Sunday, October 11, 2009

Environmental and Domestic Questions

Yesterday, as I set out to do some baking in my kitchen and began mentally preparing for the exciting journey of moving to a new kitchen, I had my camera out and began taking pictures of things I had questions about.  My hope was that I could post these questions here and see what answers I could get.  If you have anything that resembles an answer, or if you have more questions please speak up.

First off, do you buy spaghetti sauce in jars?  What do you do with empty jars?  For a while I was keeping them.  Occasionally I would use them to drink my smoothies or store my cut up carrots, but now I have so many of them that I do not have uses for that I just cant justify the space they take up in my cupboards.  So last night I put the majority of them in my recycling bin but I was left with this question; are jar lids recyclable?

 I do not believe that they are and so a bunch of these ended up in my trash.

I'd really love it if nothing ended up in my trash so this makes me a little sad.  I know a great solution would be to make my own sauce but I haven't gotten to a place where I have the resources and the knowledge to do that yet.

My next question is this:
How do you do dishes? 

My boyfriend and I have been using the method of running super hot water and then scrubbing each individual dish with a sponge and then drying in a dish drainer.  There is another method which I had toyed with a few times and tried again last night that I think I like, but I do not know which uses less water.  I filled up both sides of the sink.  One side with super hot, soapy water and the other side with just super hot water.  I then put the dishes, a few at a time starting with the least dirty, in the side with the soap to soak a few minutes.  I then scrubbed the dishes in the soapy side and rinsed them in the non soapy side.  This method seems to work really well but which saves more water?

Next up is kitchen cleanup.

Do you use cloth towels in your kitchen instead of paper towels?  How do you go about it?  Do you always have a semi dirty towel laying around to clean up spills or drop to the floor if you drop something down there?  Or do you just use a clean towel anytime you have a mess?  Or do you use a sponge to clean up messes?  I use towels for cleaning up, drying vegetables, pot holders, etc.  When they are dirty, they go in here:

And once a week I wash what we dirtied for the week.  I would like to hang dry my towels so that they do not have to use the energy of the dryer, anyone have any tips on that?

Next up is this guy:

Anyone use a blender?  My question is, how do you wash it?  Do you take it apart every time?  Do you give it a quick rinse with some soap and hot water?  I took the base apart one time to wash it and, I may be paranoid but I felt like it lost some of its stability when I did so.

Anyone have a pizza stone?  This is technically called something else (which I can't remember) but it is similar to a pizza stone and that is what I use it for.  Last time I used it I got tomato sauce burnt all over it.  I am pretty sure you are not supposed to wash it with soap, and I don't really think that would do anything anyway.  I tried scraping it without much luck.  I believe the solution will involve high heat, but I am unsure.

Has this ever happened to you?
That's it for my questions.  I really appreciate any tips or tricks or answers anyone can give me.

Thanks so much!


  1. Hi! Good questions. So let's see....

    I don't buy spaghetti sauce in jars so I don' t have the lid issue. Whether or not the lids are recyclable depends on your recycler's policy. I'd call to find out. If they won't take them, see what you can find in the way of a scrap metal collector. They might be willing to let you toss it in with their stuff.

    As far as the dish washing thing, I think the sink of soapy water and sink of clean water uses less and that's certainly the way my mom did it when I was growing up. I'm just concerned that all the soap gets rinsed off. I use Bio-Kleen now which is pretty light soap so it's probably fine. With Dawn or some other godawful stuff, I'd feel like I had to rinse it a bunch.

    I use both cloth and paper in the kitchen. When I'm cooking a bunch, I start with a fresh towel to wipe my hands and clean up spills on counters. Paper towels mostly function as napkins around my house - although you may not be as fancy as us :-)

    I do use a sponge with a scrubbie side but only for dishwashing and cleaning the stovetop. I read in some ancient cookbook or other to boil the dishcloths once a week for cleanliness so that's what I do to prolong the life of the sponge - who knows what bio-weapons grow in those things!

    I don't use my blender much and I hate taking it apart and washing it. I usually just blend and rinse and then blend a bunch of warm water in it and rinse again. The key is to do it right away before anything dries. You can also replace the gasket if it doesn't seem to be sealing properly. And if you do dismantle it, just make sure you get the gasket lined up correctly for it to seal.

    Hope this helps! Cheers! Kate

    Life on the farm:

  2. Hey Lady! So I've done a bit of searching around and here's what I've come up with:

    Jar lids are recyclable, just toss them in with the tins and cans.

    Method 2 for dishwashing saves more water. Fill one side with soapy and one side with clean, the clean doesn't need to be hot. Also be aware of how much soap you use, because soap = energy.

    There are no paper products in my kitchen! I have 2 sponges, one for dishes and one for clean-up. Clean up sponge does most of the cleaning, accept the floor. In the kitchen closet is a pile of rags, for floor spills/big spills/etc. But I rarely use them. The sponge and vinegar does the vast majority of the work.

    Hang drying is AWESOME, we hang dry all our laundry. I wrote a mini article, with indoor and outdoor drying advice, here:

    I don't have a blender, but I have a food processor that I use for daily green smoothies. I rinse it every time and disassemble and thoroughly wash about once a week. With a blender though, I don't think you have to take the base apart.

    No advice on the stone, sorry! I have no experience there. =)