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Summer’s here! Bring out the sun beds, dig out that bathing suit, lather yourself in sun screen and just lie under the sun forgetting all about deadlines and alarm clocks. Well… not exactly, but another beautiful season is upon us and with it come different patterns and habits. As I was daydreaming of all the things that I will be able to do in summer like to go out more, hang out on the beach, and reclaim the wonderful afternoon siesta, I started to think of good habits to pack for this summer. I’m going to share a few of them with you here.

At home

Shed those extra pounds

With a new season it’s always great to look into your closet and see which pieces of clothing you haven’t worn. A simple trick is to put the hanger facing outwards (opposite to what you’d normally do) when hanging clothes on the rail and if after the season they are still turned outwards, then you don’t really use is.

Keep it cool

Higher temperatures mean food can spoil quicker. It is therefore crucial to wash and store all food well. Remember to look at our blog on how to store food properly. If you get distracted and find your lovely fruits covered in dark spots, don’t worry about it. Just cut out the good fleshy bits add some lemon juice and voila you have a nice refreshing smoothie OR simply gather those lonesome fruit, slice them razor thin, add some red wine, brandy, brown sugar and lots of ice for a simple summer sangria


© MollieKate

Chop – Drizzle – Eat

Let’s face it, it’s warm, we’re lazy so we might not feel like making a proper meal. Summer is perfect to enjoy a nice crunchy salad with all kinds of vegetables, beans, herbs, grains, nuts, and lentils. Scrape your fridge or cupboards, chop and mix everything and then drizzle with a lovely dressing. You can opt for one of my personal favorites: Tahini dressing, or Fresh mint dressing. Yum!

Out and about

Stay safe

The sun’s warmth is lovely but not its UVA rays. It’s important to protect our skin with face and body sunscreen as well as after-sun. Unfortunately, commercial sunscreens have a huge deteriorating impact on marine life and are linked with the destruction of the coral reef (Danovaro, R. et al, 2008). Fortunately, there are eco and even zero waste options which you can make yourself.

Tidy up!

Clear blue waters, soft green grass or beautiful clear sands. These splendid places offer us moments of peace and a place to have fun with our friends, so why not give something back? While you’re at the beach or park you can  spend 5 minutes cleaning up and even join the social media trend #5minutecleanup. It’s quick and very effective, and just think if all of us got into this habit!


© Giovanni_Tafa

Guilt free Ice cream

It doesn’t matter if it’s  vanilla or a triple chocolate chip cookie madness, ice cream is EVERYTHING in summer. However, this icy creamy goodness comes packaged in plastic that we unwrap and throw out before devouring it. We can easily avoid this by buying ice cream cones so everything is consumed and no more plastic. Yes please!

Going away

Pack it

It’s not just your luggage that needs to be packed, so does your food. Before heading out make sure to freeze what can be frozen i.e. dairy products, some vegetables, all fruits and more. Soft herbs like basil, mint and parsley don’t hold up well frozen, so chop and mix them with olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray.  Another option is to see what food items can still be eaten and give them away to a friend or neighbour who will be more than happy to receive them!

Be prepared!

– The city;

A mason jar and a tea towel go a long way. These two items can save you a lot of unnecessary waste. The mason jar is perfect to keep beverages, ice cream scoops, and small snacks, while the tea towel is great to hold bread, croissants, fruits, or lay out for a mini picnic. These take minimal space and can be carried around the city in your favorite tote bag ♡

– Camping;

This requires a bit more preparation. The basic items would be a good water jug which keeps your drinks chilled or hot, as needed. Then reusable cutlery and a compostable plate (made from bamboo or cornstarch; I know incredible!). Finally, your toiletry kit; bamboo toothbrush & holder, toothpaste tablets, deodorant, bug spray, moisturizer, and sunscreen which can all be DIYed.


