stop wasting food store food longer - photo courtesy of USDA - reducing food waste, saving money.

How to stop wasting food and start saving money!

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Sustainability, Thrifty

How to stop wasting food

Stop wasting food store food longer - photo by USDA Flickr

Stop wasting food and start saving money!  – (photo by USDA Flickr)

There are lots of things that we can do to stop wasting food.

By looking at the way that we buy, store and use ingredients, we can reduce food waste and save money!

Plan before you shop

Before you shop, take a look in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. Do you really know what you have already?

A lot of the time we go into autopilot mode when shopping, we pick up the ingredients and items that we know we eat regularly. By shopping this way, we may accidentally buy something that we already have at home. This is fine for food with a long shelf life, such as tinned food, but may otherwise lead to waste.

Knowing what you already have to use up at home is a great starting point! See what needs to be used up in your fridge and freezer and plan your meals around that.

Meal planning

Knowing what you already have to use up, you could create a meal plan for the week. Using up your leftovers and short date food first. Buying additional ingredients for later in the week. This way you will make the most of your leftovers and only buy only what you need.

Make a shopping list

Shopping list, make a shopping list to save money and stop wasting food, thrifty and sustainable

Make and stick to a shopping list to save money

Making a list (and sticking to it!) can really help you to save money and reduce food waste.

Shops are very clever at making their displays deliciously enticing, leading you to impulse-buy food that you might not have intended to buy. These displays are often at the till, on the ends of aisles, or at eye height throughout the shop. Being able to stick to a shopping list can help you to avoid impulse buying.

A carefully thought out shopping list can also help you to stop stocking up on food that you already have at home. How many tins of beans and tomatoes do you really need!

Shopping

As you start to think about what you actually need, rather than shopping on auto pilot, you can stop wasting food and start saving money.

It’s never a great idea to go shopping when you are hungry as you are more likely to be swayed by the impulse buys that the shops have displayed. You are also more likely to opt for snacks and treats that you may otherwise have avoided.

Shops try to encourage you to buy more than you might need with special offers and multi-buys. If you genuinely need and will use the items, this can save you money. If you will not get to use all of the items before the date runs out, can you freeze them? If not, you will have wasted money and food, so it is worth thinking twice before loading up your trolley with these offers. Of course you could go shopping with a friend and share the multi-buy offers between you and save money that way.

When buying fresh food, unless you will be eating it that day, ensure that the ‘best before’ date or ‘use by’ date has enough time left for your needs. Is it suitable for home freezing in case you run out of time to use it?  Do you need to buy all of your fresh food today or can you space out shops to stop wasting food?

Cooking and leftovers

pizza leftovers stop wasting food store food longer thrifty save money sustainability

Pop leftover dinner in the fridge – tomorrow’s lunch sorted

Thinking about portion size can help to reduce leftovers.

Do you often make too much? If you make the same portion size as usual, do you have leftovers? Can you reduce the portion size that you cook, so that there is less leftover? Could you save money by cooking a batch of food and freezing the leftover portions for later use?

If you have leftovers, you can ensure they are not wasted by storing them correctly and labeling them with the date and heating instructions for future reference.

How to store food for longer

Taking a look at how we store the food that we buy, can make a real difference.

Make sure that you take a look at the ‘best before’ or ‘use before’ dates on each item and use the ones with the shortest shelf life first. If you will not be able to use an item before the date runs out, can it be frozen? Can you give it to someone who can use it, such as a neighbour, family member or colleague?

Changing the way that we store some foods can make a big difference to how long it will last and will help us, overall, to stop wasting food.

Fridge / Freezer Temperature

Ensure that your fridge and freezer are set at the optimum temperature. You can take a look in the user manual, or find an online version of the manual if you don’t have one. If you can’t find your specific manual, keep your refrigerator temperature at or below 40° F (4° C). Your freezer temperature should be 0° F (-18° C).  These temperatures will ensure that your food is stored safely and will avoid food spoiling.

Freezing leftovers

When you freeze leftovers or surplus food, ensure that it’s stored in an airtight container, or in a sealed freezer bag with the air squeezed out. Label the container with the date it is frozen and with what the contents are.

Try to use frozen food with fresh ingredients, such as dairy or fish, within a month. Most other foods will keep from 3-6 months before they are past their best. Keep an eye on the dates that you have labelled your frozen food with, what do you need to use up soon?

Getting into the habit of checking which food needs to be used up first, will really help you to stop wasting food and start saving money!

