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
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.
8. Sourdough Crackers
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.
7. A Zero-Waste Kit That Costs Zero Dollars
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.
6. How to Prevent Sourdough Starter from Taking over Your Life
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.
5. Start Here
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.
4. Go Plastic-Free in 2018 (Or Close to It)
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.
3. Recipe Index
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…
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.
1. How to Freeze Food Without Using Plastic
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.