An unpackaged haul/Verpackung freie Lebensmittel

I hope they last a long time!

Here is what I brought back from a recent shopping trip to Original Unverpackt here in Berlin. I took my own tins and tubs, and some bags to fill. Every so often, I make a special trip there and fill a shopping trolley bag with dry goods to keep us going… I wish it were easier for me to reach as it’s nowhere near my home, but I always look forward to shopping there.

In German:

Das Foto zeigt Waren, dass ich vor kurzem bei Original Unverpackt in Berlin gekauft habe. Ich habe meine eigenen Dosen und Beuteln zu füllen gebracht. Oft, mache ich eine Exkursion dorthin und fülle ich einen Einkaufsroller mit trockenen Waren die eine lange Zeit dauern. Ich wünschte, es war einfacher um zu erreichen, denn es ist nicht in der Nähe von zu Hause bei mir, aber ich freue mich immer, dort einzukaufen.


An expert opinion / Ein Experte sagt…

No, I’m not the expert! But I just read a great blogpost from an environmental scientist, about the most important ways we can try to live more sustainably. It reminded me to focus on the things that have most effect. Jonathan Foley, author, academic and blogger (amongst other roles) wrote:

…no matter what, I encourage people to think about their use of food, water, and energy.

He goes on to describe some ways that we can improve our use of food, water and energy for the benefit of the planet. Let’s all try to do what we can…

In German:

Nein, ich bin nicht der Experte! Aber ich habe einen großartigen Blogpost von einem Umweltwissenschaftler gelesen, über die wichtigsten Wege, nachhaltiger zu leben (in Englisch). Es war eine Erinnerung, mich auf die effectivsten Dinge zu konzentrieren. Jonathan Foley, Autor, Forscher und Blogger (neben anderen Rollen) schrieb:

… Egal was, ich ermutige die Menschen über ihre Verwendung von Lebensmitteln, Wasser und Energie zu denken.

– meine Ubersetzung!

Er beschreibt weiter, wie wir unseren Gebrauch von Nahrung, Wasser und Energie zum Wohle des Planeten verbessern könnten. Also, lassen Sie uns alles machen, was wir können…

An experiment: homemade vinegar (Ein Experiment: hausgemachten Essig)

After processing so many apples from our two apple trees, I felt rather bad about wasting all the peels and cores. Fortunately, I found inspiration from the amazing zero waste chef, whose blog explains how to make apple scrap vinegar.

Here is my batch in its second week of brewing (after its daily morning stir):

apple scraps gone brown, in opaque liquid which will become vinegar

A cut-up t-shirt and a drawstring from some old pyjamas make the essential  “lid” to keep flies out, but let it breathe. It smells a bit but I don’t have to worry about explosions!

In German:

Nach der Verarbeitung von so viele Äpfel aus unseren beiden Apfelbäume, hatte ich ein schlechtes Gewissen über die Verschwendung von Schalen und Kerne. Glücklicherweise fand ich Inspiration von die zero waste chef, deren Blog erklärt, wie man Apfelessig macht.

Das Bild zeigt mein Experiment in der zweiten Woche des brauens (nach seinem täglichen Morgen rühren).

Ein Stück altes T-Shirt und ein Zugband aus alten Pyjamas machen den “Deckel” um Fliegen weg zu halten. Obwohl es ein bisschen riecht, dieser Deckel lässt das Experiment atmen, und ich muss nicht über Explosionen sorgen!


A garden harvest! (Eine Gartenernte!)

The last 2 weeks saw us outside picking apples and plums then chopping them at the garden table:

lots of apples and a few plums in bowls on a garden table
Just the beginnings of our harvest!

Apart from the plum crumble which was so good I made it twice, we produced:

  • stewed apples (some frozen)
  • stewed plums (all eaten)
  • lemony apple butter
  • garlicky apple and plum chutney
  • gingery apple and plum chutney

Then gave most of it away! Recipes came from the excellent Jams Preserves and Chutneys handbook, by Marguerite Patten.


a steel apple slicer
Essential equipment!

In German:

Die letzten 2 Wochen waren wir draußen. Wir haben Äpfel und Pflaumen gepfluckt, und sind am Gartentisch gesessen um die zu hacken. Die Pflaumencrumble war so gut, dass ich es zweimal gemacht habe. Wir haben auch produziert:

  • Apfelkompott (gefroren)
  • Pflaumenkompott (alle gegessen)
  • zitronig “Apple butter”
  • Knoblauch Apfel- und Pflaumenchutney
  • Ingwer Apfel- und Pflaumenchutney

Danach wurde die meisten verschenkt! Rezepte kamen aus der ausgezeichneten Jams Preserves and Chutneys handbook, von Marguerite Patten.


Bringing the outside in

I love picking flowers from our garden: no plastic packaging involved! Here are a couple of recent arrangements…

a posy made of a maroon-red rose, honeysuckle, heliopsis, bryony and some green leaves in a small base

large arrangment of goldenrod, dogwood for greenery, yellow heliopsis, blue campanula and two pinkish stems of the obedient plant!


Homemade crunchy plum crumble

plums on a little plum tree

We grew the plums, we picked, washed and de-stoned them.

I laid the plum halves on the dish, skin side down and sprinkled them with sugar. Then I made a topping out of:

85g plain flour

80g butter

– mixed into crumbs

4 tablespoons brown (muscovado) sugar

1 small handful medium ground semolina

– stirred into the mix

And I baked the whole lot at 190 degrees Celsius for 15 mins: lovely crunchy crumble!

half a plum crumble left in the baking dish
It disappeared too quickly for me to get a photo!




Blogs to read for tips on green living

Some interesting blogs I’ve come across, on the theme of reducing waste:

In German:

In English:

I’m sure that there are many, many more, but these ones appeal to me in particular!


Use it all up!

I’m fond of making things myself: this way, I know that the worker lives in good conditions 😉 Also, I try to make sure that no materials go to waste. Here is a pair of my socks in construction.

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robbing peter to pay paul!

and here are my socks keeping my toes toasty!

hand knit socks on feet
Nearly even!

Online only… and clean dishes.

One of the (green) problems with ordering online is that your goods invariably come swathed in packaging, some of which is usually single use plastic. There is only so much that you can re-use yourself and plastic tape around the box is not re-usable. However, some goods are only available to me online. For example washing up liquid in a 5 litre bottle (surely less plastic than 5 x 1 litre bottles) and these cellulose sponges which are the best substitute I can find for plastic sponges. Ordered from BioNaturWelt who appear to have used re-used packaging but even so, I’ll try and make this batch last…



No plastic here!

I bought new, organic cotton bedding from and was very pleased to see their packaging that has no plastic: our cardboard box, sealed with paper parcel tape has already gone for recycling! Here you can see that the sheets came in cloth bags, which will be great for veggies when shopping, or shoes when travelling. The sticky barcode label is plastic-y, but it’s a lot better than most companies manage.

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