Leftover foods that freeze well

* Soup * stews * curries * baby food * fruit purees * rice * double cream * cheese * mashed potatoes * mashed root veg * un-iced cakes * nuts * a plastic bottle of milk (handy) * egg yolks and whites * raw dough for pastry/bread/biscuits etc * breadcrumbs * ground coffee beans * grated cheese * sliced bread (can go straight to toaster) * whole sandwiches (with no salad) * orange juice * herbs * whole chillies * fresh pasta * raw fish * raw meat * left over stock *

If freezing raw meat such as sausages, split into portions first so that you don’t have to defrost more than you need. Ensure that you defrost frozen meat thoroughly before cooking and then do not refreeze it.

Potatoes and root veg

  • If you have a lot of potatoes, carrots or parsnips that you will not be able to use before they run out of date.. Cook them, mash them, store in an air-tight container and freeze them! Add a ‘made on’ date to the container and use it within 3 months. Great for serving at a later date with your roast dinner
  • If you have lots of potatoes to use up, par-boil them, toss them in oil, then freeze in an air-tight container or sealed bag – ready for your roasting tray at a later date

Freezing fresh fruit and veg

frozen food, freezer food, freezing vegetables, frozen vegetables in containers, how to freeze fresh vegetables, fresh vegetables store

Freeze your excess vegetables – thrifty!

Fruit – space out slices of fruit or whole berries over a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then put in a sealed bag, or container, in your freezer.

Vegetables –  boil evenly sized pieces briefly, then cool quickly in iced water, then drain, space out the pieces of veg over a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then put in a sealed bag, or container, in your freezer.

Raw meat and fish

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and fish refrigerated. They should be stored separately from other foods so that they don’t contaminate them. Many fridges have a meat compartment in the bottom of the fridge or you can store uncooked meat and seafood on the lowest rack in your fridge to prevent their juices from leaking onto the other foods
  • Removing raw meat from its original packaging and re-wrapping in foil, can extend its shelf-life in the fridge
  • Wrapped raw fish can last a little longer in your fridge if you store it on a layer of ice cubes in a bowl (adding fresh ice when necessary)

Dairy products

  • Milk, cream, yogurt, and other dairy products are best stored on the upper shelves of your fridge. The temperature there is the most constant, so they’ll keep longer
  • Keeping milk in your fridge door, whilst convenient, is not the best place for it. The door area is warmer, so your milk will go off more quickly there
  • Mayonnaise will last longer in the fridge door as it is less likely to separate and can last much longer this way
  • Your cheese should be kept wrapped in its original packaging if possible, this will keep it from going mouldy. If this is not possible, wipe excess oil from each face of the cheese, then wrap in waxed paper or parchment paper, to keep it from drying out

Cheese can absorb the flavours and chemicals from plastic wrap, so it’s best to avoid that.

  • Eggs should be kept in a cool dark place, preferably in your fridge. Keep on one of the shelves, rather than in the door of your fridge, and keep separately from other foods. Keeping them in their box is ideal or in an egg tray

Fruit

avocado, keep avocados fresh with lemon juice or oil, stop wasting food, store food for longer, thrifty save money

Keep half an avocado fresh – brush with lemon juice or oil

Some fruits give off a gas that can speed up the ripening of surrounding fruits. These fruits should be kept separate from other fruits and should also be kept out of the fridge. Knowing which fruits give off this ripening gas can really help you to stop wasting food.

Gas releasers: avocados, bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes.

  • Citrus fruit and melons are also best kept out of your fridge. Once citrus fruit is cut, it can however be wrapped and refrigerated to prevent it from drying out
  • Most other fruits will last longer if they are kept in the fridge. Leave some fruits out to ripen, but once ripe, store in your fridge
  • Don’t store fresh fruits and vegetables in their own airtight bags or containers, as this can speed up decay
  • Leftover slices of fresh fruit can be kept a little longer in the fridge if you sprinkle lemon juice over them, this will prevent browning and help to preserve the fruit. Similarly you can brush a left over half of an avocado in lemon juice or oil and wrap in foil to keep it from browning, do not refrigerate it
  • Keep these ethylene-producing fruits away from your vegetables in the fridge: apples, stone fruits, mangoes, passion fruit, pears, and kiwis

Do not wash your fruit until you are ready to eat it, as the excess water can speed up decay.

