EASY WAYS TO REDUCE WASTE. SAVE MONEY AND BE LESS GROSS.

I have 4 different garbage bins.  FOUR.  One for “trash” (stuff that actually goes to the dump because it won’t decompose and can’t be recycled, one for compostables, one for recyclable metals/plastics and one for secret love notes.  I mean recyclable papers.  I thought this was pretty normal but on a trip to Memphis last year I discovered it was not entirely normal.

Not everyone in North America recycles.  Not even everyone in Canada recycles!  It came as quite a shock.

Recycle bins in Memphis just didn’t exist.  Around these parts a gal has to nurse an aneurysm after deciding which of the 10 different recycle bin options to use on the street.  It’s even more debilitating in Vancouver where an encounter with recycle bins on the street can lead to decision paralysis.  At any minute of any day in Vancouver you’re sure to see someone standing frozen, staring at the street long row of recycle bins trying to decide if the salad container they’re holding is indeed styrofoam or possibly paper foam or maybe even just *gasp* garbage.

In Memphis, people were more concerned about whether or not Gus’s Fried Chicken had run out of Chess Pie than they were about where the paper plate it comes on was going to end up.  Understandably so. Everybody loves finishing off Gus’s Fried Chicken with Chess Pie.

I’m not sure where it all goes  but the EPA says Americans generated 254 MILLION TONS of trash in 2013. That’s a lotta chicken bones and paper plates.  Gross.  Since recycling is a community based program, some of you will have one and some of you won’t.  And if you happen to have or be familiar with Blue Bins, know that they were invented and developed here in Canada, just about half an hour from my house in Kitchener, Ontario in 1983.  So seriously … you maybe wanna tap on your community leader’s shoulders and let them know people have been doing this for 34 years.  They’ve been recycling since before Miami Vice was on the air for the love of God.

I won’t even get INTO green bins.  O.K. I will a little bit.  Green bins for those who don’t have them, are large bins you can fill up with things that will decompose and can therefore be turned into compost.  Food scraps, paper, leaves and that sort of thing.

One of the easiest ways you can contribute to reducing waste and … also save money … is to pay more attention to how you store and preserve food so you AREN’T throwing it out.  We’ve all been that person who looks in the fridge to grab what was once a fresh peach only to realize it now has an afro worthy of its own pick.

So as a sharing and caring Canadian  I’m gonna help everybody out. You could dig through my 1,549 archived posts to find all the ways you can save money and reduce food waste by freezing more things, preserving more things, and generally just being a smarter person, but I did the dirty work for you.

Pick ten things off of the list and try to get two of them done this weekend.  I for one know that I need to top up the brine in my feta cheese so it doesn’t go bad.

 

FREEZE MORE THINGS!

  1. How to Fit Twice as Much Into Your Freezer
  2. 5 Things to Freeze
  3. How to Freeze Your Own Eggs
  4. 10 Summery Meals You Can FREEZE
  5. The Organized Freezer
  6. Freeze! I Have a Gun! I Mean Jar.
  7. Freezing Greens for the Winter
  8. Freezing My Pasties

 

PRESERVE MORE THINGS!

 

  1. Fermenting Pickles the Old Fashioned Way
  2. 8 Fantastic Ways to Preserve Food This Autumn
  3. How to Preserve Feta Cheese

 

 

STORE MORE THINGS!

 

  1. Long-Term Produce Storage. How Well Does It Work?
  2. How I Turned My Basement Stairs Into Storage
  3. How I Added Tons of Storage to My Kitchen for $18
  4. Mason Jar Storage

 

USE YOUR GARBAGE!

 

  1. 5 Uses for Coffee Grounds
  2. How to Make GREAT compost in 1 month.

O.K.

Have at it and have a great weekend!

63 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    glad to see your beets and carrots re-grew their tops too. I didn’t lop off the top of those veggies before storing for the winter – just broke off the leaves. I had a pretty little garden growing in our shed attached to our garage – lovely green and purple and pink stems and leaves – all growing in the dark and cool air.

    Actually I don’t think lopping off the tops would make a huge difference as the few carrots that had broken off tops re-grew their new leaves from the sides.

    • Karen says:

      That’s very strange they grew out from the sides, lol! Normally with beets you can’t cut too close to the actual beet because it’ll bleet all over. Hah! Normally if you the whole stalk off of the carrot and cut right into the carrot bit they won’t regrow but nothing is ever as it should be in gardening! ~ karen

  2. Cred says:

    While I was working in Ohio in ’93, at least in the community where I was, recycling was fairly new and collected in red boxes- whaaaat? As an Ontarian, I was already a veteran recycler at this point and knew that blue was synonymous with recycling. Seemed very weird.

