Archive for August 26th, 2011

I couldn’t help but stop and ponder today as I was walking through the grocery store about recycling, note I’m all for recycling and do so myself, but this little bottle made me stop and think.  The bottle is made of 30% plant based sugar or sugarcane ethanol to be exact.  It therefore is capable of being recycled and thus reducing the carbon footprint.  It sounds great, wonderful in fact and at one time I might have jumped to buy it…but now.  My first thought involved that I can my own ketchup.  In this the only -waste- that results for a landfill is sometimes a canning lid.  Note I did say sometimes, those lids also have amazing other uses when removed from canning jars.  They hang in my bushes and fruit trees to ward off pests, in garden also.  I’ve painted them, decorated them and hung them in Christmas trees as decorations.  They have become bases for quilted drink coasters.

My second thought involved the actual process of canning the tomatoes.  The water I use to blanch the tomatoes to get skin off becomes water and nutrient for my garden.  The skins and seeds if I don’t use them to make tomato powder are fed to chickens which in turn produce eggs or meat. Even if they did not eat it, wildlife would which includes not only furry creatures , turtles, toads and lizards but also useful and necessary insects.

I then moved on to the plant and growth of them myself.  The flowers produce pollen for the bees which then provide us with honey.  The plants at end of harvest get turned into compost and returned as more fertile soil the next year.  Worms thrive on them and in this soil . They benefit the ecosystem rather then destroy it.

Now other then the factories needed to go through the process of returning these bottles into something capable of being recycled, not to mention the fact that few places truly do recycle and if you are lucky your higher priced recycling pickup doesn’t go to a dump anyways. Some of us, okay many of us throughout the United States do not hold the luxury of having recycling pickup.  We then have to drive to a location to drop off our recycled goods, this uses gas and creates our own carbon footprint from that trip. Some of these locations are not anywhere near where we live so it becomes quite a trip. I honestly have no idea how much waste is produced from the factories that are reprocessing these items back into a form to be reused.  I can only wonder if they are really doing good or if they are just creating another mess in the toxic soup situation.

So, with all this thinking I came to a conclusion.  They can keep their bottle and I will keep my “waste” to a single ring of metal and the rare cracked glass jar.

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I’ll admit it, I am a sucker for spicy foods and growing up there was a hot veggie mix sold in the stores up North I loved, unfortunately it’s not sold down here so I had to learn to make my own.  This probably was a blessing as the other was packed full of preservatives and sodium, making and canning your own isn’t that difficult with end of garden vegetables.  If you want to try making your own here is the recipe I use.

Hot Veggie Mix

4 bell peppers, chunked  (green or combine green with red/orange/yellow)

4 large carrots , chunked

4 stalks celery, chunked

3 cups cauliflower, broken up

3-4 jalapeno peppers, sliced

1/2 cup canning kosher salt

2 cups water

10 cups vinegar

3 cloves garlic

2 tbsp prepared horseradish

1/3 cup sugar

Layer your vegetables in clean jars.  Combine remaining ingredients in large saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.  Ladle hot liquid over mixture and seal.  Process 10 minutes in hot water bath.  Wait at least 2 weeks before opening to allow brine to manipulate the vegetables.


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