How to make vegetable broth with scraps to reduce food waste

May 22, 2020 by  
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Food waste is a major dilemma in today’s world, and throwing out even vegetable scraps contributes to the problem. Not to mention that throwing out unwanted food is also a huge waste of money. Here’s one small way to do your part —  make your own  vegetable (or meat) broths and stocks from scratch. It’s surprisingly easy to make broth and relies on bits and pieces of  veggies , meats and even odds and ends like cheese rinds, all of which would otherwise be thrown in the landfill. Plus, you’ll save money and create a much more flavorful broth than you can find at the store. Each time, the broth will taste slightly different, too, depending on the combination of scraps you have on hand. Get ready to make flavorful, comforting recipes with this tutorial on how to make your own broth to reduce  food waste . Related: Your guide to preserving, storing and canning food The first step is to find a large, freezer-safe container to store your scraps until you build up enough to produce a rich broth. Of course, much of the internet will say to throw it in a  plastic  resealable bag, but here at Inhabitat, we strongly encourage finding a glass jar or silicone resealable bag instead. The hardest part of the process is remembering to save those stems and peelings for the broth. If you are accustomed to tossing unwanted bits, like pepper stems or onion skins, straight into the garbage can or  compost bin , it will take a conscious effort to train your brain and hands to grab up those scraps and throw them into the freezer container. The freezer will preserve the scraps until you are ready to make a broth. Another good candidate for your scrap container? Veggies that are on their last leg at the end of the week. If you didn’t finish those carrots and celery, chop them into smaller pieces, and toss them in the freezer.  Wilting herbs , cheese rinds and meat bones are also fair game, depending on your dietary needs and what you have available. After a few weeks (or less depending on how many people are in your home!), you will be left with a full container packed with flavorful bits and pieces. It’s time to get cooking! Break out a stockpot and  start sauteing  those frozen vegetable scraps with oil and salt. Cook for just a few minutes before adding several cups of water (about 10 cups should do, but add more if you have more scraps and a larger stockpot). Then, simmer away! Simmer those scraps in water for 30 minutes to an hour; then be sure to let it cool slightly. Don’t forget to taste the broth — add more herbs, salt or even nutritional yeast if it needs a flavor boost. Next, remove the vegetable bits for composting. Strain the broth into another pot to make sure all of the scraps have been removed. Once the broth has completely cooled, pour it into airtight containers — glass jars work well — and store in the freezer for up to a month. Then, anytime you want to make an easy soup for dinner (we recommend these  vegan slow cooker soup  recipes) or even more complex, brothy meals, you can grab your own flavorful, zero-waste broth as the base. Images via Monika Schröder , Hebi. B , Rita E. and Snow Pea & Bok Choi

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How to make vegetable broth with scraps to reduce food waste

LEED-seeking apartments house formerly homeless families in San Francisco

May 22, 2020 by  
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David Baker Architects has completed 222 Taylor, an affordable housing complex in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Designed with more than 100 affordable housing units for low-income households and families and individuals who formerly experienced homelessness, the development is a champion of humanitarian architecture. The project also embodies sustainable principles, including high-density living and energy-efficient design. The nine-story mid-rise building is on track to achieve LEED for Homes Mid-Rise and EnergyStar Multifamily High-Rise certifications.  Located in the heart of San Francisco, 222 Taylor replaces a surface parking lot with a mixed-use building comprising ground-level retail as well as studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units on the upper floors. Of the building’s 113 affordable homes , approximately one-fourth of them are permanently reserved for families who previously experienced homelessness. Because the building sits just two blocks from the BART & Muni Station and the Market Street corridor, no parking is provided; instead, the development offers 114 secure bicycle parking spaces. Related: The Union Flats is a LEED Platinum-certified housing community David Baker Architects designed 222 Taylor to respond to its site context in both appearance — the variegated brick facade references the local masonry — and orientation, which is informed by solar studies to maximize access to natural light. Ample glazing along the ground level also activates the street edge to build a connection with the neighborhood. The project cultivates a sense of community with the design of a flexible central courtyard , complete with ample seating and play zones. The courtyard serves as a hub to the bike parking room, laundry, community room and shared kitchen. Walls in the airy entry lobby are decorated with super-graphics made from enlarged watercolors by a local artist. The building will eventually be topped with a roof farm for additional outdoor community space. + David Baker Architects Photography by Bruce Damonte via David Baker Architects

