My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 8

Latest update on reducing our plastic usage and other waste. Although I’ve baked my own crackers quite a few times now, I was very pleased to discover some crispbread packaged in paper in a nearby village. Son1 can polish off the crackers so quickly, that it is good to have something in the store cupboard again.

crispbreads

I’m now a regular customer at the local independent shops, so I felt able to challenge the greengrocer when I popped in early one morning and saw him chopping off all the outer leaves from the cauliflowers. I asked why he was doing that and he said customers prefer them like that. Well I’m a customer and I would prefer them left on, but I felt my request fell on deaf ears. So it remains a choice between a cauliflower with leaves in plastic from the supermarket, or a plastic-free cauliflower minus leaves from the local greengrocer. I would use the outermost leaves in soups and stock, the next ones in I would steam and the innermost ones I would eat raw in salads. I also asked what would happen to all the wastage. Apparently it goes for the pigs to eat.

And here’s a recipe I promised to share for apple pulp pancakes, made using the pulp from my juicer.

pulp pancakes

Pulp Pancakes

Ingredients

250g apple pulp
25g melted butter
2 eggs
125ml milk
200g plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method

Melt the butter in a jug in the microwave.
Add all ingredients except oil to a large bowl.
Beat the ingredients together to a batter.
Gently heat oil in a frying pan.
Pour pancake size spoonfuls of batter into the frying pan, to make about 3 pancakes at a time.
Cook for about 2 -3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes.
Turn and cook the other side for about 2 minutes until golden.
Repeat until all batter has been used.
Serve either warm or cold, either plain or with your choice of topping.
Enjoy.

These are delicious and can be made with other types of pulp. They also have no added sugar, just the sweetness from the pulp.

pulp pancakes

I mentioned previously that I had saved some seeds to plant. Initially it was just ones like melon, butternut squash and pepper to avoid them ending up in food waste. But then I thought, well why not also try saving a few of those that you would typically eat like tomato. Well I can report that I’ve had mixed success. The tomatoes and peppers came up but no luck initially with either melon or butternut squash, so I had to plant some more of those, which happily did germinate. Of course the real proof of success won’t be until later in the year, as to whether I actually manage to harvest anything from them.

growing seeds

I’ve also bought a few packets of seeds including cauliflower, which are now at the seedling stage. So hopefully I’ll be harvesting my own cauliflowers later and avoiding the chopped off wasted leaves issue.

And on the topic of seeds, which ones can be roasted to eat? I’ve only ever roasted pumpkin seeds. I regularly buy melons, peppers and butternut squash. Anyone know if I could roast any of those seeds?

I’ve never particularly had green fingers but I’m gradually enlarging the area that I started as a vegetable patch last year. Certainly hard work digging as there seem to be so many weed roots. Only managed a few carrots, tomatoes and one pumpkin last year, so hoping for better results this time round. Very pleased with the “reduced to clear” stickered chive and mint plants from the supermarket that I planted in the autumn. They are flourishing marvellously.

mint and chives

I’m always experimenting with chopping up various greens from my garden into my salads, not only chives and mint, but things like carrot tops and beetroot leaves. Recently I tried radish leaves but they were rather bitter, maybe the taste will grow on me. I’ve been wondering about dandelion leaves, as there are lots of those growing here, so I was very interested to read Becky’s blog post on Dandelion Tea Benefits & How to Make Dandelion Tea. I shall certainly have to give some of these suggestions a go.

Also I made a suggestion to the cafe at work a few months back that they reduce waste, by offering the coffee grounds to employees for their gardens and I’m pleased to say that they finally implemented my idea last week, so I’ve brought a couple of bagfuls home. Just drying it out first, but I plan to use some of it as a mulch around the plants and some in my compost bin. That is a much longer term project but slowing filling with a mix of grass mowings, leaves, fruit and vegetable waste plus torn up butchers’ paper. But don’t think I’ll have any compost ready this year.

coffee grounds

coffee grounds

And I found another crowdfunding initiative to help fund plastic-free organic dry shampoo from KiteNest. See details here. I’m enjoying making a small pledge to these campaigns.

I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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12 thoughts on “My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 8

    1. mumjd Post author

      Yes great suggestion. I did initially have one courgette plant and the first fruit had started developing when an animal attacked it, biting the entire fruit off. The plant never recovered and sadly withered and died

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  1. Susan B

    Your posts lift my spirits as I often get the impression that householders using their council recycling service think that is enough. It isn’t.
    I make what I call Mean Soup using cauli and broccoli stalks, and thick carrot peelings (all of which used to go in the bin) along with onions that have been marked down at the supermarket. It’s perfectly nice. Our local town council has also started a community fridge which I use once or twice a week. Tesco and Lidl are supporters of the fridge so three cheers to them for making the effort to get their unused fresh food to the fridge instead of throwing it out.

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I steam the outer cauliflower leaves to eat. I also add the greens from bunches of carrots to salad. I know a couple of nearby towns with Community fridges

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  2. Rebecca Beesley

    What brilliant things you are doing! I used to bring the coffee grounds home from work for the compost last year until we moved sites. My compost bin seems to be doing well – i used to have one years ago that i loved and so re-started one last year. Love the recipe idea with the apple pulp too!

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    Reply
    1. mumjd Post author

      This is my first try at compost so don’t really know how long it will take. Just hoping I’m getting the proportions of green to brown about right

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  3. Charles Fletcher

    I love the idea of the coffee to use on the garden. We have an allotment so grow lots of fruit and veg.

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