Don’t Like Plastic Bags? Food Storage Alternatives for Winter

I nerded out about food storage awhile ago. I didn’t want to use a ton of plastic bags, after realizing that plastic stays in landfills for a long time, and some of it gets carried out to sea (I suppose depending on where you live) to form plastic junk ‘bergs. If you, too, have had your qualms about using plastic storage bags, you can consider these alternatives, though none of them are perfect.

  1. Store in re-usable plastic containers such as Glad, which you can use over and over again. I have washed them many times over on the top rack of my dishwasher. They will eventually fall apart, though.
  2. Store in glass containers with rubber lids such as Anchor Hocking. These will last a whole lot longer, and you can even go on Amazon and buy new lids when the old ones wear out (recycle the old ones). But they are more of an up-front investment. However, these things are not too expensive, especially if you buy them a little bit at a time.
  3. Use waxed paper (you have to choose between paraffin which is petroleum based wax and soy bean wax, which is probably made with GMO soybeans) to wrap your meat or whatever, and then put the wrapped pieces in a storage container you can re-use or a gallon plastic bag you can re-use. I use this method for bacon and other items that are small and valuable.
  4. Use parchment paper, which as far as I know is like any other paper, compostable, and do the same thing as described in #4.

If you care about the environment, no matter whether global warming is real or not, you should want to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our soil and water. If so, you can still consider doing something different to store your food. Plastics have been connected with premature puberty, cancer, wildlife death, and are generally unsightly when they end up in the soil or compost you just ordered from your local landscaper (which I guarantee is going to happen). Consider your kids’ future and stop using and throwing out all those plastic bags.

 

The “Victory Garden” Strategy

These days, people who are considered successful often move many times during their lifetimes, or should I say their careers. Staying in one place for long, perhaps one’s whole life, is considered retrograde, and the life of constant movement, particularly jetting around the globe a sign of social ascendancy. However, it’s only by staying put that you can experience any degree of community, and community is an adventure like you wouldn’t believe.

Involving yourself in deep, personal and supportive relationships with other people is the greatest travel experience of all time because you are traveling into the most complex, most under-explored, most misunderstood places of all time–your interior self and the interior of others.

We’re sold a dream, the “American dream,” that’s only figuratively white picket fences. Sure, it involves getting married and having kids. But marriage and kids do not amount to traveling into those interior spaces; it doesn’t necessarily amount to intimate relationships in which you help others grow better and better, and they help you. Oftentimes, marriage and kids are about security, status, career ambitions, Facebook photos, making your kids into projects and your spouse into your service-provider (sex, household chores, housing, decor, income, status, child-“fostering”).

Those white picket fences Americans long for, in other words, are plastic and they’re fantasies. We get around to buying them at Home Depot and installing them before we move, to raise our property values. We glue back in place the white plastic squares that sit atop on the inside of our windows pretending to be separate panes of glass. We live in “McMansions”–and they’re fake as hell. That’s if we’re lucky–the rest peer in at this fake hominess wishing they could have even that, but for them the highlight of the day is getting their kid a happy meal with some shitty plastic toy advertising a movie they’ve got to sit through now.

And what do we do to get the homogenized middle class “lifestyle” (it’s not a life, it’s a”lifestyle”)? We put a large part of our energies into a “career” (that is, again, if we have a “career”), spending long hours at precarious jobs that oftentimes drop us, deciding to outsource or automate or downsize, and so we move, and we move, and we change locations and/or patterns. We also go into often massive debt to make this “lifestyle” happen and then we cannot say no to the “economic necessities” that make us change and move and churn for the sake of what we think we want and need.

What if you stayed put? What if you did what it took to find a way to stay, at least in the same community, if not the same job (of course, most often, not possible)? Your rewards would be:

  1. Deep and lasting friendships that become means of self-exploration, growth, and mutual aid. As many a member of the military can tell you (and all foster kids), there’s no way you can experience real, lasting friendship being moved every 2-5 years. If you think you can, you do not know what real, lasting friendship is. Intimate connections with other people make it very unlikely that you will end up a shallow sort, or an ideologue, because as you love people, you’ve got to listen to them and consider their point of view without malice.

2. Increasing self-sufficiency (liberty) based on the fact that a network of family, neighbors, and friends can do things for each other and in cooperation with each other that make all of them less dependent on the state and the corporations that dominate demand and supply. When that happens, free thinking emerges. Until you actually experience departing from dependence on the government by just supplying your own (and others’) needs, and depart from the consumer culture, even a bit, and until you turn off the 24/7 news, you will never know the incredible liberating effect that allows your mind the freedom to think expansively.

3. As a subset of the point above on liberty, the ability to grow food and, if possible, keep animals, to supply much more of your most basic needs for yourself, is the true source of liberty. The government policies ensure you get cheap but unhealthy food–and keep our supposedly freedom-loving conservative farmers totally on the dole, regulating their every move and using the food they produce as a domestic and foreign policy tool. What would happen if neighbors cooperated to supply even 50% of their own food through a series of backyard gardens and minor animal-husbandry? I say there would be tremendous heartburn in corporate America and in government, and America would become way more free.

I think true freedom comes from true independence, and that involves making an effort to be free from those things that manipulate us. There is no such thing as freedom without mental freedom, and that only comes if you are not completely dependent on others for the food you eat, the water you drink, your source of light and heat, your health, your happiness. The list could continue.

Gardening and small animal keeping, such as my chickens, is not just a hobby, it’s a step toward mental independence, and it’s a step toward becoming human being again and not just a drone for someone else’s commercial and political agenda. You may think that these are small things, or fringe things, but in WWII the “Greatest Generation” we all say we admire recognized that these were the means of independence, survival, power and victory.

Indeed, back in that day we had “Victory Gardens.

Let’s have “Independence Gardens.” Or “Independence Cooperation.” It’s just one small but significant blow to the power of government and businesses intent on controlling our wills.  Let’s opt to focus on our own space and the happiness of our neighbors, and take the plunge into the type of travel that involves inner space. In so doing, we create the conditions for what Foucault referred to as the “technologies of the self” so necessary for political and social independence (more on that soon).

 

Natural Functions–the case of the dog

The function of a dog is to clean up the food scraps that you do not compost. A dog is your companion, but he has been bred for thousands of years in order to do this job. Between composting everything else but what a dog will clean up, like meat scraps, bones, fat, and bread scraps, you will find that you have very little left over garbage. You will also find that your dog loves you even more, and now because he is useful you love him more. If you recycle whatever you can recycle, you will find a little garbage that you may not need garbage pick up service. That leaves you with the dilemma of whether to cancel your service because your garbageman is your neighbor, and you like him. This is following the sort of functional natural law in your daily life. It creates dilemmas in the modern world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth thinking about.

Storing Fruits and Vegetables to Last Longer — How to $tuff Your Pig

Originally posted on What’s for Dinner Moms?: Picture from joesmithfarms.com Fruits and vegetables are not cheap. Every time I find the limp celery that I planned on using the last stalks of for soup or the moldy peaches stuck in the back of my fruit and vegetable drawers I see dollar signs floating away.…

via Storing Fruits and Vegetables to Last Longer — How to $tuff Your Pig