How to freeze food with out using plastic!

Posted on January 6, 2016 by The Zero-Waste Chef

When I post pictures of my jar-filled freezer on social media, I get lots of questions about it, usually along the following lines:

Is it safe to freeze food in glass? (Yes)
Do you use special glass for the freezer? (No)
Don’t your glass containers break? (Only that one time…)

I have had little trouble freezing food in glass. I do however take a couple of precautions:

Always leave headspace when freezing liquids. I prefer wide-mouth jars for freezing or at least jars without shoulders (i.e., straight sides all the way up to the top). I have broken only one glass container in the freezer—it’s one of those things you do only once. I filled a narrow-neck milk bottle with liquid (likely broth, I forget exactly). Even though I had left head space, when the liquid froze, it expanded and snapped the narrow neck cleanly off the (very nice) bottle. Oops.

Occasionally I’ll use pyrex round or rectangular containers with plastic lids, which I bought before I went plastic-free. I don’t use these very often in the freezer because I like to keep the glass portion of them free for roasting food.

Don’t overstuff your freezer with jars stacked all over the place willy-nilly. When you open your freezer door, jars might fall out onto the floor and break.

How to Stop Wasting Money at the Grocery Store

19 Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Grocery Store
by Euna Park 6/10/15

Are you still spending too much money at the grocery store even with coupons and after reading tips on how to save money while shopping? Maybe that’s because some of your own shopping habits are making you buy and spend more. Take a look at our list of bad grocery shopping habits, and get rid of them once and for all!

1) Not checking what’s left in your pantry and fridge: Before you head to the grocery store, do a quick inventory of what’s left in your kitchen. Maybe that half-gallon of milk will last you through the week and you don’t need to buy another gallon after all. Not checking what’s left in your kitchen can make you buy more things than you actually need.

2) Not making a grocery list: Having a grocery list can help you shop faster and, of course, get everything you need. Forgetting to buy something is not only annoying and wastes time, but it also wastes money. When is the last time you went to the store to pick up that one thing you forgot to buy and ended up with a few extra things in your basket?

3) Avoiding crowds and shopping earlier in the week: Shopping on weekends or during busy hours can be really hectic — we get it. But not only do you buy more when you’re leisurely strolling through the aisles, but also retailers put out more coupons and deals during the latter half of the week when they know there will be more customers.

4) Bringing your kids to the store: While grocery shopping might seem like a fun family activity, it’s not helping you save any money. Kids will inevitably beg you for that candy bar or sugary cereal, and you’ll eventually give in.

5) Going to the store hungry: We’ve all made this mistake. Going to the grocery store hungry is a surefire way to buy things you don’t really need. Try not to shop with your nose, and avoid the freshly baked section if possible.

6) Using a large shopping cart: Using a spacious shopping cart can trick your mind into buying more things than you need. Try grocery shopping with a basket or a smaller cart, and you’ll be less inclined to pile things on.

7) Buying overpriced “convenient” foods: We’ve all heard the saying, “time is money.” But is it really? While it might save you a couple extra minutes to buy shredded carrot, sliced apples, and peeled garlic, let’s compare the prices: at Safeway, peeled garlic costs $5.49 a pound, whereas unpeeled garlic costs 79 cents a pound. That’s almost seven times more expensive. And with this garlic-peeling trick, you can peel a whole head of garlic in just 10 seconds, so why pay extra for convenience?

8) Buying meat or cheese from the deli: Buying fresh meat, seafood, or cheese from the deli is usually more expensive than buying prepackaged. Unless you need a specific cut of meat that isn’t in the meat section, try to avoid the deli.

9) Not buying generic: Oftentimes, grocery stores will sell generic brands or store-brand versions to your favorite brand goods, and they will be much cheaper.

10) Buying things fresh instead of frozen: There are some things that are worth buying fresh, but there are others that are just as good frozen. If you’re buying fruits to throw into your blender for a smoothie, they don’t need to be fresh. Frozen blueberries, strawberries, etc., are picked at their peak of ripeness and frozen immediately, so they taste just as good and will last longer (and keep your smoothie ice-cold!).

11) Buying disguised water: If you’re buying things like quarts of chicken stock and bottled tea, you’re essentially paying extra for water. One bottle of green tea can cost between $1 and $2, whereas 20 bags (therefore, 20 servings) of green tea cost $3 to $4. An even more drastic example is chicken stock. One quart of chicken stock can cost anywhere from $2 to $4, whereas a jar of chicken base costs $3 to $6 and can make 10 quarts of stock. Plus you can also save fridge and pantry space if you buy less disguised water.

