"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Kitchen waste use

I'm not perfect - and probably never will be.  But, I'm trying every way I can to reduce my footprint.  By that I mean the short and long term impact I make on this planet through the evidence that I leave behind - whether that is what I send to landfill, or what we do on our smallholding.  I can control the use of chemicals we use - that is 100% non-negotiable to me.  I will NOT be responsible for adding a single gram of chemical to this earth or the waterways.  And, if I have a problem in my veggie patch it is because something is out of kilter - either the companion planting is at fault, the amount of water and time of watering is amiss, I didn't prepare the ground correctly (e.g. the blossom rot on tomatoes a few years ago was due to a calcium imbalance in the soil) or pure laziness is causing weeds.  All of that is correctable without too much effort.  It may take a passage of time to recreate the harmony required (e.g. the blossom rot is corrected via adding banana skins at the bottom of the hole before planting the seedling, or rinsing out milk bottles and giving that water to the tomatoes and adding crushed eggshells to the soil round the plant), but I refuse to succumb to a quick, chemical fix.

I also hate waste.  That doesn't just include the horrific waste packaging which comes with most items one purchases these days.  But, I hate waste in my home too.  Must be the Scottish roots that lurk in my DNA.

Do I take it to the extreme?  I dunno.  You be the judge 😉

I cannot put any onion skin or citrus waste in my worm farm as the little red wrigglers (worms) aren't partial to that in their diet.  So those all get added to my normal compost pile.

But, why waste those aromatic citrus skins?
Citrus peel infused vinegar
 brewing in a repurposed
 jar which used to hold
 asparagus spears
Before the citrus skins end up in the compost, I add them to a clean jar and cover them with plain vinegar before replacing the lid of the jar.  This jar is then kept in a dark cupboard for 2 - 3 weeks in order for the citrus skins to release their oils into the vinegar.

After infusing for 2 - 3 weeks, decant the infused vinegar into a spray bottle.  The remaining left-over skins are sprinkled with a bit of food grade lime to counteract the acidity, and they are then put in my "normal" compost pile.  Even if you don't have a compost pile, you, too, can make this surface cleaner - and merely toss the used skins in the trash after you have extracted their oils.

I use this citrus flavoured vinegar to clean my small (ex-caravan) LP gas stove, the kitchen counters / surfaces, my (sealed) wooden table tops, and I also use it in the bathroom.  In place of an acidic vinegar smell, everything has a delicate citrus perfume.
Decant the citrus peel infused vinegar into a spray
 bottle and use it to wipe down your surfaces.  (Yes,

 I know it's a plastic spray bottle but I am unable to
 find a  glass one.  This one has been in use for 4 years
 and will certainly last for a good many more years
 before it, too, lands at the recycling depot.)
Apart from the smell making you crave a juicy orange or naartjie (mandarin), or a helping of fish and chips with freshly squeezed lemon juice (my mind works in mysterious ways 😂 ) depending on what was infused in the vinegar, flies hate the smell too.

It's a win-win all round - you're achieving two goals at once.  A easy-to-make, chemical-free and fresh smelling household cleaner which is non-toxic to your family, and the simultaneous bonus of providing an eco-friendly pest control.


kymber said...

Dani - i do the same with left over lemon/lime/orange/grapefruit peels. but another way to use your leftover peels with fruit still inside (from squeezing out the juice to make various sauces) is to put 2 or 3 peels with fruit into the dishwasher in the utensil basket. it makes a world of difference in keeping the dishwasher and the dishes clean. and then you don't have to use that blue stuff (can't think of the word for it - it's been so long!). but it's blue stuff that you put in a separate compartment from where your detergent goes in. instead we use citrus peels - just drop them in with the utensils basket and your dishes come out shining.

i hope this makes sense and i hope someone can use this.

sending much love! your friend,

Dani said...

kymber - You're talking about rinse aid? That's a good idea too. Thanks. Hmmm, now why didn't I know that when I had a dishwasher... Now, it's hand wash and hand wash only. RMan, bless him, does them every other day 😉