Monthly Archives: November 2010

Fruit And Vegetable Peels’ 25 Surprising Uses (PHOTOS)

A potpourri vase

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Scooped-out avocado shells make perfect biodegradable “pots” to start seedlings in before you plant them in the garden.

via Fruit And Vegetable Peels’ 25 Surprising Uses (PHOTOS).

via Fruit And Vegetable Peels’ 25 Surprising Uses (PHOTOS).

Nearly all fruit and vegetable skins can be added to the compost pile. But since I’m the ultimate Green Cheapskate, I like to get even more mileage out of my rinds — at least before I deposit them in my compost pile.

Try out these creative uses for your peels next time you’re thinking about heading out to the compost pile:

Seedling pots: Scooped-out avocado shells make perfect biodegradable “pots” to start seedlings in before you plant them in the garden.

Potpourri: I dearly love my wife, although she knows that nothing sets me off like store-bought potpourri. (“I have the world’s largest supply of that stuff in the back yard … it’s in my compost pile!”) Seriously: all types of citrus rinds, apple peels, pomegranate skins, and other fruit trimmings can simply be dried on a rack or in a food dehydrator to make homemade potpourri. Sprinkle a little “liquid potpourri” (available at craft stores) on it for more flavor if desired, or dose it with the dregs of perfume or cologne when you finish up a bottle.

Keep garden slugs at bay, the natural way: Sprinkle ground-up nut shells around tender garden plants to keep slugs and other pests away — they can’t stand crawling across the rough texture. (FYI, I know they’re not a fruit or veggie, but crushed eggshells do the same.

Is that peach-fuzz on your face? : You bet. Peaches are high in potassium and Vitamin A, which help to revitalize skin and keep it hydrated. Put a little sugar on the pulpy side of peach skins and use as a gentle face scrub. (Get more natural beauty recipes.)

Make metals shine: Lemon, lime, and other citrus rinds and pulp/juice are high in citric acid, which makes them great for polishing brass, copper, and other non-ferrous metals. Sprinkle on a little baking soda and the polishing goes even faster. (Also see how ketchup works great for shining metals.)

Organic Easter egg dye: Boil your Easter eggs with some onion skins and you’ll end up with wild yellow and orange eggshells, all without the use of artificial dyes.

Serving bowls: Watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, and other melons can be scooped out and the shells used as attractive (albeit temporary) serving dishes for fruit salads and such. I also scoop out acorn squash halves and use the shells as serving bowls for a tasty acorn squash and cider bisque I make in the fall.

Candied citrus rinds: My great aunt concluded every family dinner by passing around a tray of her homemade candied citrus rinds. Strips of rind from lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and limes can be boiled in a mixture of equal parts water and sugar until the liquid is absorbed (a couple of hours). Coat the cooled strips in granulated sugar and let dry on a rack.

Banana split shoeshine: Put a “split-shine” on your wing-tips by polishing them with the slippery side of a banana peel – it really works!

Throw some peanut shells on the barbie: Peanut shells burn slow ‘n smoky, so add a handful to the charcoal next time you’re grilling. Soak them in water ahead of time if you think of it, and let them dry a bit before you put them in the coals — that way they’ll burn even longer.

In a pickle: All kinds-o-rinds can be pickled and eaten as a delicious condiment. Most recipes for pickled watermelon, lemon, orange, and even pumpkin rind involve a simple mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices, and some can simply be stored in the fridge rather than canned once prepared.

In a jam: Marmalades are simple to make, even for those new to jam cookery. They can incorporate the skins from a wide variety of fruits — not just oranges, but lemons, grapefruit, limes, tangerines, and even kumquats.

Cornhusks: Don’t even get me started about all of the uses for cornhusks. Back home in Ohio we make cornhusk dolls; in Mexico they’re used for cooking tamales; in the Philippines (where there is a Corn Husk Association) they weave them into hats, mats, bags, slippers, and just about everything else. Me, I like to wrap fish and other seafood in fresh, dampened sweet corn husks and grill and serve them that way.

Pomegranate skin to the rescue: Suffering from diarrhea? Boil a little pomegranate skin in water with a cinnamon stick and drink it down once it’s cooled. Repeat up to three times per day or until diarrhea subsides.

Add an Asian flare: Dried tangerine rind is a tasty — but expensive — element in Asian cooking. But you can make your own by simply using a vegetable peeler to remove the orange part of the tangerine, clementine, or tangelo rind (avoid the white/zest) and dry the peels on a rack or in a food dehydrator. Once dried, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Darken grey hair: Just call me Mr. Potato Head! Boil potato peels in water for about a half-hour, strain and let cool. Rinse your hair with this water after shampooing and it will gradually darken grey hair, without the use of harsh chemicals.

Pistachio garden soap: I need a sturdy bar of soap to wash up with after a hard day of yard work. I make my own by pulverizing pistachio shells with a little water in the blender, then mixing it with melted glycerin soap.