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LEED-seeking apartments house formerly homeless families in San Francisco

How to replace single-use and plastic items in the kitchen

May 15, 2020 by  
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Scientists are predicting that by the year 2050, the ocean may have  more plastic than fish . While countries around the world are beginning to take a stand against  single-use  items and plastics in grocery stores, restaurants and retail chains, there are still measures that consumers can take within their very own households.  The kitchen is one of the most notorious spots in the house for waste, whether it is food waste, excessive  plastic  usage or single-use materials. Swapping some of your everyday kitchen items with reusable or eco-friendly alternatives is a great way to get started on (or continue) your sustainable-living journey. Related: Cut plastic from your home and inspire your family to live plastic-free Ditch paper towels One of the easiest eco-friendly kitchen swaps comes in the form of the humble paper towel roll. Usually stored right next to the sink or the stove, grabbing a sheet or two is almost second nature to those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Invest in a stack of high-quality, reusable microfiber cloths for cleaning instead of reaching for a paper towel every time, and switch out paper napkins or paper towels with reusable cloth napkins. Simply toss them in the laundry basket and reuse. Swap out plastic wrap Plastic wrap has become essential in the kitchen for keeping food fresh and wrapping up leftovers (because no one wants to  waste food ). The handy alternative of reusable beeswax wrap is making huge waves in the sustainable-living community, and for good reason. You can wrap pretty much anything in beeswax wrap that you would normally use plastic wrap for, and the food will stay just as fresh. One of our favorite brands,  Bee’s Wrap , is made with organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. It is washable, reusable, compostable and comes in different sizes and specialty wraps for bread, sandwiches and more. Replace parchment paper and aluminum foil A reusable mat or roasting sheet is a great alternative to parchment paper or tin foil, especially for baking. Non-stick  silicone  mats can be reused thousands of times in lieu of oil, which is especially handy for those who are trying to stick to certain diets. Take proper care of it, and a good silicone mat can last for years! Nix plastic baggies Plastic sandwich baggies come in handy for packing lunch and smaller food leftovers. With a little extra effort, a couple of re-sealable silicone bags can be just as convenient and rewarding. It is also a nice way of introducing sustainable living to your children by teaching them to bring the reusable bags back home instead of tossing  disposable plastic  ones in the trash like most of their friends. Substitute plastic containers Swap out your cheap plastic Tupperware for tempered glass containers. Tempered glass containers keep food fresh and are  non-toxic , recyclable and food-safe (even in the freezer). Opt for a collection of compact, lightweight containers with easy-seal lids. Even better, since most types of tempered glass used for food storage containers have been treated to withstand heating, most are microwavable and dishwasher safe. Trade out plastic coffee pods When these little pods first came into the market, it seemed too good to be true for busy consumers eager to skip a step or two in their morning coffee routine. However, most plastic single-use coffee pods such as K-Cups and Nespresso Pods end up in landfills or oceans rather than being recycled. This plastic pollution is small enough to quickly break down into microplastics that have the potential to harm wildlife. In contrast, refillable coffee pods can be cleaned and reused daily. For those who compost, several companies are also beginning to make biodegradable and compostable pods available. Upgrade from plastic ice packs Swap out your plastic or disposable ice packs for stainless steel ones for use in lunch boxes or coolers. The stainless steel packs are filled with distilled water and freeze in just a few hours, so you can easily use them for your child’s lunches or keep one in the freezer for achy muscles. The material makes them  100% recyclable  at the end of the product’s lifespan.  Try out sustainable sponges Most kitchen sponges are made of polyester or nylon, giving them a considerable environmental footprint, especially if used daily. There are several alternatives to sponges out there for those who want to make the switch to a more  sustainable  dish-washing option. Try out cloth or reusable sponges and silicone scrubbers instead, or use a natural or plant-based compostable sponge. There are also machine washable cotton sponges on the market as well as copper scours that can be recycled. Forget the plastic grocery bags Plenty of Americans have already made the switch to reusable shopping or grocery bags (some states are even making them mandatory). Smaller plastic bags used for bulk items and produce are still popular, however. A couple of reusable and washable produce bags like  these  will greatly decrease your plastic use, especially if you eat a lot of fruits and veggies . Make sure you purchase bags with the tare weight on the tag so your grocer can easily find it for weighted items. Lose the plastic soap bottles Dishwashing soap blocks produce a lather that cuts grime and grease on dishes just as well as the liquid dish soap that comes in plastic containers. The popular  No Tox Life  vegan dish soap block is made of moisturizing coconut oil that won’t dry out your hands and also claims to take stains out of laundry and clean countertops. With alternatives like these, you can make a strong effort toward lowering your single-use plastic consumption. Images via Pexels, Pixabay, Randy Read , and Kevin Casper

