This week I’m presenting a few more things I tried to make myself. In order to buy less and waste less, I’ve found many recipes for numerous delicious foods made from scratch – so far I’ve only tried a few, but I’m amazed by about how easy it sometimes is, and how convenient our world has become that we don’t bother making these things anymore.
I also want to feature another beautiful experience that comes with going against convenience: failure. Even though most new things I try go fairly well, there’s always some risk and sometimes it just rightout doesn’t work. More on this below!
Food No. 1: Powdered Sugar
I have to admit I didn’t even try this yet, but after looking online and seeing 100% positive reviews, I place my trust into the never-erring internet and tell you the biggest secret ever:
Powdered sugar (or icing sugar, or caster sugar, for that matter) is simply sugar that’s been put in a blender.
Blended sugar. You read that right. Sometimes blended longer, sometimes mixed with a bit of corn flour so it won’t stick together. If you don’t believe me, search for “How to make powdered sugar” and be amazed. Sure, for the zero-waste balance it’s hardly a difference (I currently buy both in paper bags), but it just saves storage space and hassle. For example, I hardly use powdered sugar, but have a huge bag sitting in the cupboard from last time I made icing, because I couldn’t buy a smaller quantity.
There you have it. Make the best of it.
Food No. 2: (Vegetable) Stock
One of the first things I would say to make when trying to reduce your waste. It does this in two ways: using your (food) waste to make it, as well as eliminating your (packaging) waste when not buying it. Win-win.
Well, here comes my previously mentioned failure story. Meanwhile, as you can see in the picture above, I’ve managed to make some stock myself, and while it’s not amazing, it still helped me looking at my previous attempts with a laugh.
First of all, how to make it:
When chopping veg, just keep your food waste such as onion skins and ends, carrot peels and ends, and some other stuff, and stick them in a container in the freezer. Golden rule: start with onion, carrot, celery, and then think about other veg. When the container gets full, put all the veg straight in a pot and cover with some water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 1h, strain, there you go. Not too hard, is it? You can also try to reduce it down in order to have less water in the stock. And of course you can freeze any stock that’s left over. PS: For more detailed instructions, have a look here.
Here comes my failure story with a good piece of advice: you cannot just stick any veg in. Although some pages say it’s fine, some veggies are simply a no-go. I knew that, and still made the mistake of putting in a bit too much of the not-so-good stuff (i.e. non-carrot/onion/celery stuff). It looked very pretty in the pot, so why not? I regretted it 1h later when my self-made stock turned out to smell pretty awful. (Yes, I did pour it down the drain. Poor stock.)
My other (previous attempt) turned out fairly okay, but once again I ignored the Golden rule and left out the celery as I had none. The stock, as mentioned, was just about okay, but when reducing it, I forgot it on the stove, just to return to some ashes a few hours later. Oops.
Food No. 3: Vinegar
My personal favourite and so super super easy! There is a huge amount of recipes all around the web, and I mainly just made it up as I went along, but you can follow the steps from Zero Waste Chef in the recipe here.
Basically, I peeled and cored 5 apples and used the apples for cooking (yum). The peels & cores I then put in a large jar and covered them with water. I added about 1 tbsp of sugar and covered it with a handkerchief (no lid!). Stir everyday and after 7-10 days strain the apples. Fast forward another couple of weeks (where I’m at now), and I have some already fairly strong vinegar, sitting in a cupboard and getting more and more sour all by itself. When it’s done, I’ll use it for vinegar hair conditioner or cleaning almost everything in this place. I won’t use this batch for cooking, as the apples weren’t organic, and since I decided to use the peels I don’t know how much residue of chemicals/ pesticides/ etc. is still left. So far we still have some store-bought vinegar, and when it runs out I’ll make another batch with organic apples.
Food No. 4: Crisps
Okay, this is just another failure story. As I tried to make crisps myself, I never actually bothered to look up any recipes. With fatal consequences. Every single one of my tries failed. I’m pretty relaxed about it and feel rather amused at it. Here is a picture to share with everybody who is sometimes frustrated about making things from scratch and not always succeeding.
It’s not the end of the world, and just part of the learning process. Uh, and by the way, does somebody want to link their home made crisp recipe in the comments so I’m no longer wasting those pretty potatoes? 😀
Which other things do you like to make yourself? I’ve seen awesome people who even make their own cheese – respect. Next time I’ll let you know how it worked out with self-made tortillas, apparently just as super easy as everything here!