Friday, 6 September 2013

Every small step

I bet you thought that I had abandoned my blog? Not to worry, just had a very busy few weeks J

Last night I finally made it to the Transition Group meeting, having missed all their lovely summer activities on the community allotment. There has been gardening workshops, apple pressings, potato harvests... local people can find out more on their website. I finished cooking dinner just in time to dash off, whilst the rest of the family got to sit down and tuck in. Still, I was rewarded with a bag of freshly dug potatoes and a jar of Mulberry preserve.

The path to the allotment had big juicy blackberries growing down both sides, which served as a reminder that I need to get a move on and do some foraging. Blackberries, elderberries, bullaces, cobnuts and apples are all ripe for the picking now. Normally I would be out walking daily with Lottie, taking different routes and coming home with tubs and bags full of free food. But poor Lottie has a limp and is confined to the house until she recovers. I was hoping she would be better by now, as going for foraging walks is not the same without her L

On the free food note, I have had my most successful bean growing year ever! It is such fun being able to give them away to family, friends and neighbours. In return my neighbours have given me a recipe for green bean chutney, a jar of greengage jam, a large bunch of lavender and a promise of apples, which rather shames my bean offering. I am glad they appreciated them though. I have been known to dash round the neighbours with a large Baked Alaska to give away. (I made 2 for a large party of teenage girls who then all ate the daintiest slices!) It went down like a ticking time bomb!

We foraged loads of cherries this year, so I borrowed the Transition Groups de-hydrator to dry them. Now I have some dried cherries to add to my porridge. I will try de-hydrating courgettes next. De-hydrated runner beans seem a bit dubious though!

I have been avoiding shops and would be doing so well at reducing the ‘stuff’ entering our home if I hadn’t made several trips to the car-boot sale this summer. After buying jars, tins and baskets, I managed to find wetsuits, clothes and large feather cushions all for a few pounds. Some things are brand new with the labels still attached – so I am helping to clear other peoples ‘stuff’ conscience. The worse bit is that most of the items that aren’t bought will end up in landfill, which is why it is so important to think before you buy anything.

My food cupboards have now been transformed from all plastic containers to nearly all glass. I still find it difficult to throw the plastic tubs in the recycling, because surely it is better for me to re-use them instead? Stopping buying plastic is so hard though. Even at the market some of the stall-holders are so quick that they have your produce in a carrier bag before you can open your mouth. Hand soap has been a success – no more hygienic squirty bottle soap in our house. Its bars of soap wrapped in cardboard. Not so easy to replace shampoo, toothpaste, or cotton wool buds though!

Every small step in the right direction is taking me closer to a more sustainable future J


  1. Wow, look at you powering on with the harvesting and preserving! I am loving your collection of glass containers. I still keep dry food in mine, but will replace with glass as they wear out, lose their lids etc, or as more glass containers make their way into my life. How is the cupboard storage going with round glass instead of square, stackable plastic? That is my biggest issue!

    1. Thanks Jo. The old plasitc tubs were also round, so no real problems there and I have gone for taller passata jars which hold more for a smaller footprint. I'm adding some extra shelves for the bigger cliptop jars as they are quite bulky. Cereal is more of a problem and square cake tins is the best I can come up with so far, which really doesn't work too well when they are stacked. I have no solution to replace plastic tubs or bags for storage in my freezer though, so would welcome any ideas?

  2. Hi Judy, I am using Pyrex dishes, which are square glass with plastic lids, but at least the food is mostly not touching the plastic.
    I have been freezing bread and rolls in calico bags. As long as they are whole loaves (not sliced) they freeze fine. I have seen other blogs where people freeze food in sturdy glass jars. You'd want pretty thick ones though..
    I do still buy frozen peas in placky bags..
    I still store my cereal in plastic. I have seen some big glass jars, like old giant pickle jars. That could be a solution...

    1. Hi Jo, Thanks for the tips. I have been looking for the square Pyrex dishes, since I saw them on your blog, but haven't found any with lids. I have thought about the glass jars, but they will take up so much more freezer space. I was thinking of trying a few small jars and seeing how it goes.
      I found a big glass jar and tried keeping porridge oats in it. This would work well if I could keep it on the worktop and just scoop out oats when I need them, but in a low cupboard it is awkward and heavy to lift out. I'll keep re-organising and looking until it all works. Good luck with your cereal endeavors :)