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How to replace single-use and plastic items in the kitchen

Your guide to preserving, storing and canning food

April 30, 2020 by  
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If you’ve stepped foot in a grocery store or filled an Instacart recently, you know there are a variety of items that are in low supply. In fact, butter and sweet pepper shortages appear to be a sign of these very uncertain coronavirus times. So whether you’re looking for ways to preserve what you already have in the house or are setting goals to be better about reducing food waste in the future, we’ve got some pointers regarding the proper way to save everything from milk to peaches so you can enjoy them down the road.  Freezer  Your freezer is a golden opportunity to store ripening fruit and wilting greens . If you fear your container of strawberries, mango, or pineapple is a day away from passing its prime, cut it into cubes and put it on a cookie sheet. Flash freeze the cubes and then transfer them to a freezer safe bag. Use fruit in smoothies, compote, or pies later on. Avocados can be frozen in peeled halves or mash them and store in a bag or container to use for guacamole at a later date.  Related: Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall Some dairy products can also be stored in the freezer, although it may change the consistency a bit. Butter can go directly in, boxes or plastic and all. Milk can be repackaged or frozen whole. It will expand, but that’s what those divots on the sides of the container are for, really. Cheese also stores well, but maintains a better texture if grated first. Be sure to package tightly and remove air before freezing.  Vegetables and freezers make great partners. Some foods first need to be blanched in order to start the cooking process. This simply means steaming or boiling them for a few minutes before cooking and prepping in containers or bags for the freezer. Blanch asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, okra, peas, summer squash, brussel sprouts, artichoke hearts, and cauliflower . Blanching times range from one to six minutes. Some sources will tell you to also blanch corn, sweet peppers, onions, and tomatoes, but it’s not really necessary. Garlic bulbs can be frozen with or without the skin. A note: the purpose of blanching is to break down the enzymes that cause decay. While unblanched frozen food is safe to eat, the consistency and/or color may suggest otherwise.  To prepare for freezing, remove the core from tomatoes, then cut and place into a freezer safe bag. Peel and cut onions before freezing. You can combine onions with a variety of colored sweet peppers for an instant fajita mixture.  Pickling Pickling is a fermentation process that has been around for generations. It’s simple to do, although some processes are fast and others require patient observation while the process takes place. Pickle red and yellow onion, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and other favorite veggies by first cleaning and cutting into slices or spears.  One technique is called quick pickling. This results in a snackable product in just a few days, but lacks the deeply pickled taste of long-fermentation. Combine equal parts vinegar (any type) and water. You can add herbs, spices, garlic, or ginger to create unique flavor profiles. For a combination of one cup water to one cup vinegar, add one tablespoon kosher salt or two teaspoons pickling sale and an optional one tablespoon of table sugar. Boil the mixture until the dry ingredients dissolve. Stuff vegetables into clean canning jars and top with the boiling liquid, filling within ½ inch of the top. Seal with a lid and refrigerate. Wait a minimum of 48 hours before opening. The longer they sit, the fuller the flavor will be.  To ferment the traditional way, use a large crock or other container that can be out of your kitchen circulation for a few weeks. There are many, many recipes for different foods and flavors but the basic process is again to prep foods by cleaning and disposing of end pieces . Slice in the shape you prefer. Then make a brine with water, acidic vinegar, and salt. Combine in the crock and let them sit a few weeks. Once fermented, pack into jars. Different foods call for different processing times, but typically range from 15-30 minutes.  Canning Canning foods is an excellent preservation technique. Many vegetables can be made in a pressure cooker or instant pot. To can green beans, for example, select fresh beans. You will need one to three pounds per quart jar. Blanch and then cut them into bite-size pieces. Pack them into hot jars, add salt, and cover with hot water. Release trapped air from the jar and leave about an inch of space at the top. Place the jars into a pressure cooker and follow directions to create the proper amount of cooking pressure based on your model. Use caution when handling hot items.  Fruits, jams and tomatoes are processed in a simple water bath and create a plethora of food options with no waste . When your tomatoes go crazy at the end of summer, you can also make a variety of sauces to get you through the winter. Try salsa, marinara sauce, ketchup, bbq sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, etc. All of these items are cooked in a pot and then added to hot, sterile jars. Wipe the top of the jar with a clean cloth and seal with lid and ring immediately. Then submerge into a water bath for the recommended amount of time. The process is similar for peaches, pears, jams, and applesauce, with a bit of variation in the preparation. You can even make apple pie filling and can it to reheat and serve over ice cream or add to a pie crust during the upcoming months.  Proper Storage Even if you don’t plan to process your food, you can make it last longer with proper storage. Hearty onions can be stored for ten months or more in the proper conditions. The ideal location is a cellar or shed that maintains a temperature of around 40 degrees F. Also stored in a cool, dark location, garlic will store for several months. For both foods, be sure they are properly cured (dried) before storage. Potatoes can also join the cold and dark party where they should remain fresh for at least three months.  Images via Source Name 