Vodka infusions: All kinds of fruit skins — particularly citrus rinds — can be added to vodka to create a flavorful infusion. Just add the peels and let it sit for a week or two. (See more tips on how to make infused vodka.)

Olive oil infusions: Adding citrus peels to olive oil will not only flavor it but will help to reinvigorate oil that’s getting old. (See more things you can do with old olive oil.)

Apple peels – A Very Good Thing: My mom makes apple-peel jelly, or she sometimes dusts apple skins with sugar and cinnamon and bakes them in the oven as a crispy snack. She’s also fond of using a needle and heavy thread to string them up, let them dry, and fashion them into a fall wreath. That woman could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two.

Gourd birdhouses: Larger gourds can be dried, treated, and the shells hollowed out to be used as birdhouses, like in these Amish instructions.

Lemony-fresh smell: Lemon rinds just smell way too good to throw away. Try boiling them in water on the stove top, microwaving them for a minute, or just throwing them in the garbage disposal to freshen the air in the kitchen. And put a couple in the humidifier to make the whole house smell lemony-fresh.

Shinier, healthier houseplants: Use banana peels to shine the leaves on your houseplants — not only will it make them sparkle, but it acts as a natural pesticide and fertilizer.

Compost pile chicken: I like to stuff all kinds of fruit and veggie peels inside a chicken when I’m roasting it in the oven to give it extra flavor. Trimmings from onions, celery, citrus, apples, garlic, etc. can be stuffed in the chicken cavity or sprinkled around a roast. Plus, once baked, the trimmings break down in the compost pile even faster.

And last but not least …. “My papayas are killin’ me!” Rub papaya skins and pulp on the bottoms of your feet to help soften skin and soothe cracked heels. They’re rich in Vitamin A and papain, which breaks down inactive proteins and removes dead skin cells. (Plus it feels pretty cool.)

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/food-waste-recycling#ixzz15LynR5GG

 

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Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Sierra Club Low-Flow Showerheads

Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Sierra Club Low-Flow Showerheads. via Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Sierra Club Low-Flow Showerheads. Owen Bailey shows us how to install a low-flow showerhead to reduce water consumption and … Continue reading

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Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Fireplaces

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Let’s say you have a basic wood-burning fireplace. Charming as it may be, this old-fashioned device pollutes the air and sends a large amount of its heat roaring out the chimney. But there’s no need to get rid of your … Continue reading

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Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Dehumidifiers

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Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Dehumidifiers. via Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Dehumidifiers. via Sierra Club Green Home » Blog Archive » Dehumidifiers. How to deal with dampness High humidity in the summer can … Continue reading

DIY: Concrete Block Planters | Care2 Healthy & Green Living

8 " x 8" x 16" stretcher concre...

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DIY: Concrete Block Planters

posted by Remodelista Nov 5, 2010 10:02 am

filed under: crafts & design, crafts & hobbies, garden & nature, garden party, green home decor, healthy home, household hints, lawns & gardens, materials & architecture, reduce, recycle & reuse, remodelista, concrete blocks, diy, gardening, landscaping, planters, succulents

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On a recent trip to the hardware store, Remodelista editor, Allison, spotted a wall of basalite concrete blocks, which got her thinking about all sorts of possible uses: coffee table base, bookshelf supports, planters. Commonly used to build perimeter walls and outbuildings, basalite blocks function as sculpture when used as planters, especially when stacked randomly. These are cheap from your local hardware store, but keep your eyes peeled for castaways from new construction lots.

Above: If you intend to use the blocks on a wood surface, protect the wood from contact with wet soil by setting the basalite block on top of a sheet of heavy plastic cut to the dimensions of the block base.

Above: Basalite blocks planted with succulents line the stairs to Allison’s home in Mill Valley, California.

Above: Full size basalite blocks (16″x 8″ x 8″) will accommodate two plants; available at Home Depot for $1.48.

Above: Simply Succulents is a good online source for a wide range of succulents; prices start at $5.95 for a single succulent. Succulent Collections are also available, starting at $21.95 for six.

Above: Basalite 8-Inch-Square Half Block to use for one plant; $1.26 at Home Depot.

via DIY: Concrete Block Planters | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

via DIY: Concrete Block Planters | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

DIY: Concrete Block Planters

posted by Remodelista Nov 5, 2010 10:02 am
DIY: Concrete Block Planters

On a recent trip to the hardware store, Remodelista editor, Allison, spotted a wall of basalite concrete blocks, which got her thinking about all sorts of possible uses: coffee table base, bookshelf supports, planters. Commonly used to build perimeter walls and outbuildings, basalite blocks function as sculpture when used as planters, especially when stacked randomly. These are cheap from your local hardware store, but keep your eyes peeled for castaways from new construction lots.