Vegetables

mushrooms, storing mushrooms paper bag mushroom keep fresh thrifty

Keep mushrooms fresh for longer in a paper bag

Most veg can be kept fresher for longer, if you keep them in the fridge. Remove any traces of mould from your veg to prevent it spreading. Do not wash your vegetables before placing in the fridge, as excess water can speed decay.

  • Potatoes and root veg are best kept in a cool dark place rather than the fridge, this will help them to last much longer. If the potatoes have little sprouts, they have not gone bad, simply rub the sprouts off. Your potato will still be fantastic
  • Onions, garlic and shallots should be kept in a cool, dark place, in a paper bag, rather than your fridge. In the fridge, they will lose much of their flavour and not last as long
  • If you have a bag or container of salad, add a sheet of kitchen towel to absorb moisture, this will help your salad to keep crisp and fresh for longer
  • If you have left over celery, wrapping it in foil can help it to stay crisp and fresh for longer
  • Asparagus can be kept for longer if you trim the end off the stems and place upright in a glass with water in the bottom, cover loosely with a plastic bag, keep on your counter rather than in your fridge. This will keep them fresh and crisp for a week
  • Store-bought mushrooms are best kept in their original packaging in the fridge and wrapped with cling film once opened. If you have loose or wild mushrooms, they last longer if kept in a paper bag in the fridge

Herbs

keep herbs fresh for longer, corriander, herb store, stop wasting food, store food longer, thrifty, sustainability, save money

Keep herbs fresh for longer in a glass of water

Here is a tip for keeping your leafy herbs, such as basil, parsley and coriander, fresher for longer.. Remove the packaging, trim a small amount off the end of each stem, place them in a glass of water on the counter, much like a bunch of flowers. Cover the herbs loosely, with a plastic bag. This will ensure that your herbs stay fresh for at least a week, rather than go slimy after a couple of days in the fridge.

Bread
Help your fresh bread to last longer, by storing it at room temperature, in an airtight container or a paper bag. You could also wrap it in a clean tea towel. Do not store it in your fridge, keep it on the counter. You can also revive almost-stale bread that is on its last day, by warming in your oven.

Nuts

Storing nuts at room temperature, in air-tight containers, will preserve their natural moisture and help them to last longer. Ideally, you should store them in their own shells.

Other

You will find that refrigerating your soy sauce, can help it to maintain its flavour and last for up to two years.

There are lots of other fantastic food storage tips out there. Search the internet for terms like: clever food storage, food storage hacks, storing food for longer, make food last longer, stop wasting food, storing food correctly etc.. Or feel free to post your own tips and tricks in the comments section below.

 

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chutney recipe jars of caramelised red onion and chilli chutney homemade gift idea

Make it: Caramelised red onion & chilli chutney

Making & DIY, Thrifty

Caramelised red onion and chilli chutney is a great recipe to make this autumn. Once the chutney is sealed in the jars, it will have time to mature to be extra delicious just in time for Christmas.chutney recipe jars of caramelised red onion and chilli chutney homemade gift idea

Getting into a thrifty mindset, it is a great idea to make and prepare DIY Gifts all year round. Have a little stockpile of beautifully-made, special presents, ready to give to your loved ones, family and friends. Making your own gifts can also save you a small fortune at Christmas. It’s easy to believe that the more you spend on a present, the more the recipient will feel loved. The truth is, the more thought and time you put into a present, the more the recipient will KNOW they are loved.

With this gift idea you can put even more thought into the design by personalising and decorating the labels that you stick on each jar.

You will need:

First off you will need clean, sterilised, glass jars with lids. You can shop around kitchen stores or supermarkets during the sales to find cheap, empty jam and preserve jars. You could save even more money by recycling your empty jam and chutney jars.

To recycle your own jars, ensure you wash each jar and lid thoroughly. Then, when you have a good stash, sterilise in bulk, all the jars and lids using sterilising solution. You can buy a pot of sterilising powder for under £2 which will make a few batches of sterilising solution. Available from anywhere that sells home-brewing equipment, or on Amazon – VWP Cleanser and sterilser – 100g

 

Caramelised red onion & chilli chutney recipe:

(this makes about 3 jars so just double up if you’d like to make more)

Ingredients

10/11 red onions (peeled)chutney recipe caramelised red onion chilli chutney homemade gift
1 red chilli  (de-seeded) or 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
3 bay leaves
25ml olive oil
350g dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
100ml balsamic vinegar
100ml red wine vinegar
2tsp ground ginger
A good sprinkle of salt and pepper