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Your guide to preserving, storing and canning food

40 lifeless tiger cubs discovered in Thailand temple’s freezer

June 1, 2016 by  
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After officials began to remove tigers from Thailand’s Tiger Temple this week, they discovered 40 dead cubs in a freezer. The temple, marketed as a sanctuary, has been accused of animal abuse , wildlife trafficking , and breeding tigers illegally. Monks at the temple deny the accusations. Controversy has shrouded the temple for years. Visitors reported tigers seemed drugged, ex-workers said they weren’t fed properly, lived in concrete cages, and received beatings from so-called caretakers. Others suspected illegal breeding to sell tiger parts utilized in traditional medicines. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in 2007 there were 18 tigers at the temple, but by this year that number rose to 147. Wildlife groups have been working for the tigers’ release since 2001. Related: Tiger farming is cultivating a taste for luxury tiger products in China – and increasing poaching The BBC reports that Thailand’s Department of National Parks (DNP) attempted to seize the tigers but multiple times the monks would not allow them to enter the temple. This current raid is successful because the DNP came armed with a court warrant. So far dozens of tigers have been rescued, but babies were found in the freezer. Police Colonel Bandith Meungsukhum told AFP that the find would lead to criminal charges. Officials were unsure how long the cubs had been frozen, but many appeared to have been alive for only one or two days. Reporters and wildlife officials noted other animal body parts and a dead boar in the freezer. The temple says several years ago a vet told them to keep the cubs, “probably” to silence accusations they were trafficking the cubs. According to a post on their Facebook page, the Tiger Temple said the DNP knew about the babies inside the freezer and had even entered the freezer a few times before. Deputy Director-General Adisorn Nuchdamrong told Reuters , “They must be of some value for the temple to keep them. But for what is beyond me…The temple has notified us when grown tigers die, but never the cubs.” Via the BBC Images via Xiquinho Silva on Flickr , screenshot , and Eli Duke on Flickr

