Happy 2014 Earth Day! I hope you are all doing some earth friendly things today! For me, my field work that was planned for today was postponed until tomorrow, so I’m being green by “working from home.” HA! Anyways, it’s true, well, that I’m home, but all joking aside I wanted to share a couple things that I did do for the occasion, and a few that you can do too.
The first way I celebrated Earth Day was with the Institute for Applied Ecology. Every year we recruit volunteers and plant endangered plants. This year we planted 800 golden paintbrush (so far!) at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. This is my study species as many of you might know! We are proud to say it is well on its way to recovery. Here are a few pictures from the event.
Paintbrush in “cone-tainers” ready to go in the ground.
A lovely flowering paintbrush
And his comrades.
Volunteers working hard to get plants in the ground.
A paintbrush in his new home on our grid.
Awesome! Aren’t they gorgeous?! Great way to spend the Saturday before Earth Day!
OK, now to totally switch gears to another Earth Day topic – canning! And other food preservation. I love to can (if you haven’t realized this yet, I’m not sure what blog you’ve been reading), but it’s not just fun and delicious. It can be good for the planet too, and for you! Yes, I’ve been posting a lot of sugary jam recipes lately, but really how much jam do I actually eat? And I do often go for much less sugar. But anyways, let me get to the point – here are my top reasons that you should start preserving this Earth Day . Some of them are earth friendly and some health friendly reasons.
1. It allows you to eat local even in the dead of winter.
This should really count are more than one reason since eating local has so many benefits:
– less emissions from your food travelling
– fresher food
– knowledge of where your food came from – talk to your farmer!
So many foods are available for only a short period, but preserve very well. Berries and fruits are
great canned and some freeze well also. Many vegetables can be pressure canned or are great
pickled, and freeze well. Herbs can be dried, or frozen in oil.
2. You produce less waste
Canning jars are reusable over and over again. Every time you eat a store bought canned good,
you either produce waste throwing it away, or even if you recycle it, it takes energy to do that.
Can your own and that jar is good until it get chipped or cracked!
3. You can customize your recipes (to a safe extent)
Certain things can’t be adjusted in canning because it makes recipes unsafe, such as the
amount of vinegar or lemon juice you add, but there are countless ways that you can customize
recipes to suit your needs
– Use less sugar and a low sugar pectin
– Try sweetening things with honey or stevia
– Adjust saltiness and spiciness to your preference
– Sweeten pickled goods that are too strong with a small amount of sweetener
– Choose the size of jar you preserve in to be appropriate for how much your family eats,
reducing wasted food
4. It can save you money
– Preserve things you grow yourself
– Buy in bulk at the peak of the season, split it with a friend to possibly save even more
– Go to pick your own places to get the same produce cheaper than at the market
Canning can end up being more expensive than store bought, such as when you buy a ton of
tomatoes to make sauce, so plan accordingly by planting the most expensive produce and
things you use the most.
5. People love it when you give canned goods away!
Which leads me to why you forced yourself to read this whole post – the jam giveaway! In celebration of Earth Day, and to spread the love of canning I am giving away one jar of my rhubarb orange jam (click for the recipe). Please enter by commenting below and telling me what you are doing to celebrate Earth Day. One entry per person, and it has to be a comment on the blog not the facebook page so it’s easier for me to just draw from one pool of comments. Good luck! Contest will close one week from today – April 29th at 9pm Pacific time. And for now, just open to US and Canada please. Thanks!