the only ones!) will have you on your way to reducing waste and improving soils. So go forth and compost!
(image: That Bloomin’ Garden)
In the age of single-use, disposable containers, the popcorn bag may be a prime example of something we’ve become so used to that we’ve forgotten it’s not even necessary. Here’s a throwback: stove-top popcorn! Ever tried it? It is practically as quick as the microwave variety, and has the great advantage that you can flavor it however you want.
To make your own stove-top (bag-free!) popcorn, you’ll need a large pan (at least 3 quarts) with a lid, canola, vegetable or olive oil, and anything else that you think would be delicious on popcorn. Cooking On the Side has a great page with several recipes that can help get you started. From classic plain popcorn, to caramel corn and kettle corn, they’ll walk you through exactly how to do it. Happy poppin’!
(image: Many Software)
Tired of dropping money on so many cleaning products? Make your own! Tsh Oxenreider, of SimpleMom, does a great job of explaining how easy (and *healthy*) it is to make your own non-toxic cleaners on her blog and in her latest book.
Tsh notes the following benefits of do-it-yourself cleaners:
1. Non-toxic cleaners are perfectly safe around children.
2. Non-toxic cleaners keep the air you breathe clean.
3. Non-toxic cleaners are much, much cheaper.
4. Non-toxic cleaners don’t harm the environment.
We add these benefits to the list:
5. Making your own cleaners reduces packaging waste (if you’re reusing your bottles).
6. Making multi-purpose cleaners saves space in your home, since separate cleaners aren’t always necessary for every household cleaning task.
Check out Tsh’s recipe here, on her blog. We’ll offer each of the simple ingredients in our store, package-free.