Method
  1. Cut onions and chilli into short strips and place into a large, heavy-based saucepan with the olive oil and bay leaves. Cook on a low heat for 20 mins, stirring occasionally until the onions are darker.
  2. Next, stir in the sugar, both vinegars, ginger, salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on a medium-high heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick, dark and sticky. You can check if the chutney is ready by taking half a teaspoon of the mixture and popping it in the fridge for 5 mins to see if it is thicker when cool.
  4. Once ready, remove saucepan from heat and take out the bay leaves.
  5. Spoon the chutney, whilst still a little warm, into the sterilised jars. At this stage you can add a piece of cling film over the top of the chutney if you like, to help it to keep for longer.
  6. Finally, seal the jars tightly with their lids and add your own labels. The chutney will mature and the flavours will deepen if you can leave it sealed in the jar for a month or two before opening and enjoying.

You can leave the chutney, sealed in its jar, for a year or two in a cool dark store cupboard – it will still be safe to eat. Once opened, keep refrigerated and the chutney will be fine to eat for a good few months… if it lasts that long!

How to thicken runny chutney

Making chutney is not an exact science and sometimes it can take ages to thicken. The runnyness is due to how much liquid is in the onions that you used and there is nothing you can do other than wait it out.

As you simmer your mixture, the liquid evaporating is what makes the chutney thicker, so keep it simmering and eventually it will thicken.

If you would like to speed up the process, transfer your mixture to a couple of wide-based pans – an increased surface area of the mixture will allow for more evaporation.

Decorating your jars of yummy chutney

There are lots of ways to make the label that you put on your chutney special…

  • You could personalise each jar by writing the name of the recipient
  • You could draw a picture of the ingredients on the label
  • You could write serving suggestions, such as: Great with Sausages, Cheese and in Christmas Sandwiches!
  • You could add the date that the chutney was made
  • You could add 3D embellishing paste to the jars as in this previous article: Make it: DIY gift ideas – 3D embellished glass jars
  • You could add stickers, glitter, whatever… get creative!
If you’re a complete chutney nut, you can, of course, keep the whole batch for yourself and scoff the lot! Enjoy!

 

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Repair Cafe by Ilvy Njiokiktjien Creative Commons-CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=24316530

What is a Repair Cafe? – Sustainable skills

Free, Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty

What is a Repair Cafe?

A repair cafe is a free meeting place, where people can bring along broken possessions to be fixed by a group of local volunteers. The volunteers have experience in repairing all kinds of items from furniture, clothes and bikes to electrical goods.

Repair Cafe by Ilvy Njiokiktjien - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Regeneration Cafe sustainable skills fixing DIY mending Repairing

Learning how to repair brings communities together

Repair cafes encourage communities to reduce waste and save money by maintaining and repairing, rather than throwing stuff away and buying new.

Many repair cafe initiatives also encourage visitors to work side-by-side with the volunteers to learn how to repair their own possessions. The idea being that the visitor can fix it themselves next time and teach others to do the same, passing on the knowledge and the learning of basic repair jobs.

Repair cafes have lots of useful tools and materials provided and, as well as encouraging a sustainable and thrifty perspective, it is a great way for  communities to get together, over a cuppa, and strengthen bonds.

Why repair?

Lots of items are thrown away needlessly every day, these items are often easily repaired. Sometimes people don’t realise that the item could be repaired, or it may be that the knowledge of how to repair the item has been lost.

By RaMa2016 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46595423 Repair Cafe Repairing sustainable thrifty

Save money – repair rather than replace

Learning how to repair an item yourself is not only a great way to save money and help the environment, but you also gain a real sense of achievement and self-esteem, as you apply a newly learned practical skill to fix your item.

When things are used for longer and are not thrown away, it reduces the amount of raw materials and resources needed to make new items. For example, harmful CO2 emissions are reduced and the energy that it would take to create, transport and sell a new product is saved.

As well as resident repair experts, lots of repair cafes also have books and leaflets available, which detail DIY repairs and tips.

 

A Repair Cafe in Cheltenham

This post has been inspired by the Regeneration Cafe which launches in Cheltenham on Saturday 7th March. Vision 21, University of Gloucestershire Product Design staff and students and the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Team are launching a monthly repair cafe in Cheltenham.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, why not pop along to support this fantastic initiative. Do you have something that needs fixing? Do you have skills or repair knowledge that might come in handy? Want to learn more about the project? Why not pop in, all are most welcome.