12) Buying organic when you don’t need to: Buying organic can get pricey, especially if you’re buying everything organic. Knowing when to buy organic and when not to buy organic is crucial if you want to save some money. Fruits like avocado, pineapple, and watermelon don’t need to be organic because their thick skins protect the flesh from pesticides, while vegetables like onions don’t attract many pests at all. See the full list of foods you don’t need to buy organic.

13) Not buying seasonal goods: Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season will help you save so much money. Use this app to figure out when certain produce is in season, and plan your meals around that.

14) Not comparing prices: Not only should you be comparing prices between different brands, but you should also be comparing the price of different sizes within a brand. Should you buy in bulk or individually? Should you buy the larger, family-sized bottle or a smaller one? Try calculating the price per pound or ounce to see which is a more frugal choice. Also retailers like to put the most expensive products at eye level, so try looking at the top or bottom shelves for better prices.

15) Not using coupons for household essentials/staples: We’re often told to use coupons with caution — buying something we don’t need just because we have a coupon does not save money. But for household essentials like laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, etc., keep an eye out for coupons and stock up on those staples when they’re on sale.

16) Not taking things out at the last minute: If you’re standing in line at the cash register and realize you don’t really need that bag of pretzels you impulsively threw in, don’t hesitate to take it out. You can either return it to the aisle or ask the cashier to take it.
Impulse buying at the cash register: Oh, those candy bars and sweet snacks will forever tempt us at the cash register. But be strong and try not to grab anything at the last minute! 17) Not only are you impulse buying, but those candy bars are often not the best price compared to buying in bulk at the candy aisle.

18) Not bringing your reusable shopping bag: Many states are moving toward charging customers for grocery bags, and while paper bags are only 10 cents each, they sure can add up year after year. If you don’t have reusable shopping bags, try making your own with a t-shirt.

19) Not checking your receipt: Start a habit of checking your receipt to see if there were any mistakes. You can even use that time to really think about whether you need everything you just bought. Most grocery stores will accept returns for a full refund.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Water Use -DID YOU KNOW (DYK) is Directly Related to Income?

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In posh parts of northern San Diego County, residents on average used more than 580 gallons of water a day in September. During the same month, Angelenos in less-affluent East L.A. used an average of 48 gallons a day, according to data that state water officials released Tuesday, which shows for the first time just how dramatically water use varies among California communities.
Lowest water consumption in California

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Hoping to increase conservation, the State Water Resources Control Board released estimates of residential daily water use per person in September, as reported by more than 300 urban water suppliers. The heaviest water users, the data showed, used more than 10 times as much as those who used the least.

Statewide, residents in some water districts used an average of more than 500 gallons per capita a day, while others used as little as 46 gallons. The Santa Fe Irrigation District, which serves residents in an affluent part of northern and coastal San Diego County, recorded the highest average, 584 gallons. Southland water users served by the Desert Water Agency and Coachella Valley Water District, both in desert areas, weren’t far behind, using more than 360 gallons per capita a day.
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Two water distributors in San Francisco and one in East Los Angeles recorded the lowest average totals, 46, 46 and 48, respectively. In Santa Cruz, which has some of the toughest conservation measures in the state, residents used an average of 49 gallons per person a day.

In Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills residents used 286 gallons per person daily, while Compton residents used only 65. Residents served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power used 93 gallons a day. About four-dozen water districts did not report per capita data.

Still, water officials and experts said the information will help water districts understand exactly how much residents use and identify areas for improvement.
We’re hoping water agencies will look at this list and use it for self-evaluation: How are people in their area doing and how they can do better? – Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board

“We’re hoping water agencies will look at this list and use it for self-evaluation: How are people in their area doing and how they can do better?” Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said. “It’s not a report card; It’s an instructive thing.”

Experts said higher per capita water usage make sense in areas where lot sizes are larger and in hotter regions of the state where water evaporates faster. A recent UCLA study also found that household income is a primary driver of increased water use.
cComments

Just shows as to how much use, abuse and waste in the CA decadent life style is a burden on the rest plus what this nation has become. By all means, if there is plenty of water, conservation takes a back seat. But with the kind of drought that plagues CA the numbers from over 500 to 300 gallons…
winemaster2
at 1:53 AM November 06, 2014

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“If those communities that could do something haven’t done anything [to conserve], we’re missing a huge opportunity to work together as Angelenos,” said Miguel Luna, executive director of Urban Semillas, a community organization focused on food and water issues. “South L.A. and East L.A. have done their part. Now the affluent communities need to ante up.”

The new data come as Californians work to cut water usage to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of a 20% reduction statewide. Since May, the state water board has been reporting water usage reductions. Overall, Californians continued to use less water in September, but the reductions were more modest than in August. The board announced that statewide water consumption dropped 10.3% — about 22 billion gallons — in September, compared with the same month a year earlier. In August, water use fell 11.5% compared with August 2013.

