The Zero-Waste Pantry

The Pantry Revamp is a series here on Five Little Homesteaders.  To read more about it, check out the first post here.  To read all the posts in the series, click the “pantry revamp” label to the right.Our guest poster for today is Elaine from the blog MomJeanz.  Elaine has really inspired me through the zero-waste efforts that she has implemented in her house and then blogged about.  I asked her to guest post about these efforts and she was kind enough to say yes!  (Be sure to read all the way to the end for her yummy drop biscuit recipe.)

So, without further ado…

I’m really excited to write this guest post for the pantry revamp because I’ve enjoyed following this series. Making munchables from scratch is dear to me as I practice zero waste principles in my own pantry.

So, what is zero waste? It’s basically attempting to live your life creating as little waste as possible as you move through your journey. By revamping our pantry, shopping and eating habits we’ve gone from 2 bags of trash a week to less than 1 bag.

My pantry and menu rely mostly on items I can find in the bulk section or buy in bulk quantities, therefore eliminating as much packaging waste as possible. If you have a good grocery store near you, you should be able to get almost all your essential items in bulk. Whole Foods usually has a decent bulk section. We’re lucky to have a few options near us so I get everything from organic flour, oats, nuts, olive oil, honey, and even coconut flakes and vanilla extract in reusable containers. If your store doesn’t offer bulk bins, then buying in larger quantities is also an option for reducing waste. Buying 20 lbs. of flour is much cheaper by ounce than just a pound, it reduces waste and you’ll be more motivated to make your own baked goods with 20 pounds of the stuff lying around. Trust me.

Now, zero waste shopping means you have to have some way to store it once you get it home. My pantry consists of an assortment of glass containers. Some of them I bought at a glass sale in a craft store, others I procured at thrift store trips, some are saved from things like peanut butter and pickles when we bought them jarred before I located bulk options. So, save your glass jars! Of all sizes! I’ve gotten creative with the storage and sometimes breadcrumbs go in an old glass eggnog carafe and the sunflower seeds get stored in the old balsamic vinegar jug. Also, brown and white rice are currently stored in two old beer growlers. Whatever works.

My zero-waste pantry means that {mostly} our food items are homemade and fresh. No more boxes with words I can’t even pronounce on them. This means we eat healthier and save more money. Hummus started being made from dried beans and then put on veggies instead of crackers. Do you know how cheap dried beans are? Cheap!

So, to round out this post, I’d like to leave you with a recipe for one of my go-to snack items: the olive oil drop biscuit.

I love biscuits. I’m almost obsessed. When I was pregnant, I would get a pack of 8 frozen ones from Trader Joes and eat only biscuits for dinner some nights. So, these guys were one of the first things I started making and we have them every week. Biscuits are so versatile y’all! Have them with your soup at night and then slap some jam and butter on ’em in the morning. Add various items for variation such as cheeses and herbs to switch it up. This batch included goat cheese. They might be the best I’ve ever made. I’ve already had three.

Here’s the basic recipe. Makes about 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until well-combined. Combine olive oil and milk. Pour in and stir until just moistened.

Drop spoonsful of batter into a pan brushed with olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges.

Ohhhh, so good. Enjoy!

Elaine has also posted about this topic on her own blog momjeanz. She wrote a post about cutting back food waste and this one on zero-waste grocery shopping.  Enjoy!

Books on the topic:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Zero Waste Home
101 Ways to Go Zero Waste
The Zero-Waste Lifestyle
The Zero Waste Cookbook
My Zero-Waste Kitchen: Easy Ways to Eat Waste Free

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste 

In this 292 page book by Bea Johnson, you will find ideas to help you reduce the amount of garbage your home produces. Start by doing one or two things at a time. As you complete one set of reductions, move on to another suggestion, and before long, your home will be closer to a Zero Waste Home.

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

By author Kathryn Kellogg, this 256 page book provides realistic changes you can make in your lifestyle to help you reduce the waste from your home. Also included are DIY recipes for home and beauty, advice for making better choice for home and office, and secrets on going waste free at the airport.

The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less 

In this 272 page book by Amy Korst, you’ll learn how to lead a healthier and more sustainable life by generating less garbage. She outlines hundreds of ideas, some simple and some radical, to throw away less.

The Zero Waste Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Cooking without Waste

Giovanna Torrico and Amelia Wasiliev offer 256 pages of help to show you how to make your food stretch further in order to reduce your family’s waste. There are over 100 simple, wasteless recipes for everything from dairy, meat and fish, and fruits and vegetables.

My Zero-Waste Kitchen: Easy Ways to Eat Waste Free

Kate Turner offers hits to help you embrace the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. In this 72 page book, you will learn how to grow your own vegetables and herbs from scraps, as well as how to nourish your plants by using compost.