Launch Event:

The Regeneration Cafe – Saturday 7th May 2016 – 10am – 12.30pm
St Andrews URC, Montpellier Street, Cheltenham GL50 1SP.

For further details about this launch event: https://www.facebook.com/events/972253176162377/

 

Why not get in touch with your local council, or search on Google, to see if there is a repair cafe near you. If there isn’t one… you could start one!

Do you have details of your local repair cafe? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below

 

 

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Wild Garlic ramsons forage forager foraging free food in the wild uk sustainability thrifty

Foraging in April – Free food in the wild – UK

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Wild Garlic ramsons forage forager foraging free food in the wild uk sustainability thrifty

Wild Garlic leaves (Ramsons) – identify by breaking a leaf for a distinctive garlicy smell

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in April in the UK. As the weather gets warmer, there is plenty to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in April!

Bistort    Carragheen    Cleavers   Cow Parsley    Dandelion Flowers & Root    Fairy-ring Champignon    Gorse Flowers    Hawthorne leaves   Hop Shoots    Laver   Mallow leaves    Morel    Nettle    Primrose     Prunella   Rosemary   Sea Beet    St George’s Mushroom   Sweet Violet    Tansy leaves   Wild Garlic   Yarrow

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

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upcycle upcycling reuse repurpose reusing repurposing recycle recycling sustainability slideshow presentation

Upcycle, reuse & repurpose – Inspirational ideas

Making & DIY, Sustainability

Upcycle, reuse and repurpose unwanted items. Make the most of your rubbish and maybe even make something beautiful.

Take a look at these weird and wonderful ideas. Hopefully they will inspire you and help you to look at your rubbish in a whole new light.

Just click through each slide using the yellow boxes at the bottom of the pictures, or by clicking on the actual pictures. Enjoy!


Upcycling – by ThriftySustainability.net – Created with Haiku Deck

Why Upcycle?

Upcycling unwanted materials helps our environment, one repurposed item at a time. Creating something from our waste will save that waste from going into a landfill site. It will save the energy and transportation that would have been used to process the waste.

Repurposing can also save us from buying something new, if we can make what we need, out of what we already have lying around… we can save money as well as live sustainably.

Upcycled items can also make fantastic gifts, just take a look through the slides above for some great thrifty and sustainable DIY gift ideas. Or take a look at this previous post for another upcycling idea: DIY gift idea

Some of the most inspirational upcycling ideas are those which use our rubbish to create something beautiful and that puts something in the world that will cheer people up a little when they see it. That’s got to be worth the effort!

What will you upcycle? Do you have any upcycling ideas? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Happy Upcycling!

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morell fungus fungi mushroom forage foraging forager fre food wild thrifty sustainability sustainable self sufficient

Foraging in March – Free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

morell fungus fungi mushroom forage foraging forager free food wild thrifty sustainability sustainable self sufficient

The elusive but tasty Morell

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground, or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in March.  As the weather gets warmer, there is a little more to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

If you haven’t tried foraging before, why not just go for a walk around your local park or woodland, see if you recognise any of the plants or fungi that appear on this blog.

Take a tub or bag with you, and make sure that you wash your foraged finds before you eat them.

Get Foraging in March!

Birch Sap      Bulrush      Cleavers      Dandelion Root      Gorse Flowers      Ground elder       Hairy bittercress       Hop Shoots       Jack-by-the-hedge       Morel       Nettle       Sweet Violet       Velvet shank       Wild Garlic

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

Hairy Bittercress wild herb food free foraging forager forage uk thrifty sustainability

Foraging in February – free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Hairy Bittercress wild herb food free foraging forager forage uk thrifty sustainability

Hairy Bittercress – a peppery mustard flavour to add to raw salads

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Here is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in February, although free food is far more scarce over winter, there is still something to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Foraging in February:

Chickweed     Ground elder    Hairy bittercress    Jack-by-the-hedge    Nettle    Velvet shank

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:
My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here:


 

lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – multi-talented, powerful… cheap!

Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty
lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – not just for gin!

Lemons, often only chosen in the supermarket as a companion to gin & tonic or perhaps for squeezing over a piece of fish, but this cheeky little fruit has so much more to offer as you embrace a thrifty and sustainable lifestyle.

Ahh, the humble lemon, look closer and you will discover, not only that it is cheap and tasty, but that it has many other uses for the house, garden, health, beauty and cleaning, uses that can save you money whilst helping the environment.