Water officials and other experts have long maintained that Southern Californians have been aggressively conserving water for years, a factor they say accounts for the region’s smaller monthly usage reductions compared with other areas of the state. Many Northern California areas have reported steeper monthly cuts, but officials have warned against drawing comparisons because southern residents already use less water.

Tuesday’s data showed that, on average, Southern California residents used 119 gallons per person a day — the fourth-lowest average among 10 regions the water board tracked.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power saw an 8% decrease in water use in September compared with the same month last year after reporting a similar decrease in August. In a statement, DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said the September numbers show that DWP customers “continue to watch their water use and do their part during the drought.”

Plastic-bag makers fighting California’s ban are “buying their way onto the ballot,” environmental

Plastic-bag makers want you to overturn California’s bag ban

Plastic-bag makers fighting California's ban are “buying their way onto the ballot,” environmental

Plastic-bag makers fighting California’s ban are “buying their way onto the ballot,” environmental

by David Lazarus, Nov. 4, 2014 for the Los Angeles Times

Listening to the plastic-bag industry oppose bans on their product is eerily similar to what carmakers said decades ago in opposition to seat belts and air bags.

Bad idea, they argued. Bad for consumers. Won’t accomplish what supporters intend.

In fact, seat belts cut the number of crash-related injuries and deaths in half, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the combination of seat belts and air bags reduced fatalities by more than 60%.

And now we have plastic-bag manufacturers claiming that bans at the local and state level hurt the economy, kill jobs, tax the poor and don’t actually help the environment.

“It’s yet another job-killing, big grocer cash grab masquerading as an environmental bill,” Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said of California’s ban on plastic bags that takes effect in July.
It’s yet another job-killing, big grocer cash grab masquerading as an environmental bill. – Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance

A ban on plastic bags in Los Angeles County took effect four months ago. A 10-cent fee is charged for paper bags.

The plastic-bag industry, like the auto industry before it, wants people to think it’s fighting the good fight on behalf of personal freedom, individual liberty and common sense.

All it’s really doing is trying to protect its profits.

The plastic-bag industry is now gearing up — and spending heavily — to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot that would overturn California’s bag ban. It has until Dec. 29 to collect the more than 500,000 signatures needed to put the matter to voters.
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I spotted an ad on Craigslist for people to receive $1.50 for every signature they gather in support of the referendum. “It is basically to reverse the ban,” the ad says, “but the way you pitch is to vote on it whether you want it or not.”

Daniels acknowledged that the industry is employing professional signature gatherers.

Plastics companies recently contributed about $1.2 million toward the referendum campaign, according to public records. All but $50,000 came from companies based outside California.

The largest donation — $566,666.67 — was made by South Carolina’s Hilex Poly, one of the country’s largest plastic-bag makers and the main provider of funds for Daniels’ American Progressive Bag Alliance.

Indeed, when he isn’t defending “progressive” bags, which are more friendly sounding than plastic bags, Daniels is Hilex Poly’s vice president of sustainability and environmental policy.
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California’s ban, Daniels told me, is not about the environment. “It’s about a backroom deal to scam Californians out of billions of dollars.”

By the industry’s reckoning, he said, state lawmakers bowed to pressure from grocery stores and unions to require that consumers pay extra for paper or reusable bags.

“We’re getting inundated with calls from Californians thanking us for doing this,” Daniels said of the planned referendum. “It’s very encouraging for our industry.”

Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, which spearheaded the statewide bag ban, said he very much doubted that bag makers are being swamped with calls of support from state residents.

About 60% of voters said they support the statewide bag ban, according to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Friday.
cComments

Kill the ban! I’ve questioned why the bag ban only targeted plastic grocery bags, but yet there is no ban against the Hefty or GLAD plastic trash bags we all use every day. Makes no sense. Stupid leftists and union leaders! In anticipation of the ban (I live in Riverside where the ban…
dvphoto
at 12:46 PM November 04, 2014

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Murray said the industry’s claims of broad support mirror its insistence that plastic bags are environmentally safe. “They don’t have a real argument, so they’re using bogus arguments,” he said.

A plastics industry website, BagTheBan.com, says that “studies show banning plastic bags could increase global warming, put more carbon in the air, require more trucks on the road and use up more water because consumers would be forced to use resource-heavy alternatives like paper and reusable bags.”

The reality, Murray said, is that plastic bags are a blight on the landscape after being discarded by careless consumers or blowing from trash cans, garbage trucks or landfills.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reported last year that California communities spend more than $428 million a year trying to prevent litter from entering the state’s waterways.

