Tag Archives: apple cider vinegar

Doing the Sustainability in the Chaos

26 Jul

With a large contract to work on, blogging has taken a back seat over the past few weeks. It’s also been school holidays, and the entire family came down with the cold and spew bugs in the same week. Messy.

What is interesting is how all the little sustainability projects I’ve been experimenting with have helped me get through the busy times.

The apple cider vinegar drinks helped clear our noses.

The seeds on the mantelpiece and in the cold frame have been germinating well, left to their own devices and squirts of water – giving me a little thrill to look at every time I walked past them on the porch.

Aloe vera masks with a drop of lavender oil helped my stressed skin.

My hand scrub (plus I used it on my feet) was a lovely pamper treat tonight at the end of a very crazy (but successful) work week.

It took no time at all the clean the bath and microwave, and do a quick dusting session with my sustainable solutions. These were chores I had very little time to do.

Homemade greek yoghurt with a teaspoon of homemade lemon curd stirred through has become my fast, easy and deliciously tangy breakfast.

These busy times are when I thought I’d drop the ball on being a Sustainable Wench, but I’m happy to realise that I’ve set some positive habits for myself.  Didn’t stop me from spending the money and treating ourselves to fish and chips tonight however.


Using Up ALL of the Apples

16 Jun

My friend Kàren looked out my kitchen window the other day and noticed the ‘rustic’ display of windfall apples in our backyard from the tree next door. We’ve just had considerable rain which has really helped the apples look revolting on the ground.  ‘They’d be perfect for apple cider vinegar’ said she. So the seed was planted in my head.

This is what the apples looked like:


The tree next door is very big – it hasn’t been pruned for years. Consequently, the apples fall quite a distance and either impale themselves on the corrugated iron fence, smash on the little concrete pad, annoyingly placed right below the tree on our side, or the lucky ones fall into the Herb Tyres or onto the grass. I’ve managed to brew a few bottles of preserves out of some of them, but didn’t think there was any hope for the rest.

After some Googling, I found this recipe that suited my needs. There were others that didn’t include adding existing vinegar, although they seemed to take much longer to brew. I used lots of medium sized jars because I didn’t have large jars, and it’s silly to spend money when you can make do. I also used lots of chunks of good bits of apple, not just the peel and cores. There’s no conventional hot water cupboard at our house, so I hope that on top of my kitchen cupboard will be warm enough.


Beautiful Easy Red Onion Relish

9 Jun

Last night I found a bag of red onions that were starting to go a little fuzzy and ‘aged’. Time to chop them up and preserve what I could.


I was limited in my ingredients (had forgotten to buy brown sugar, had no balsamic or malt vinegar, also no red wine). I found a recipe on the web that I tweaked to suit my needs. I did drink three glasses of New Zealand sauvignon blanc during the making of it, which I’m sure made my culinary experimentation even better. The finished product was a beautiful warm and sweet and tangy burgandy-coloured relish. Unfortunately, drinking the wine also made my memory of exact measurements a bit vague. I’m thinking it went like this:

  • Slice about 8 red onions, and sweat them in a pan with half a cup of white sugar until they’re almost transparent (don’t use oil or butter) – stir regularly. This bit took quite a bit of time, maybe 30 minutes or so.
  • Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, and another cup of sugar, couple of tablespoons of maple syrup, a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Cook and stir until jammy – mine took at least 20 minutes.

This only made THREE QUARTERS OF A JAR.  So I recommend bumping up the quantities.  Serve on crackers with cheese, or on pizza, or mix into stews.

Today I bought red onion seeds and red onion seedlings. The seeds are hopefully germinating on my windowsill. I’ll be making far more than three quarters of a jar next time.


New Drink on the Block

4 Jun

To embrace my inner Hippy, I’ve started to drink apple cider vinegar and honey. There are supposedly loads of health benefits, which I’m too lazy to Google. The main reasons I drink it are:

  • It’s really fast to make.
  • I need another hot drink option for the upcoming winter months.
  • It tastes pretty good.

You’ve got to buy the apple cider vinegar that includes the ‘mother’. This is the cloudy bit at the bottom that indicates it’s not filtered or pasteurised (thereby retaining fermentation residues). I think I’ve got that right. Once again, too lazy to Google. I got mine from a health food shop.

I put 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey in a mug, add hot water and stir, then drink.

That’s it. Just don’t take a big whiff through your nose as you drink, or the vinegar makes your eyes water a tad.


The Worst Chore Made Easy

22 May

I was stuck at home with a tired, asthmatic child today, so was not in a particularly Creative Save The Planet frame of mind. Squishing some cleaning between Takahe work and hangin’ with the six-year-old was the order of the day.

I’ve been thinking about how grubby parts* of the shower are for the past week. Sadly, thinking about it did not make it clean. This morning I sprinkled baking soda liberally in the shower, then went away, had coffee, did work, played with Lego etc. A bit later I sprayed it with white vinegar. I used lots of vinegar, mainly because it makes an excellent and satisfying fizzy sound as it lifts all the grime off. I gave it a bit of a scrub, and was very pleased indeed when I hardly had to use any elbow grease at all. Less than when I use conventional bath/shower cleaners with stupid packaging.

My good friend/business partner/bridesmaid-to-be uses this method regularly and swears by it. She also recommends a spray (1/3 bleach, 2/3 water) to disinfect loos and sinks after cleaning. Quite amazing how much faster you can walk down the cleaning product aisle of the supermarket (or bypass it altogether) when you have these little tricks up your sleeve.

No photo today because showers are boring.

*because my family uses baking soda to shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner,  the bottom part of the shower is actually very white and clean – just round the edges that is grimy.  Though if your shower is grimy all the way through, I do not judge. You probably have a life to live which is more exciting than shower-cleaning.

Crazy Chemical-Free Shampoo

19 Apr

Last week I mentioned that I’d started trying baking soda as a shampoo replacement. This is one of the weirdest things I’d heard of recently, but in the name of sustainability, I thought I should give it a go. There are probably many ways of applying baking soda that are documented on the internet, but if it involves mixing, it’s cutting into Coffee-Time. My technique was:

  • Wet hair.
  • Shake baking powder onto hand.
  • Quickly chuck it onto hair and massage.
  • Repeat for longer hair.

It’s a very odd feeling rubbing a powder onto your hair, and it doesn’t create that artificial silkiness that chemicals can provide.  As soon as I used it however, I could feel all the cheap icky supermarket shampoo build-up washing out. My hair was soft and bouncy. After a few days, the ends starting drying out quite a bit (I’ve got medium-length hair), so I’ve been experimenting with the occasional spritz of apple cider vinegar (then rinsing) on the ends. I’ve also been careful about the parts of my scalp I apply the baking soda to, trying to concentrate on just the oilier bits.

I definitely recommend trying it, perhaps for a few days when you have no important events happening.  Also make sure you clean the baking soda out of your ears.  My sister has very short hair and is now a baking soda convert. I’ll keep trying it for another few weeks, but if the ends still crisp up, I’ll stick to using it once a week to clear the supermarket shampoo out.

Baking soda