A few ideas for using lemons

spray bottle lemon cleaner thrifty sustainable cheap save money clean
Air freshener –
mix equal amounts of water and lemon juice into a spray bottle. You can re-use the bottle as many times as you like and the spray will last for ages. The lemon smell is fresh, disguises odours and you can rest assured that you will not be breathing in lots of the chemicals that you find in regular air fresheners. Not only does this air freshener only cost pence but it also cuts down on the amount of aerosols and packaging that you may use – this helps the environment.

 

Sink/bath cleaner – Lemons are a natural bleaching agent and can dissolve soap scum and limescale on baths and sinks. As the acidic lemon is also antibacterial and antiseptic, it disinfects as it cleans too! You can apply neat lemon juice on problem areas, using a sponge, leave for a few hours and then rinse off. If it’s only a light scum, you only need to leave the lemon juice to do its lemony magic for 10mins.

 

All-purpose cleaner – If you want an amazing all-rounder, look no further than this powerful cleaning solution: Mix together some bicarbonate of soda with lemon juice and some warm water to make a paste. This powerful cleaning paste will clean the oven, hob, microwave… any tough, grimy, greasy, built-up, caked-in dirt. The bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) is an abrasive, the lemon juice has fabulous de-greasing properties and together they are a force to be reckoned with! Rinse the surface well after using, to remove any of the powdery residue.

 

lemons lemon natural stain remover clean clothes thrifty sustainability sustainable effective

A natural, effective stain remover

Stain-remover – If you suffer from sweat stains on shirts or tops, mix together half lemon juice and half water and scrub the stain gently to remove the marks before putting the shirt or top in the wash. This will also work for stains caused by fruit juice, tea, ink etc… if it’s a really bad stain, add a little salt into the mix as an abrasive. You can also add lemon juice to your wash if you are washing white clothes as the slight, natural bleaching properties of the lemon will keep your whites whiter for longer… at a fraction of the price of the branded whiteners… and using zero harmful chemicals.

 

Disinfectant – Pour the juice of a couple of lemons down the kitchen or bathroom sinks or drains to disinfect them and to remove odours. You can also spray a mix of lemon juice and water over kitchen work surfaces as the lemon has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will keep your kitchen germ-free. The lemonine in the lemon is also toxic to insects so will help to keep flies from having a fly party in your food preparation area.

 

Natural insect deterrent – If you want to keep insects away from your plants, or from entering your home. Try leaving strips of lemon peel dotted around as insects can’t stand the smell of lemon. Try squeezing lots of lemon juice onto doorsteps or windowsills to keep insects at bay. Ants, flies, fleas and cockroaches all hate the smell of lemon.

 

natural weed killer lemon juice thrifty sustainable environmentally friendly

A natural weed killer

Natural weed killer – Soil becomes polluted with the harmful chemicals used in commercial weed-killers. Why not try using lemon juice directly on the weeds instead. Pouring lemon juice between paving cracks will prevent the weeds from growing. It’s a much cheaper solution and much kinder to our environment.

 

Skincare – Fill a bowl with boiling hot water, add the peel of half a lemon, put your head over the bowl, put a towel over your head to cover your head and the bowl, and allow the steam from the bowl to cover and clean your face. The lemony steam will help to clean out pores at a very deep level. This is especially good for greasy skin. It feels amazingly fresh and energising too. Afterwards you can tone the skin and close the pores by dabbing a mix of two parts cold water to one part lemon juice on the skin and allowing it to dry naturally, then wash off with tap water. You can even apply sliced lemons directly to the face as lemon acids are smoothing and moisturising for even the driest skin types. Lemons – Who knew?!

 

lemons lemon juice hair rinse haircare healthy shiny cheap thrifty sustainability

Shiny, healthy, natural haircare

Haircare – To treat damaged hair or to give healthy hair a fantastic shine: Rinse hair with water and the juice of half a lemon. The lemon juice cleans out any residual soaps or shampoos, encourages natural proteins in the hair which can repair hair damage and creates fatty acids which give your hair a natural shine. All for the cost of half a lemon!

 

lemon juice in water hangover cure thrifty health healthy vitamin c

A hangover cure! – You’re welcome

Health – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin C encourages the body to make collagen. Having lemons in your daily diet will help your body to repair muscles and skin and will help you to enjoy the humble lemon’s amazing anti-ageing properties. Lemon can also help reduce the amount of cholesterol that we take in from food.

