I have noticed lately that a lot of people purchase toaster ovens for the purpose of being more "green." These eco-conscious people love the energy efficiency a toaster oven can provide. With that in mind, I decided to share some tips with you on how to "go green" without spending a lot of money. These trying economic times make it difficult to eat the way we ought to eat. These tips may not be directly related to a toaster oven, but rather to the lifestyle many toaster oven owners are looking for. Enjoy!
There are numerous admirable reasons to eat only organic food. Eating organic food is positively the finest choice for your health and the health of the environment. So why doesn't everyone go organic? There is a higher cost associated with organic food. It costs more to produce food naturally and that cost is passed on to the consumer. There are, however, some things that you can do to make the switch to organic less burdensome financially.
There are four basic things you can do to eat organic food for less money: grow what you can, spend your food dollars sagely, make most of your food from scratch and don't waste any food. Each article in this series will address one specific change you can make in each of the four basic areas.
Grow Your Own
Several years ago I received three miniature citrus trees as a Christmas gift: lemon, lime and orange. I had no idea I could even grow citrus trees in the midwestern United States. It turns out it is easier than you might think. The plants stay in pots and only grow to about four feet tall. They come inside for the winter and go back out in the spring.
There is a marvelous benefit to growing your own citrus fruit (other than the cheap fruit, of course!) The plants smell incredible. There is a fresh, tropical scent to them that beats any chemical laden air freshener I've ever found, so you can save money on air fresheners too!
Spend Your Food Dollars Wisely
Buying in bulk is a great option when trying to go organic without spending lots of money. You will often get discounts when buying large amounts of organic food; other times just buying loose products from the bulk bins is enough to save money without purchasing large quantities. Start comparing prices of pre-packaged items verses bulk. You will also be using less wasteful packaging when you buy from bulk bins which means less garbage in landfills.
Make Your Food From Scratch
A few years ago I was reading an old cookbook that stated "tea comes to us ready to brew, coffee must be roasted first." The book was about 100 years old. I was amazed to learn that coffee had been roasted in the average home kitchen without any fancy equipment in such recent history. The cookbook went on to describe the coffee roasting process, which involved nothing more than quickly heating the green coffee beans until they popped, much like popcorn, in either the oven or on the stove top. Soon after reading that book, I roasted my first batch of coffee.
The results were absolutely incredible. I had never tasted coffee that was so delicious! The flavor of freshly roasted coffee can't be beat by something you buy off of a supermarket shelf. Freshly roasted coffee has a much deeper and complex flavor compared to store-bought coffee. The bonus: it's a lot cheaper to roast your own coffee. I also take advantage of bulk discounts and buy about 20 pounds at a time. I end up paying less than $5 a pound for organic coffee from a sustainable family farm. That is actually less than pre-roasted non-organic coffee costs at my local market. Organic green coffee beans are now available at several online coffee stores.
Don't Waste Anything
The skins of citrus fruits contain a lot of flavor and natural fragrance. Don't waste this valuable commodity when you use a lime, orange or lemon. If you don't need the zest for immediate use, freeze it until you do.
You can use citrus zest for many things. I like to add some to the mix when brewing green tea. It is a welcome addition in many baked goods; the skin can actually lend a stronger citrus flavor than the juice does. Slowly simmering the zest creates a natural air freshener, devoid of all the chemical additives found in store-bought fresheners.
I hope I have inspired you to seek out ways to go organic, even if you are on a tight budget. Thanks for reading, see you in part 12!