We’re not a particularly green family. Sure, we recycle and walk to school, but the mere idea of cloth diapers stresses me out. And while I’m intrigued about composting and dream about a brood of happy hens laying pastel eggs with golden yolks in my backyard, I know my neighbors would purchase pitchforks to run me and my chickens out of town. To keep the peace, I keep my yard free of fowl and live vicariously through my friend Rachel, an inspiring urban homesteader in Ohio.
But this week, in honor of Earth Day, I have two useful green tips to share that can save you money while helping the environment.
The first is about buying organic, an expensive proposition on the best of days. Each time I reach for a shiny apple, I wonder whether I really need to spend the extra money to buy organic for that particular type of fruit. Now I have the answers, to save money while shopping with peace of mind. I recently became an ambassador for Happy Baby and my personal happy baby, Sophie, has been thoroughly enjoying sampling all of their organic toddler snacks. Beyond keeping our pantry full with sweet potato puffs for Sophie’s bottomless stomach, Happy Baby recently sent me a bunch of coupons. Nestled in those coupons was a handy dandy little card with a list of the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides: the Clean 15.
The price tag of organic fruits and vegetables is significantly higher than those conventionally grown. According to the Environmental Working Group, here are the fruits and vegetables that you don’t need to spend the extra money on organic:
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
Good to know right? And those apples? Definitely on the Dirty Dozen – aka the buy organic list. Same with bell peppers, blueberries, celery, cucumbers, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, kale, and green beans.
Now for my second green tip of the day: making your own stock. Having homemade chicken stock not only saves you money by not making you buy pre-packaged or cube dried stock, but it also gives you peace of mind by knowing what went into it. After making chicken stock the first few times, it will become a habit, and you’ll wonder why you ever threw out roasted chicken bones without putting them to good use.
- Carcasse of 1 or 2 roasted chickens
- 3 Celery Ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 peeled carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to your liking
- 1 teaspoon of fresh parsley (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley)
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (or 1/2 if dried)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- After you've eaten your chicken, set aside the carcasse and any leftover bones.
- Heat a large stockpot on medium heat. Add the olive oil, when it begins sizzling slightly, add the vegetables and the spices. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened.
- Now add the chicken and stir everything together. Take the stockpot off the heat and fill it with water, leaving two inches off the top.
- Cover the stockpot and bring it to a boil. Then lower the flame to medium low and simmer for an hour or two. Once the vegetables are roasted, you can also make your stock in a crockpot, and leave it overnight to prepare.
- Once the stock is done, I like to pour it in ice cube trays to store it in the fridge. Then I melt it down to make sauces or even to boil noodles and give them a little extra oomph.