Trying to live a zero-waste lifestyle is not easy. We are all aware of the huge plastic crisis ruining not only our environment, but our home. How many times have you walked in a grocery store to see that most of the vegetables are wrapped in plastic? I mean seriously, there are much cheaper and environmentally friendly ways available to store food. Plastic free ways to store food is something we should take into account.
As part of my Zero-Waste Journey I would like to share are a few inexpensive Zero-Waste tips to store food without the use of plastic.
Tip #1: Plastic Free Storage for Fresh Herbs
Storing Parsley and Cilantro:
- It’s recommended to try and keep these herbs in the refrigerator with a little, but not too much moisture.
- Pick the leaves off the stems. (This might sound weird, but worth it – the stems can be used in soups or beans.) Take the leaves and layer them in a glass container with a small dry cloth and a slightly damp cloth on the top. The little bit of humidity keeps the herbs from wilting.
- Parsley can also be stored upright in a glass of water on the counter or get creative and use it for a pretty dinner table decoration. Make sure to change the water daily and make sure that there are no leaves below the water line.
Storing Chives, Sage, Thyme and Rosemary:
- These herbs last longer stored dry, unlike the parsley and cilantro it would be best to have them wrapped in a dry cloth and in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you are unsure, decide whether the herbs are ‘SOFT herbs’ or ‘HARD herbs’ and store accordingly. Your SOFT herbs would be parsley, mint, dill, cilantro and basil. Your HARD herbs would be oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.
- Washing and drying your herbs before storing them helps them last even longer.
Tip #2: Store Food in Glass Jars or Glass Storage Containers
- Glass jars can be considered the symbol of zero-waste movement. Want to know why? Off the bat, glass jars are readily available, extremely useful and very versatile. If you were thinking of getting rid of your glass jars, I would strongly advise against it.
- They can be used to store food, taking lunch to work or keeping your pantry neat and organized, use them for holding all your snacks or storing your leftovers in the fridge.
- Glass jars can also be used to store food in the freezer. FYI, if you are thinking of using your glass jars for freezing take note of the following; Ensure to chill the contents before putting it in the freezer. Don’t over fill the jar as food expands when it is frozen, so my advice is to loosen the lid a bit until fully frozen, to allow for expansion. Let’s be serious, you can’t use a glass jar once and get rid of it. No glass jar deserves to be used only once. After all, this is the zero-waste life.
- As far as plastic free ways to store food goes, glass is one of your best bets. Besides all of its other benefits, it’s REUSABLE.
Glass Storage Containers
- Glass storage containers (ex. Pyrex Containers) help keep food fresh, tasty, nutritious and clean for longer periods. Storing extra quantities of food can save you a pretty penny and by storing leftovers helps avoid food waste.
- Use your glass containers to preserve your pantry foods such as rice, grains, flour, tea spices and other kitchen ingredients that require storage.
- Glass storage containers are reusable and is probably the best way to reduce our environmental impact that is associated with throwing away single-use containers.
- Glass storage containers are loved by thousands of people, and the best of all, it’s an on-the-go glass container. These containers are thoroughly tested – dropped, placed in bags on their side, heated and frozen — and they hold up every time with no leaks thanks to the awesome snap-lock tops on the lid. And being BPA-free, glass storage containers are safe to use in the oven, microwave and freezer. By using glass storage containers, you can cook, store and reheat all in the same container.
Tip #3: Use Beeswax Food Wraps
Beeswax food wraps are made from beeswax (I’m sure you knew that!) and a type of fabric, usually cotton or hemp. Beeswax wraps have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and locks in moisture because beeswax wraps are watertight – but does not let it build up. This means that the wraps allow the food to breathe naturally, something that plastic wraps being airtight, can’t do. Look at it this way, beeswax wraps are like a fruit’s skin protecting the inside of the fruit meaning beeswax wraps act like a natural barrier. And when it comes to plastic free ways to store food, these are the BEST for wrapping sandwiches – the office worker’s must have!
Beeswax Wraps’ Uses
Replacing your plastic wraps with beeswax wraps and putting it around bread, cheese, fruits, veggies, etc. It’s also an excellent way to seal containers with food, like bowls of salad in your fridge.
By using your hands to mold the wrap around your food, the heat coming from your hands will make the wrap grip tightly around the food you are wrapping or container you are using.
Caring and Maintaining Your Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are very easy to clean and take care of. Always wash your beeswax wraps in cold water with a mild soap and let air dry. Do not use warm water to wash your wraps as the warm water will melt the beeswax. Also take serious note that I would not recommend using your beeswax wraps for meat and fish.
Why Use Beeswax Wraps Instead of Plastic Wraps?
Imagine walking between beehives on a bee farm. That is the smell of beeswax wraps. They are biodegradable, compostable and reusable. Can we say the same of plastic wraps?
I love beeswax wraps! Not only are they natural and reduce waste but they are also a big part of a global movement that cares about sustainability and Eco-friendliness!
Until next time!