Monday, October 17, 2011

Stretch your organic shopping dollar! Home made cleaning solution. Make some herbed salt!

Fall is definitely upon us now - it seemed to take it's time, didn't it? 

Thanks to all who got back to me with ideas, suggestions, and tips for the Blog.  Your time and input was deeply appreciated.

Food News

Walking around at one of our great Farmers' Market the other day, I was asked about going "all organic" - an expensive practice for many of us.  So I did some research.  I was trying to find out what products we should seek out with the organic label and what products we should be looking for that are considered "clean' - the least contaminated.

The Environmental Working Group has put together two lists:  the 12 most pesticide laden conventionally grown fruits and veggies AND  a list of the 15 products that are lowest in pesticide residue.  So, as they say, be guided as you shop.  By the way, these guidelines pertain most strongly to any of the products listed that are sold in supermarkets, or any place the food industry is the main supplier of stock.

Dirty Dozen (buy these products "organic"):  apples; celery; strawberries; peaches; spinach; imported nectarines; imported grapes; sweet bell peppers; potatoes; domestic blueberries; lettuce; and kale and collard greens.

Note:  if you are buying any of the above products from a local farmer or purveyor, you may be getting "organic" - but you may not be.  That said, not "organic" does NOT necessarily mean "dirty".  Get to know the folks you are buying your food from!  It's always a good idea to ask.

Clean 15 (not contaminated):   onions; sweet corn; pineapples; avocado; asparagus; sweet peas; mangoes; eggplant; domestic cantaloupe; kiwifruit; cabbage; watermelon; sweet potatoes; grapefruit; and mushrooms.

Again, it takes a little effort and it may require asking some questions, but it will be worth it!

Making Your Own

Household cleaning products have come a long way - the choices seem endless!  Some of us have been trying to buy products for cleaning our homes that fit into our green sensibilities.  For example, I am totally in love with my Method Cucumber scented All Purpose Cleaner.  But the stuff is expensive!  I recently came across a "recipe" for an all purpose cleaner, which we made and used and it works!!  It's especially effective on glass table tops, counters and windows. In our home, our glass storm door is permanently tatooed with wet nose marks, so we were going through the Windex pretty regularly.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner (David Quilty, New York Times, October 13th)

Fill a spray bottle two thirds full of water and one third full of white distilled vinegar.  You can cut the aroma of the vinegar (which we love by the way) by adding a few drops of an essential oil to the mixture.  The vinegar aroma dissipates pretty quickly following use.  This cleaner costs about $4.00 a gallon - or about 25 cents for a bottle of cleaner. Commercial cleaners average $3.00 to $5.00 a bottle.  You can't beat that for saving!  Try it! I think you will like it!


Many of us have lots of herbs that we are currently drying and freezing and our rosemary, thyme and related plants are really at their peak.  Why not make some Herbed Salts?  They will make a great addition to your Fall and Holiday cooking.  Here's one that we made recently:

Spicy Herb Salt

You'll need:
2 cups of herbs - we used 1 1/2 cups of rosemary leaves and 1/2 cup of thyme leaves
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1/2 cup of good, coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

In your food processor or blender pulse the herbs with the garlic until well chopped.  Add the 1/2 cup of salt and pulse some more. Add the red pepper flakes and pulse to blend again.

Spread the mixture out on a large baking sheet and let it stand, stir it once in awhile, for about two days - until it is really nice and dry.  Transfer the mixture to a jar with a nice tight lid.

The options are up to you and depend on what you will enjoy and use.  The important part of the process is to fully dry the mixture.  When it is stored in a tightly lidded jar it MUST be dry or you will lose it to mold really quickly.

Herb Salt also makes a very nice Host gift.

Keep in Touch and Keep it Local, Seasonal, and Kind to the Environment!


  1. Inspiring post. Of course, many small farmers follow organic growing practices and just can't afford to get certified. A farmer can't use the term "organic" without being certified.

    I'll cross you off my list of Herbed Salt recipients! I'm making it for gifts too.
    Great minds!

  2. PS- LOVE that this post is not totally city focused. Some of us who live in the country and/or suburbs are interested in all this good livin' stuff too!

  3. Thanks Ken! And I guess I'll take you off of my herbed salt list. Yes! Great minds!