Above: If you intend to use the blocks on a wood surface, protect the wood from contact with wet soil by setting the basalite block on top of a sheet of heavy plastic cut to the dimensions of the block base.

Above: Basalite blocks planted with succulents line the stairs to Allison’s home in Mill Valley, California.

Above: Full size basalite blocks (16″x 8″ x 8″) will accommodate two plants; available at Home Depot for $1.48.

Above: Simply Succulents is a good online source for a wide range of succulents; prices start at $5.95 for a single succulent. Succulent Collections are also available, starting at $21.95 for six.

Above: Basalite 8-Inch-Square Half Block to use for one plant; $1.26 at Home Depot.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/diy-concrete-block-planters.html#ixzz15HD9niN8

13 Ways to Make Cool Reusable Shopping Bags for Free – Planet Green

NYA: Minnesota:young woman learning to sew.

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13 Ways to Make Cool Reusable Shopping Bags for Free – Planet Green.

via 13 Ways to Make Cool Reusable Shopping Bags for Free – Planet Green.

via 13 Ways to Make Cool Reusable Shopping Bags for Free – Planet Green.

    Basic: These require no sewing, or only minimal sewing, and are super easy to throw together.

     

  1. Pillow Cases are about as basic as you can get. You can go no-sew, and simply cut out two holes to make handles. Or you can go a littlefancier by cutting the hem off the opening side and sewing it back on as handles. The no-sew version will create a sturdier bag, but the sewn-on handles will create more room for slinging it over your shoulder.
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  3. Pant Legs, especially wide-leg trousers, make super easy, one-seam bags. Cut the leg off at the crotch. Sew the cuff so that one end of the pant leg is sealed off—that’s the bottom of the bag. To create handles, just cut two holes from the upper end of the pants. You can make your bag as deep or shallow as you’d like, with handles as short, long, wide or skinny as you want, all in about 10 minutes—or even make a drawstring bag from pants.
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  5. Feed Bags or Flour Sacks make great bags as well. You’re not as likely to have these laying around, though bird seed bags, some dog foods, and bulk flour usually offer great packaging for making reusable bags. Follow similar instructions as with the pillow case, or get creative by mixing in other fabrics and materials.
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Do dimmer switches really save energy when lighting a room? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk

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Do dimmer switches really save energy when lighting a room? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk. via Do dimmer switches really save energy when lighting a room? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk. Removing incandescent bulbs is good, … Continue reading

The Perils of Plastic – Environmental Toxins – TIME

Plastic boxes

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The Perils of Plastic – Environmental Toxins – TIME.

via The Perils of Plastic – Environmental Toxins – TIME.

Young children are subjected to plastics in their every day life such as eating utensils, plates, bowls that might contain dangerous toxins.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES DAY FOR TIME

 

On the first Earth Day, celebrated 40 years ago this month, the U.S. was a poisoned nation. Dense air pollution blanketed cities like Los Angeles, where smog alerts were a fact of life. Dangerous pesticides like DDT were still in use, and water pollution was rampant — symbolized by raging fires on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, captured in a famous 1969 story for TIME. But the green movement that was energized by Earth Day — and the landmark federal actions that followed it — changed much of that. Today air pollution is down significantly in most urban areas, the water is cleaner, and even the Cuyahoga is home to fish again. Though climate change looms as a long-term threat, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day will see a much cleaner country.

But if the land is healing, Americans may be sickening. Since World War II, production of industrial chemicals has risen rapidly, and the U.S. generates or imports some 42 billion lb. (19 billion kg) of them per day, leaving Americans awash in a sea of synthetics. These aren’t the sorts of chemicals that come to mind when we picture pollution — huge plants spilling contaminated wastewater into rivers. Rather, they’re the molecules that make good on the old “better living through chemistry” promise, appearing in items like unbreakable baby bottles and big-screen TVs. Those chemicals have a habit of finding their way out of everyday products and into the environment — and ultimately into living organisms. A recent biomonitoring survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found traces of 212 environmental chemicals in Americans — including toxic metals like arsenic and cadmium, pesticides, flame retardants and even perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel. “It’s not the environment that’s contaminated so much,” says Dr. Bruce Lanphear, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Environmental Health Center. “It’s us.”(See pictures of the world’s most polluted places.)

As scientists get better at detecting the chemicals in our bodies, they’re discovering that even tiny quantities of toxins can have a potentially serious impact on our health — and our children’s future. Chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates — key ingredients in modern plastics — may disrupt the delicate endocrine system, leading to developmental problems. A host of modern ills that have been rising unchecked for a generation — obesity, diabetes, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — could have chemical connections. “We don’t give environmental exposure the attention it deserves,” says Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center. “But there’s an emerging understanding that kids are uniquely susceptible to environmental hazards.”(See the top 10 household toxins.)

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1976909_1976908,00.html#ixzz14XoYTd7c