“I eat my peas with honey;
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.”
You know you are ageing when younger colleagues look at you strangely as you recite verses your mother taught you as a child. However, those ridiculous limericks and nursery rhymes planted a love of words in my soul for which I am eternally grateful. This rhyme popped into my mind while enjoying a salad with home pickled beetroot and got me thinking ‘I should eat my beetroot with honey to prevent it ending up on my shirt!’
Dovehouse Organics stock the most irresistible fresh bunches of glorious beetroot, delicious raw, roasted or steamed; alternatively boiled until almost tender and pickled. I never used to enjoy pickled beetroot because the bought stuff is too acidic, too sweet or too un-fresh, or a combination of all the above. Thankfully I found a delicious and simple recipe in Canning & Preserving for Dummies, and we are seldom without a jarful in the fridge. For my latest batch I ran out of apple cider vinegar and made up the quantity needed with rice vinegar, little bit decadent, however it is by far my best batch! I’m having such fun sourcing bits and bobs from our refill, zero waste, fresh veg and health shops who stock Nu-Eco. I was out of some spices so my empty clove jar went with me on my rounds to stock up at Goodsource (grabbed one of their most delicious veg falafel wraps while I was about it).
Spiced Pickled Beets (Beetroot)
1½C thinly sliced onion
1¼C apple cider vinegar
1C sugar (I use ½)
½TBS mustard seeds
½tsp kosher salt
½tsp whole allspice
½tsp whole cloves
1½ cinnamon sticks broken into pieces
- Wash jars & lids well in warm water with Nu-Eco Dish Liquid
- Trim beets leaving tap roots and 4cm of the stems
- Scrub and wash well to remove any soil, drain and place in a deep pot
- Cover beets with water, bring pot to the boil over high heat, cook until they pierce easily (±20min)
- Drain and run cold water over the beets, cut off stem and taproots, peel, slice and set aside
- Place all other ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer for 5min
- (I tie the cloves, allspice and cinnamon up in a little gauze bag to appease half the family)
- Add beets and bring pot back to a simmer for 3-5min
- Remove from heat and allow to cool, bottle and store in the fridge
- If you can bear to wait, it is best enjoyed after the spices have infused a little longer
- Great good-gut snack or meal accompaniment, delicious with feta
Megan at The Refill Den is the most passionate zero-waster I know, she loves sharing her knowledge and is always keen to learn more. Megan is also very flexible and can accommodate drop and collect refilling of your ‘fav’ Nu-Eco products. The best for me is finding items I first bought on-line to try and now don’t have to re-order (which might be more convenient, but is not very eco-friendly). However, if you live miles away from a refill shop then Faithful To Nature is an amazing one-stop for eco-friendly supplies. Your purchase will have a lower carbon footprint if you shop wisely less often for more items rather than fewer items more often. Look out for bulk deals and do home refilling. Remember Nu-Eco Surface Cleaner is extremely economical and supper efficient (5L last me 12months!). Simply dilute to desired strength in a spray bottle and clean every hard surface from toilets through to kitchen counters and everything in between. This is simply the best product to first switch to if you are beginning your Green Cleaning Journey. No ammonia and other horrid chemicals.
Buying fresh fruit and veggies not smothered in plastic packaging is a total win. Storing and preserving them with reusable options seals the deal. We grew up with Mum preserving everything and anything. On the odd occasion this did turn pear-shaped with a little explosion…., or maybe that was Dad’s plonk? Anyway Mum gave me her stash of mason jars which were terribly old fashioned not so long ago but now, thankfully for the Earth, they are most definitely ‘in’. If you are short of jars Foodpak is a wonderful treasure trove of alternative packaging. And of course you have to have some Nu-Eco Dishwashing Liquid to keep them fresh and clean or Nu-Eco Dishwashing Powder (remember to begin using less than the recommended dose and increase slowly until you find the correct dosage for your machine, water hardness and washing needs). Just because something is natural doesn’t mean we should use it like there is no tomorrow! With all of our products, use as much as you need now, and save the rest to use later. All our packaging is recyclable, if you don’t refill please don’t send your empties to landfill.
As I was saying, I enjoy beetroot and often add it to my mason jar ‘padkos’ so I had to become well versed in treating beetroot stains on my work shirts! You might be telling me to kiss my shirts goodbye, but not a chance! That is not only wasteful but not necessary. I simply spray liberally with Nu-Eco Laundry & Carpet Spot Cleaner, leave to work for as long as possible, 20min or at least until the stain visibly starts dissolving. Next I cover the shirt with warm water (cold water for blood stains) and sprinkle with Nu-Eco Bleach Powder, leave to soak for at least 20min, rub well and sprinkle the stains with more powder if necessary. Then squirt some Nu-Eco Laundry Gel into the bucket and rub well all over. Rinse well and hang up to dry, preferably in the sun if it is shining. Sunlight and fresh air are the best for drying laundry. Try restricting tumble dryer use to emergencies. Sun is a natural disinfectant; it is free, healthier, and saves electricity! Even on normal days this Nu-Eco trio keeps my limited wardrobe circulating and working hard to help keep your favourite Nu-Eco products on local Midlands shelves.
I’ve started keeping a bottle of our incredible 3-in-1 Nu-Eco Wild Wash with me on my travels for keeping my masks clean and fresh, washing out my travel mug and showering! For young ladies, the handy 100ml Wild Wash easily slips into your handbag or toiletry bag along with your period panties or washable pads. Why wash personal care items with anything less natural or kind to your body and the environment? A little trick for quicker overnight drying is to gently wring washed items in a towel before hanging up. Last term we had a flurry of mums purchasing Wild Wash for their children going on school camping and hiking trips. Oh yes and those revolting stinky shoes or boots will love some TLC in the form of Nu-Eco Wild Fresh Odour Eliminator. If you cherish your skin then Wild Rays will protect your skin naturally from the harmful rays while you enjoy the good rays. Nu-Eco Wild Range is water course friendly and biodegradable making them your perfect outdoor adventure companions.
Speaking of wild, those minute monstrous most irksome of creatures have begun to wake from their winter slumber! Yes, mozzies! Thankfully our colony of bats love to eat them, but if a few escape capture and hide under our bed Wild Away won’t harm the bats or cats, but will keep the buggers away from my blood! I noticed they have clearly woken up in sleepy Notties as residents began reaching for Nu-Eco Wild Away Spray. We have a torrid time with pepper ticks on the farm which the bats don’t eat so we have Nu-Eco Wild Away Lotion or Spray in each vehicle and at the back door.
My favourite moments at the factory are when Cara and her team are manufacturing and the office and factory is engulfed in exquisite fresh natural fragrances. Nu-Eco Citrus Twist or Citrus Burst Air Fresheners are naturally sanitising and scented with pure citrus essential oils. Having lived on a farm most of my life and growing up with parents not hell-bent on smothering themselves and everything else with lotions and potions, I’m blessed to have a sense of smell pretty well protected from the numbing effect of exposure to harsh chemical scents from personal or homecare products. We grew up with Lion Matches in the loo rather than overbearing aerosol sprays, composting our kitchen waste and making home-made lemon juice.
Until next time, if all else fails and life continues to throw you lemons then just make lemonade!
2 sachets tartaric acid
1 sachet Epsom salts
1800ml boiling water
900ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Empty sugar, tartaric acid & Epsom salts into at least a 6L container
- Pour boiling water over and stir until all dissolved. Stir in lemon juice
- Bottle in clean bottles, seal and store in a cool place or in the fridge
- To serve: dilute to taste with water or soda water