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40 lifeless tiger cubs discovered in Thailand temple’s freezer

INFOGRAPHIC: Eco-savvy hacks for cleaning your kitchen

April 28, 2015 by  
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Did you know that popping a tab of Alka-Seltzer into the back of your fridge will eliminate odors within 24 hours? Or that adding a packet of lemon-lime Kool-Aid to your dishwasher’s rinse cycle will get rid of stains and mineral deposits? This infographic has a ton of tricks and tips on how to clean and refresh your kitchen without the use of harmful chemical cleaners . Read on past the jump for the full image—your kitchen will thank you! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Eco-savvy hacks for cleaning your kitchen Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Alka-Seltzer , baking soda , cleaning hacks , Consolidated Foodservice , freezer , fridge , infographic , kitchen cleaning hacks , kitchen cleaning infographic , Kool-Aid , refrigerator , salt , stove , Tang , vinegar

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INFOGRAPHIC: Eco-savvy hacks for cleaning your kitchen

Texas A&M students design much-needed new hospital for Roatán Island, Honduras

April 28, 2015 by  
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Roatán Island lies around 35 miles off the coast of Honduras , and is home to a population of some 100,000 people—yet its outdated hospital has only 38 beds. According to Dr. Raymond Cherrington, a family physician at the hospital, this means that there are sometimes three patients in a single bed, creating a situation that is not only uncomfortable but hazardous as close proximity heightens the risk of infection. But, with support from non-profit Global Healing and architecture firm HKS , 27 environmental design students at Texas A&M have created seven proposals for a new, larger facility that is designed to suit the needs of doctors and patients alike, while addressing the particular needs of the Honduran climate. Read the rest of Texas A&M students design much-needed new hospital for Roatán Island, Honduras Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architecture student design , Design for Health , environmental design , global healing , hks architects , hks hospital , honduras hospital , humanitarian architecture , local materials , roatan island , roatan island hospital , sustianable materials , texas a&m

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Texas A&M students design much-needed new hospital for Roatán Island, Honduras

The Fuccillo Bin Stores Compost Material Odor-Free in Your Freezer

September 23, 2010 by  
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At home composting would be so much easier if it didn’t generate all that stink. Good news – you can swat all those fruit flies away, assured that your food scraps can finally be turned into something sweet for the Earth without that stench. Designed by Fuccillo Studio , the Freezer Compost Bin is an odor-free way to compost in your kitchen.

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The Fuccillo Bin Stores Compost Material Odor-Free in Your Freezer

BMW Unveils Their New Electric Mini Scooter E

September 23, 2010 by  
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If you’ve been holding off on purchasing an electric scooter, this may be the beauty that you’ve been waiting for. The Mini Scooter E by  BMW is a retro plug-in electric vehicle inspired by the  Mini Cooper, just unveiled today in London. Each of the E Series’ three scooter designs will feature the same circular instruments and speedometer found on the famed vehicle, and a lithium ion-power source.

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BMW Unveils Their New Electric Mini Scooter E

How can I use up/reuse snow?

December 21, 2009 by  
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Teehee, a bit of a silly one – the white stuff does have a tendency to bring out the excitable child in me but it’s kinda valid too… For the last few days, we’ve a few inches of snow – as much as most of the UK ever gets really but since I grew up on a largely snow-free warm coast, I’m making the most of what we’ve got. It is, of course, an excellent entertainment source – snowballs, snowmen… I’ve also been watching it fall with lovestruck eyes, crunching about on it outside with glee and *repeatedly* commenting on how wonderful everywhere looks. Many many hours of free entertainment.

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How can I use up/reuse snow?

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