 

Hangover prevention – If you’ve had a heavy night of drinking and suffer from hangovers, try drinking a glass of water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it before you go to bed… the lemon will help the liver to process the alcohol and will give you a dose of Vitamin C at the same time… you will have a much better time when you wake up – you’re welcome!

 

There are hundreds of similarly amazing uses for lemons and you can discover more by google-ing ‘household uses for lemons’ ‘uses for lemons’ ‘lemon uses’ ‘lemon benefits’ etc

You can, of course, also use the lemon in lots of delicious recipes such as lemon drizzle cake, lemon cheesecake or lemon and ginger tea.

If you discover a great use for lemons, please let us know in the comments section below.
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learn for free education e-learning thrifty saving money sustainability university

Free education – learn for free

Free, Sustainability, Thrifty

Reasons to learn for free

What will inspire you to learn for free? Here are just a few suggestions:

    • If you are unemployed and want to make your CV stand out from the crowd – taking a free online course will give you an edge, it will make employers notice you. It will also boost your self-esteem as you realise how much you are capable of
learn for free education e-learning thrifty saving money sustainability university

Add valuable skills to your CV for free

  • If you are employed but looking to develop your career, get a promotion or pay rise, taking a free online course will give you new skills, experience and ideas. Your employer will take your new skills and qualifications into account should you approach them for a promotion, or improved salary
  • If you are employed but feel that you have chosen the wrong profession, if you are unhappy or think that there is something else that you would be better suited for… why not browse the thousands of free online courses to see if there is something you could learn which would inspire you, give your life purpose and start you in an exciting new direction. For example, below are links to free courses which cover sustainability and the environment
  • If you are retired but would like a project – learn for free! Keep your busy and hungry brain fed with fascinating information from all over the world. Take a course with a friend or a group of friends. As an example, you could take a foreign language introduction course, or a course about a country’s culture and then visit that country
  • University education in parts of the UK now costs thousands of pounds. Many can no longer afford to go. You can get the same quality of education online for free and save yourself a fortune in student accommodation bills too. You can learn from home, and in your pajamas if you feel like it. Many of the free courses offer certificates of the qualification at the end of the course. All further education will help you to find your place in the world
  • Here’s a crazy idea… Learn for fun! It’s free and there is a whole world of information out there just waiting for you. Cut out an hour of TV each night and learn in that hour instead. Learning something new can expand your horizons, open your mind to new possibilities and introduce you to new circles of friends who share similar interests. You may also find yourself extremely popular when there is a pub quiz

 

Places where online learning is free

learn for free education e-learning thrifty save money sustainability

What will you choose to learn about for free?

You do not need spend lots of money to get a great quality education. There are many resources available online for anyone who would like to learn for free. Take a look through the thousands of courses available from the suggestions below, or try google-ing ‘free education online’ or ‘free university courses online’ etc for many more choices.

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses
The Open University provide hundreds of their courses for free. All can be done completely online. Some of their popular free courses include:

  • introduction to bookkeeping and accounting
  • managing my money
  • start writing fiction
  • introduction to cyber security
  • forensic psychology

    globe world sustainability education sustainable learning for free thrifty

    You could learn about sustainability

If you are interested in sustainability and the environment, here is a link to the Open University’s free Environment & Sustainability courses.

 

https://alison.com/
Scroll down on the Alison home page to the popular free courses section. Courses are completely free and can be done online. Popular free courses include:

  • Diploma in Psychology
  • Diploma of Business Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Diploma in Project Management
  • Diploma in Workplace safety and health
  • Diploma in Operations Management
  • Diploma in Human Resources

 

http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses
Open Culture give you access to 1,150 free online courses from the world’s leading universities – lots of video and podcast lectures available for bite-sized learning too. A chance to enjoy a university-standard, free education. All online, all free. This site also has a wealth of free text books and audio books available to support your learning.

 

https://www.apple.com/uk/support/itunes-u/using/
iTunes U is an Apple iTunes application which allows the world’s leading universities to provide some of their courses completely free online. There are also many free video and podcast lectures and presentations to dip in and out of. Using the information in the link above, you need to download the iTunes U application to your computer (pc & mac are supported as are ipads) then just browse the wealth of free learning opportunities. Universities that contribute include: Oxford, Harvard, Yale and MIT.

