Recycling Bags, Jars, and Other Containers

Today, I found a great article with tips on washing, drying and storing plastic bags.

I created my own drying rack this morning and it works really well! I used a taller glass jar filled with old dried beans (saved in case I wanted to make a pie crust someday! ha!) and 4 metal skewers. See article for details and photo!

Reusing Plastic Baggies

I always try to reuse my plastic zip bags, especially the freezer bags, but there is so much more to do.

How about produce bags from the grocery? I keep a stash of gently-used produce bags along-side my re-usable grocery/shopping bags so I always have a bag ready when I pick out my produce every week.

I’ve also found that it’s easy to also re-use citrus mesh bags for produce as well. Either at the store, or in the fridge to keep veggies like lettuce, celery or carrots fresh. The mesh allows the produce to “breathe” – and you can keep on using them again and again! I usually cut out the UPC barcode to prevent the cashier from accidentally scanning it again.

It’s also helpful to the local farmer if you bring your own produce bags to the farmer’s markets and farm stores. And speaking of farmers, I also try to give back the little berry/tomato pints & elastics so they can re-use for next time. If your local egg farmer wants their egg cartons back, be sure to do that as well.

One more use for older baggies is for your dog walks, especially ones that you don’t feel comfortable using again, like bags containing raw meat or oily substances. We have a little pouch filled with used plastic bags to pick up our dogs’ “business” – works great!

Glass Jars & Bottles

My buddy Angela over at Test Kitchen Tuesday reminded me that it’s also important to reuse glass jars.

I was saving my glass jars, but rarely used them for anything except to pour cooking grease for the trash. I was under the impression that jar covers were retaining the stronger odors, like salsa or jelly. Angela converted me. I’m now re-using my glass jars for storage: dried beans, grains, nuts, coconut, seeds. In the fridge or in the pantry, it all works!

As for retained odors, I have found that good air circulation is very helpful when the jars are empty. Don’t keep the lids tightly on the jar when you aren’t using them.

Glass jars and bottles are also great salad dressing shakers. And if you have too much dressing, you can easily store what’s left in the fridge.

One thing to keep in mind is most glass container lids do contain BPA, so be careful when re-using. I believe that it’s heat that causes the most problems with BPA, but you never can be too careful.

Other Plastic Containers

And one more item I like to reuse is plastic containers, like the ones from the bulk isle at Whole Foods; they’re great for storing dry goods, and also handy at parties when guests want to bring home leftovers. Empty quart-size yogurt containers are excellent for freezing soups and stock.

I like to think I’m a pretty good recycler, but I’m sure there are things I can improve on. I’m working on that.

Does anyone else have any ideas for reusing?

Take Care of Our Bodies

Just received this inspirational quote in my email.

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

Jim Rohn
American motivational speaker, 20th century

I wish everyone could realize that their bodies are “temples” to be treasured.

We abuse ourselves with processed crap made by big corporations that only care about profits.

We are destroying our earth and we torture animals for the sake of easy food.

It’s very sad really and it overwhelms me because I do not see us ever wanting to fix it.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Imported Shrimp

I found the quote “Friends don’t let friends buy imported shrimp.” on page 30 of the book “Cooking in the Moment – A Year of Seasonal Recipes” by Andrea Reusing. Those words should be an inspiration to us all!

I adore shrimp! I wish I could eat shrimp more often! But US wild-caught shrimp is expensive, so it should be savored and cherished as a special treat!

I have long refused to buy imported shrimp but it looks like I’m in the minority. Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the US, but since 80-90% of shrimp is imported from Asia and Mexico, it looks like consumers are either not aware of the dangers or just don’t care.

I always knew there were big health and environmental risks with imported (wild and farmed) seafood, but I just read an older article on the subject and it really hit home.

quote from the article:

Properly run shrimp farms yield up to 445 pounds per acre. Food & Water Watch, which has long studied aquaculture, has documented that many foreign shrimp farm operators densely pack their ponds to produce as much as 89,000 pounds of shrimp per acre.

Oh my Lord, can you imagine the pollution, bacteria and illness this causes?

And then the article goes on to state that less than 2% of imported seafood is actually checked and/or analyzed. And what IS checked has been found to be hazardous to our health.

Consumers blindly trust that if it’s allowed to come into our country, then it must be safe. Consumers expect our government to constantly check and re-check products, whether imported or native, but it’s been proven time and time again that it’s not being done!

When will we wake up!? I am doubtful we will.

It’s the American way to demand lower prices, but look what’s happened to the quality of our food! We need to demand better quality food, but not expect to pay rock bottom prices. We need to start paying a little more, and appreciate the quality of the product!

So, please FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS EAT IMPORTED SHRIMP! Support US wild caught shrimp!