© GoingZeroWasteBlog

© GoingZeroWasteBlog

Summer is all about having fun, and that’s what our journey to reduce food waste should be about. It’s all about discovering alternatives and being creative with what you have. When I say you it is not just one individual but ALL of you who are reflecting on your personal habits but also the collective potential to make a positive change.

Who’s a self sufficient responsible zero waster? You are!

Sources

Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching by Promoting Viral Infections ( Danovaro, R. et al, 2008)

Going zero waste

Cookie and Kate recipes

It’s this season again. Elderflowers are blooming in every park and their white heads decorate the bushes. When you cycle or walk past them you can smell their enchanting scent. For me, the blossoming of elderflower marks the beginning of early summer. Indeed, their season ranges from May to July. In Amsterdam they have been blooming since the last days of May. During our weekly Taste Before You Waste team meeting we talked about elderflower and of how much every one of us loves the smell. However we were all aware that the elderflower season won’t last long. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be reminded of the early summer scent all over the year? Yes, it would definitely be! Therefore we brought up the idea of making elderflower syrup. It worked out really well and we are very proud of our very own cordial. We want you to be happy too and therefore share our Taste Before You Waste recipe with pleasure.

selfmade elderflower syrup (c) Sophie Minihold

Harvesting elderflowers

The Taste Before You Waste team met on a sunny Sunday. Never harvest elderflowers on a rainy day. The delicate blossoms will stick together and the pollen, which gives the cordial its colour and taste, will eventually be washed off. We recommend you to collect the umbels in the nature rather than next to a street with a lot of traffic. You really do not want to bottle blossoms enriched with exhaust gases. Cut them carefully and do not harm the tree more than necessary. Never harvest all elderflowers from one tree. You would destroy its possibility to reproduce. Leave at least one third of all blossoms on the tree. Try to remove all insects and bugs before putting the flowers in your bag.

Plucking elderflowers on a Sunday with friends is lovely! (c) Sophie Minihold

 

Ingredients

  • 20 heads of elderflower
  • 2 organic lemons
  • 1 kg cane sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • 50 grams of citric acid

Method

Day one:

Remove the stalk of the elderflowers and put the blossoms in a big pot. Peel the organic lemons, cut them into halves and squeeze them. It is very important to use organic grown lemons instead of conventionally grown ones. Again, you really want to avoid pesticides in your yummy elderflower syrup. Add the lemon peel, the lemon juice, water, and let it soak overnight.

Organic lemon peel gives your elderflower syrup a refreshing kick. (c) Sophie Minihold

Day two:

Heat the mix and strain the infused water afterwards. You got best filtered results if you use muslin. Squeeze it until the elderflower blossoms are almost dry. You can discard the blossoms as well as the lemons. They gave all their taste to the water which will now look cloudy due to the pollen. Heat the infused water in a big pot and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar crystals are dissolved. You can turn the heat off and add the acid.

Filtering the infused water. Our syrup appears darker because we used cane sugar instead of white refined sugar. (c) Sophie Minihold

To make your syrup durable, you need sterile bottles with a metal lid. Bottles with a screw plug are not appropriate. Heat a pot with water, add the bottles, the lids as well as a metal funnel and boil them for approximately ten minutes. Place the bottles headlong on a sterile cloth. You can either wait until they are cool or start bottling right away. Pour the hot syrup with the aid of the sterile metal funnel into the bottles. Close them and let them cool headlong.

You can use elderflower syrup in various ways. You can bake cakes, spice up ice cream, pour it over pancakes or simply drink it mixed with water. To celebrate our syrup session we bought prosecco and fresh mint to prepare a drink called Hugo.

Prost! (c) Sophie Minihold

Hugo recipe

Mix sparkling water and prosecco in a wineglass in the proportion of 1:1. Add a shot of syrup and stir. Decorate the drink with fresh mint and preferably enjoy it on a sunny day.

If you do not have the time to prepare elderflower syrup yourself, simply join us at our Wasteless Wednesday Dinners. We serve our very own elderflower cordial at the bar. If you do decide to prepare it yourself: Have fun bottling the essence of early summer!