Happy learning! If you have found a really great free learning resource, please feel free to add it in the comments section below

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Ground Elder forage foraging uk free food wild thrifty sustainability save money

Foraging in January – Free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

Ground Elder forage foraging uk free food wild thrifty sustainability save money

Ground Elder – great eaten raw in salads

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Here is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in January, although free food is far more scarce over winter, there is still something to be found for the eager forager.

Each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Foraging in January:

Chickweed    Ground Elder    Oyster mushroom   Velvet shank

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the above on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

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grow your own zucchini courgette plant vegetables self-sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Why grow your own fruit and vegetables?

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Sustainability, Thrifty

thrifty sustainability affordable cheap food grow your own vegetables allotmentGrow your own

If you are looking for ways to save money and to live a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle, why not grow your own food, it’s a great place to start.

Planting, nurturing, growing, picking, preparing and then eating your own food can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Whether you are growing food in an allotment, community garden project, your home garden or even in your window box, there is a way for everyone to have a go and have a grow!

Saving Money

The price of food shopping is always increasing and growing your own food can help to cut food bills considerably.

As an example: You can buy a packet of courgette seeds for 70p and just one courgette plant can yield 10 courgettes or more! Compare that to a pack of 2 courgettes costing £1.30 in a supermarket and you can see how the savings will soon pile up.

grow your own zucchini courgette plant vegetables self sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Just one courgette plant can yield 10 courgettes or more!

You can save even more money buy bulk-buying packets of seeds online. Ebay has lots of these and you can often buy a set of 50 varied seed packets for about £10.

If money is tight you can also swap your extra fresh fruit and veg with neighbours for other items that you need.

Rather than buying an expensive gift, freshly picked fruit and veg makes an excellent present for a friend or relative. It’s a really thoughtful gift because you’ve put your time and energy into making it for them. You could make a fresh veg hamper or give a bag of fresh veg with a recipe for a soup that they can make with the vegetables.

Helping the environment

pesticides food production industry sustainability grow your own vegetables

Pesticides can pollute the soil and our rivers

If you grow your own food, you are helping the environment. You dramatically cut your food’s carbon footprint, by cutting down on the energy use, waste and emissions that the food industry production, refrigeration and transportation requires.

Your home-grown food will also not have used chemical fertilisers or pesticides which are harmful for local wildlife, such as bees and birds, and the environment. Pesticides used in growing food on a mass-scale can pollute the soil and as rain water drains through the soil and finds its way to streams an rivers, our waterways can become polluted and harm fish and river wildlife also.

Health Benefits

This new hobby can benefit your health also. You will discover a sense of wellbeing and connectedness to nature, as you work in harmony with your environment and enjoy fresh, seasonal, organic fruit and veg. Harvesting and preparing food that you’ve grown yourself, from scratch, can also give your self-esteem a really great boost.

By consuming your produce within a few hours of picking, you enjoy the full, fresh, nutritional benefit of that food. If it is freshly-picked the vitamin content of the food is at its highest. Eating lots of fresh fruit and veg can really help you to absorb all the vitamins and minerals that you need as part of a healthy balanced diet and that helps to strengthen your body’s immune system.

Of course, gardening is also great exercise! All that time out in the fresh air, moving around, getting your heart pumping, using your muscles and even boosting your mood with all that natural light and the feeling of vitality that comes from working up a sweat!

Anyone who has ever tasted a freshly-picked, home-grown, organic, ripe, plump and juicy tomato, bursting with flavour…will tell you that freshly picked food tastes so much better! So start enjoying your food even more by really tasting it. Food that is a joy to eat can make anyone smile.

Community

When we work together and share the results, we build and strengthen a community.

veg gift basket grow your own vegetables self sufficient lifestyle thrifty sustainability

Share your home-grown veg with friends

As you grow your own food, you will find that sometimes you get a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable, as the weather and growing conditions have produced an abundance of growth. This is a fantastic opportunity to share your home-grown food with friends, family, neighbours and fellow food growers!

If you grow on an allotment, perhaps you can leave spare food near the gate with a sign saying – free, please take what you need. If you grow in your garden at home and have a glut, why not take your spare food to a neighbour or friends. You may even find that your friends, neighbours and fellow growers are inspired to do the same.

Talk to fellow food growers, share tips and success stories, share food and left over seeds. Not only might you make someone’s day, but you just might learn something and make a new friend too!

More articles about growing and preserving your own food coming soon.

Similar posts: Grow your own – Planting & Picking Calendar

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