In the last few months we finally joined a co-op. It's been something I've wanted to do for a while but it was difficult to find one that we could pick up on my husband's day off (we only have one car). But anyway it's finally happened. I can not tell you how fabulous it is having a refrigerator full of extremely fresh organic veggies. Every other week when we pick up it's almost a little like Christmas. Our menu is scheduled entirely around what we receive. We've been eating a lot healthier and I've been learning to cook things I otherwise wouldn't have learned.
I thought I would share a few things that I have been doing to make our order go just a bit further.
I already use vinegar to clean with. In my recycled veggie wash spray bottle, I combine 1 part vinegar to 1 part water with a tiny squirt of dish-washing liquid (which is completely optional).
Now I fill a jar with all of our citrus peels, cover in white vinegar, and set it in the cabinet until I need to make a new batch. My cleaning solution has a nice citrus smell thanks to our co-op left overs. Last time I made a mixture of grapefruit and orange. But any citrus will work. I only recommend doing this if the fruit you are using is organic. Because who wants to clean with pesticides? Not me. Otherwise I wouldn't bother making this scented in the first place.
Next time we get some citrus in our box I would like to try The SimpleSolution Mom's Homemade Essential Oils.
Another thing I do is make my own veggie broth. I throw all of my well washed scraps and peels into a gallon sized zip lock bag in the freezer. It's so simple really. Just save them up until you have enough to make a batch. Then you can either can or freeze it until you are ready to use.
The recipe is very simple: Throw in a big pot, cover with water, cook for a long time (5-9 hrs), strain, and store. (you can easily freeze broth but since my husband got into canning that is what we've been doing with it.) You can add any seasonings you like.
I also try to remember to make a list of the fresh veggies I have in my cozi app. (Although anywhere will do.) That way I don't forget what's in the fridge ,because if I forget it might rot. I use this list to plan our meals too. I don't always remember to do it but when I do it helps a lot.
You can also regrow some of the veg you get. A few years ago I saw on Food Network that you could regrow green onions and have been doing it off and on since then. Just put a few rocks in the bottom of a glass, water just covering the rocks, and your green onions. Set it in your kitchen window and you will have new green onions in a week or less. If it's cold out your onions may freeze. You will know this because the onions will get a clear gel in the middle. If that happens just chuck them out and start over.
You can find a CSA or Co-op (and local dairy & eggs) near you at Local Harvest
And you can read about how to store your veg plastic free here
(picking up our milk...we get our eggs from my mother in law's chickens)
I'm linking up to the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop over at Penniless Parenting this week