Posts Tagged ‘insect repellants’

An Eco-Correct Labor Day Cookout!

This Labor Day, think green and have an eco-correct cookout.  How?  It’s easy —  

For the meal –

Start with a visit to your local farmer’s market for fresh local fruits and vegetables so abundant this time of year. Make sure to include delicious and nutritious vine ripened tomatoes and watermelon to your meal – they contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which may also help ward off sunburn!  If possible, serve organic meat, pork and poultry.

For the grill –

A charcoal chimney is an easy way to start your grill and much safer than lighter fluid if you don’t have a gas grill.  Make sure you use natural, hardwood charcoal instead of the conventional briquettes.  Fill at least half your grill with produce.  Grilled vegetables are not only healthy and low calorie, but also don’t produce the carcinogens that can form on grilled meats.  When grilling meat, always cook over a low-to-medium flame and avoid over-charring.  Flare-ups and smoking oil create carcinogens.  Marinate or baste with oil, honey or a barbeque sauce to provide a barrier and help prevent charring.

For the tableware –

I prefer reusable dinner plates and utensils, but if you are having a crowd it is easier to use disposable.  Make sure they are biocompostable or made from recycled plastic.  Preserve Products makes plates, utensils and storage containers that are made in the US from 100% BPA-free recycled plastic and are dishwasher safe.  (They also make great toothbrushes and razors made from recycled yogurt cups.) Whole Foods carries the line, but you can also order them fromPreserveProducts.com.  Cloth napkins are a nice touch, but if you prefer disposable, you can easily find them made from recycled or tree-free paper at most supermarkets.

Repellants and Sunscreens –

Chemical free sunscreen and insect repellants are a much healthier alternative than conventional products.  Badger makes effective, non-toxic repellants and sunscreens.  Visit safecosmetics.org to check the toxicity of your brand.

Activities that get you moving –

Plan activities to get your guests moving and not eating and drinking so much.  If your cookout is near the water, take advantage of the end of summer for swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking. If not, set up a volleyball/badminton net and get the teens involved in a tournament.  Croquet appeals to all ages and corn hole is a fun new rage!  A nature walk or an outside scavenger hunt is a great way to get the kids interested in the outdoors.

And, of course don’t forget to compost food waste and recycle cans, bottles and other recyclable items!

Whatever you do to honor the end of summer, make sure you are good to the earth.  Remember, what is good for the earth is good for you and what is good for you is good for the earth.  Have fun and happy Labor Day!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Clever Uses for Spent Spices

I have many more spices in my spice cabinet than I actually use, and most have been there for years. Ground spices lose their volatile oils after a time and shouldn’t be kept longer than a year or two.   I’ve even heard 6 months.  Many of mine are way past their potency and won’t add much flavoring to food; yet, I can’t just throw them away.   I recently read an article with some clever uses for old spices, a few of which I want to share with you.

To freshen your carpet (and your vacuum), you can sprinkle old spices like cinnamon, thyme, cloves or nutmeg directly on your carpet and then vacuum up.  What a perfect alternative to a toxic room freshener!  Try a small area first to make sure the spice colors won’t stain your carpet before applying to the entire rug.

Strong-smelling spices are often used in insect repellents, and the same theory holds true in the garden.  Sprinkle your old pepper, oregano, sage, peppermint, cayenne, chili powder, etc. around your rows of plants to keep insect pests away.  It won’t hurt your plant and is definitely worth a try.  Gardening is often a battle between mother nature and man, like on our farm where we have at least 25 geese and goslings, as well as rabbits, hedgehogs and even a fox who all seem to eat the vegetables as quickly as they come up.  Chili powder, red pepper and cayenne apparently keep squirrels, rabbits and other animals away as well.  I just spread old pepper flakes around our corn – I’ll keep you posted about its effectiveness.

English: Pepper yet to be ripened, taken by me...

Here’s an unlikely tip. According to Organic Authority, adding a few teaspoons of black pepper to your laundry load will keep colors bright and prevent fading.  Why not?  It’s certainly not toxic and may prolong the life of your clothes.

Enhance your summer cookouts by adding your old spices to the charcoal.  Cooking them helps to release the remaining volatile oils. You’ll love the extra boost of flavor and the aroma.  You can also toss freshly picked herbs right into the charcoal.  I especially like rosemary.

The pigment from nutmeg, paprika, cinnamon and turmeric make safe, natural paints when mixed with water.  Or place old spices in a sachet to freshen your dresser drawers.

English: spices: (Turkey, travel, Istanbul, sp...

Specialty tea and spice stores selling small jars of spices or spices in bulk are gaining popularity.  Farmers’ markets sometimes sell spices too.  I prefer to buy them in smaller containers so I know that I can use them up before they lose their potency.   But if not, I really like the idea of reusing old spices in fun ways.

Information compiled from Earth911.com, Kathryn Sukalich, 10 Ways to Use Up Old Spices.