Best Zero-Waste Blog Posts of 2018

zero waste farmers market produce
My most popular Instagram posts in 2018

After I used the website 2018 bestnine to compile my top Instagram posts of the year, I thought I’d compile a list of my nine most popular blog posts of 2018. Several match up with what you see above.

My Most Popular Nine Posts of the Year

9. Apple Scrap Vinegar

homemade apple cider vinegar
Scrap vinegar made from apple peels

I wrote this blog post back in 2014 and it continues to generate regular traffic every year. And no wonder! You essentially stuff apple scraps and cores into a jar, cover them with water just barely, add a spoonful of sugar, stir daily until you see bubbles (it will begin to smell alcoholic at this point), strain everything soon after the bubbling stops and it begins to smell vinegary and finally, let it sit and become more vinegary.

If you don’t have enough apple scraps to make vinegar, store them in the freezer until you do. The good bacteria on the fruit that ferment this go dormant in there. Thaw them, prepare your mixture and they perk right up.

In the original post, I don’t mention that SCOBYs regularly form in my scrap vinegar. Soon after I strained the batch pictured above, a small SCOBY formed. SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. I’ve used these SCOBYs to make kombucha. Some batches of scrap vinegar form SCOBYs quickly, some slowly and some never.

Go here for the original post on scrap vinegar.

8. Sourdough Crackers

Sourdough crackers made with extra unfed starter

I should probably call these sourdough crack because they taste so delicious that we can’t stop eating them. When I feed my sourdough starter, I remove most of the starter and add fresh flour and water. I store that excess starter in the refrigerator to make crackers, pancakes, tortillas, waffles … all sorts of things.

The crackers taste cheesy but contain no cheese, just starter, oil, flour, salt and baking soda. When you roll them out, if desired, sprinkle your work surface with sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, chia seeds and so on.

These crackers freeze really well but we usually gobble them up quickly within a few days.

Click here for the cracker recipe.

7. A Zero-Waste Kit That Costs Zero Dollars

jars filled with staples
Free jars for a zero-waste kit that costs $0

I knew this post did well but was surprised that it ranked so highly at number seven. When people start on the zero-waste path, many feel tempted by all the beautiful products on the market—the expensive thermoses, stainless steel containers, fountain pens, hemp produce bags, stainless steel straws and so on.

I own some of these items and understand wanting to purge all your old plastic junk and replace it with better quality items. But before you spend your hard earned cash, look around your home. You may have a lot of what you need already sitting in your cupboards or closets.

Click here for a zero-waste kit on the cheap.

6. How to Prevent Sourdough Starter from Taking over Your Life

jar of sourdough starter
Sourdough starter ready to bake with

Another sourdough post. As I said above regarding the crackers, I can accumulate a lot of starter. This post includes several tips for managing a starter, a video of me explaining how to start and feed a starter (just skip over the longer parts) and the starter recipe itself.

Click here to read the post on starting and maintaining a sourdough starter.

5. Start Here

cloth produce bags for plastic free and zero waste shopping
Number 2 on the list of 50 steps: shop with cloth produce bags

Perhaps you recently watched Blue Planet II and learned about the catastrophic effects of plastic pollution on our oceans and marine wildlife, you heard a story on the radio about plastic microfibers in almost all drinking water or you read a British report which predicts that plastic debris in the oceans will increase by threefold by 2025.

You want to get off the stuff but where do you start? Start with the post “Start Here.” I list 50 steps you can take to get off of plastic. Start with a couple, master those and then choose more.

Click here to read the full post.

4. Go Plastic-Free in 2018 (Or Close to It)

zero waste farmers market produce
Zero-waste and plastic-free farmers’ market haul

With all of the news coverage this year of horrifying plastic pollution, I’m not surprised to see this one as my fifth best zero-waste blog post. In this post, I outline a 6-step plan for getting off of plastic.

If you still haven’t settled on a new year’s resolution this year, may I suggest one? Cut your plastic consumption in 2019.

Go here for the full post to get started.

3. Recipe Index

Bill Buford quote from his book Heat
A rebel with an apron

Looking for a zero-waste replacement for your favorite food? There’s a recipe for that. And it’s likely in my recipe index. I generally don’t post recipes for dishes that can easily be made without waste—vegetable dishes, quick breads, cookies and so on. For most of those, you buy ingredients package-free and follow a recipe.

Instead, I post recipes for items you may have trouble finding unpackaged—dill pickles, yogurt, wild yeast (a.k.a. my sourdough starter), vinegar, homemade soda, cooked beans, pasta, hummus, ketchup, kimchi…

Go here to check out my recipe index.

2. Sourdough Bread

The actual sourdough bread recipe continues to be one of my best zero-waste blogs. I follow Michael Pollan’s recipe (mostly), which he bases on Chad Robertson’s recipe, from Tartine. If you’ve seen Pollan’s show Cooked on Netflix, you may have googled the recipe and landed on my blog. Everyone wants to make this bread after watching Cooked.

Sourdough never ceases to amaze me. You need only flour, water and salt to make it. You can’t get much simpler than that. Sourdough bread stays fresh longer than bread made with commercial dry yeast, it’s more nutritious and it tastes delicious.

Click here to go to the recipe.

1. How to Freeze Food Without Using Plastic

Use wide-mouth jars to freeze food and leave space at the top for expansion

My best zero-waste blog of 2018 (and 2017 and 2016) covers freezing food without plastic. I use jars to freeze all sorts of food. Some are mason jars, some are peanut butter jars, some are big jars and some are small jars. All have wide mouths and flush sides, rather than shoulders and narrow necks. Always leave an inch or so of headspace at the top of the jars to give food room to expand as it freezes.

Click here to read the post on freezing food without plastic.

9 Replies to “Best Zero-Waste Blog Posts of 2018”

  1. Anne-Marie you are truly inspiring – I’ve looked at most of those posts – made feijoa scrap vinegar, and sourdough every two weeks, use glass jars wherever I can , worm farms composts and have just got a big haul from the farmers market with the cloth bags. Thank you so much for your inspiration!! Trish

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Trish! Thank you so much for reading 🙂 Happy holidays to you and yours (and your worms). ~ Anne Marie

  2. Jacqueline Galleymore says: Reply

    As always a very interesting post. I would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a peaceful Zero Waste 2019. Take care.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Jacqueline. Merry Christmas and happy Zero Waste 2019 to you and yours also 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  3. Really agree that you are super-inspirational!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Lisa 🙂 Happy new year! ~ Anne Marie

  4. Thanks so much for all your wonderful posts, and taking the time to share your skills and experience, this year and all the years before!
    I want to add a random bit of info for any jar collectors out there (or Dr. Mercola fans): Dr. Mercola is now shipping out his supplements in AMBER GLASS JARS. My parents like to take a lot of his supplements, and so the amber jars are starting to fill my shelves. Amber glass is great for protecting UV-light-sensitive foods such as beer & wine (mead?), olive oil, etc. I managed to acquire about 15 gallons of bulk olive oil (on NextDoor.com, for free!) so I will probably use them for that, or for herbal infusions in olive oil.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Anne,

      Oooh, amber jars. Those sound beautiful. Someone just gave away 15 gallons of olive oil!!! For free??? Good for you! I need to stalk NextDoor! Thank you for the kind words and for reading my posts. Happy new year! ~ Anne Marie

  5. Thank you, very interesting and funny as well. Happy holidays

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