Plastic bags make up as much as a quarter of all that trash, the group found. They pose a threat to wildlife, clog storm drains and threaten vital industries, such as tourism and commercial fishing, it said.

“The environmental cost of this product far exceeds its utility,” Murray said.

He said California’s bag ban was the result of many hours of public hearings and negotiations with interested parties. But because the industry didn’t get its way, Murray said, “they’re now just buying their way onto the ballot.”

It’s a fair point. If Californians were clamoring for an end to a law that hasn’t even taken effect yet, they’d be signing petitions at a grass-roots level, not at the behest of mercenary hustlers making $1.50 a signature.

The California Legislature passed a bill in 2011 that would have prohibited petition circulators being paid on a per-signature basis, but it was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. He said the legislation was “a dramatic change to a long-established democratic process in California.”

Contrast that with Oregon, which in 2002 required that petition circulators be paid by the hour, not per signature gathered. Since then, the state’s initiative process hasn’t died. It’s just become more representative of the public’s wishes.

Both Daniels and Murray predicted that a referendum on California’s bag ban will come before voters in 2016. Even if it fails to pass, it would likely delay implementation of the ban for months.

And that would translate into additional profit for the bag industry.

Call it the best democracy money can buy.

Manhattan Beach extends bans on plastic bags, polystyrene products

Plastic bags and polystyrene products could soon become a thing of the past in Manhattan Beach.

Poly styrene packaging

The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to prohibit restaurants from distributing single-use carry-out plastic bags and to extend its ban on polystyrene products to include utensils, straws, cup lids and foam coolers. After a second reading of the ordinances at the April 1 City Council meeting, the new laws could become enforceable as early as June.

The city made headlines in July 2008 as one of the first municipalities to ban the distribution of plastic bags for all retail establishments. Following a lawsuit from The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, the city battled to prove the legality of the ban and ultimately won, with the California Supreme Court upholding the ordinance and ordering the coalition to pay the city’s legal fees. In 2012, however, the Manhattan Beach City Council amended the law to exempt restaurants from the ban to avoid further litigation under the California Retail Food Code.

Tuesday’s vote lifts this exemption, and Manhattan Beach can be confident that it will not invite more lawsuits from the plastic bag industry, said the city’s environmental programs manager Sona Koffee, citing a failed lawsuit against the city and county of San Francisco last December.

Some 180 restaurants in Manhattan Beach will be affected by the amendment, Koffee said, adding that city staff has provided them with a list of vendors who offer alternatives—such as reusable bags or paper bags made with recycled materials—with comparable prices. With direction from the Council Tuesday, the ban will also apply to food trucks and push carts.

Currently, the enforcement of the plastic bag ban is solely complaint based, Koffee said, but city staff is considering inspections as well as a mandatory acknowledgement in annual business license renewal process. The polystyrene ban is currently enforced in this manner.

Last August, the Manhattan Beach City Council introduced a ban on polystyrene containers used for distributing prepared food and directed city staff to research alternatives for items such as lids and straws.

Polystyrene is a disposable thermoplastic petrochemical material commonly used for food and drink containers. The ordinance as introduced outlaws two types of polystyrene – clear plastic and foam, commonly known as Styrofoam.

In addition to outlawing the distribution of polystyrene straws, cup lids, utensils and foam coolers, Tuesday’s vote prohibits the sale of such products and lifts the previous exemption for the Manhattan Beach Unified School District.

“They’re doing an excellent job to transition all the schools,” Koffee told the Council.

Alternatives include paper and plastic material that are not necessarily bio-degradable or plant-based but generally less harmful to individuals and the marine environment because people are more inclined to recycle them, she said.

So far, backlash has been limited to a statement from Ralph’s expressing that the chain grocery store would not be in support of the prohibition on selling their lines of polystyrene products, Koffee said.

Craig Cadwallader, resident and South Bay chairperson of the Surfrider Foundation, commended the City Council for blazing a trail in environmental policies.

“I just gotta say, this is what makes me proud to be a resident of this city,” Cadwallader said. “This is one of those intelligent things that this council continues to do. We’re actually setting the pace rather than following behind and doing things halfway.”

Mayor Amy Howorth credited past Councilmembers as well as former Mayor Portia Cohen, explaining that Tuesday night’s motions were the culmination of their tireless efforts to protect the environment.

“I’m glad we have kept up this legacy,” Howorth said. “It’s incredibly important and it’s very instructive, I hope, for other cities. We do differ on a lot of issues, as we should, to get to good decisions, but we all understand that this is so important. California leads the way, but Manhattan Beach, little Manhattan Beach, leads the way.”