  3. Teri says:

    Hellloooooo Karen. Just back from a whirlwind trip to Vancouver (from Vancouver Island) with my 16 year old daughter. we were tourists in lots of places and stayed on the hide-a-bed at my #1 son and our Daughter-in-love’s home (did you know that one of those egg-carton funky foam mattresses on top of a hide-a-bed make the bed FREAKING COMFORTABLE when you are exhausted after hours of being a tourist? nah, I didn’t know that either. but it is true. we slept like adults (not like babies, they wake up a lot) and woke refreshed). ANYWAY, we did a lot of tourist things and occasionally had items to eat that were wrapped in materials that needed disposing. You are absolutely correct – Vancouver has recycling ROWS rather than trash cans. awesome. and then the #1 son and Daughter-In-Love also do a serious recycle in their East Vancouver home so the ‘garbage’ situation is perhaps complicated but feels good. Paper, Styrofoam (sorry, leftovers from restaurants), metal, plastic, compost (they do their own), etc etc. As I raised #1 I know how to do this, and as they chose their new home they got roomies who know how.
    so as for the blue boxes – love that they are Canadian. When I was 10 and 11, my mom would take me to the recyle centre in Victoria BC, where we would collect old mayonaise jars for her to use for canning – and we would take old glass jars for some kind of recycling. It was such a pain when that building burned down when I was 15 or so. I still regret the loss of the hunt…. we could go in and take any mayonaise jar we wanted. Mom thinks i am crazy, but Know that I have some of those jars still in my ‘canning’ stash. YAY recycle. OK Rant mode off! 😉

  4. Mindy says:

    Portland, Oregon. Green bins, baby. Picked up once a week. Garbage is only every two weeks. We recycle everything. We visited friends in Arizona two years ago and it hurt every cell in my body to throw EVERYTHING away. It’s amazing what you become accustomed to…….and how you physically react when it isn’t an option.

    • Karen says:

      I don’t think I knew you were in Portland. You’re such a hipster! Heh. Green bins are the best. I compost a LOT but it’s great to know if I’m not going to put it in my own compost pile, it’ll get added to the city compost pile. ~ k!

    • NinaMargo says:

      Mindy, we’re getting a little bit better now in Arizona. Recycling pickup weekly now! Still amazes me however why every building doesn’t utilize solar panels! Duh.

    • Linn says:

      Yeah, for the Pacific Northwest! I’m from Seattle, and although not quite as advanced as Vancouver, we, too, are light years above the rest of our country. I’ve traveled a bit to a few of the surrounding states, only to haul cans, bottles and cardboard back to “civilization”. Unfortunately, the US has a few other things to “hang our heads” about.

  5. Auntiepatch says:

    We recycle in San Diego CA.

  6. Swinnen Lisette says:

    I live in Europe and recycling is a habit of more than 30 years now. Here in France, where I live now, they are not so far yet, but in Belgium (where I come from) , you have to pay for what you put outside of the on-recyclable things….per kilo ! The village collects also the plastic, cans, milk cartons, soda bottles and compostable stuff, once a week. Everything else that does not fit in a bin, you have to bring, yourself, to the tip. There too, you pay by kilo brought in.
    Anything you try to sneak in a bin that does not belong there, can be fined. Don’t think eather to leave your waste in nature. They will track you down.
    In supermarkets, plastic bags are not allowed, but you can by a re-usable bag for a couple of centiemes.

  7. SueB says:

    Re the freeze more things. I have drawers in my small freezer, and a couple of months ago I marie kondo’d them. I freeze liquid in small rectangular containers anyway but when they are frozen I take them out and put them in a small labelled plastic bag (too much air in the container and being frozen too long makes them brittle). I would then stack them in the drawers, which meant throwing blocks of icy food around in an effort to find what I wanted. Cold fingers and the freezer open longer than it needed to be.

    So then I read some blog, where someone had organised their t-shirts vertically rather than in a horizontal pile. I just grab whatever to wear so this wasn’t particularly interesting to me….except…..wouldn’t this work in my freezer? And yes it does. I freeze in a container, put in a bag when frozen, label bag on the side I’m going to see and then stack my frozen blocks like a flat bookshelf. I can now just whip open the drawer, read the labels and take out what’s needed without disturbing anything else. (This isn’t quite true, there’s a small amount of airspace above the blocks and I often stuff a bag of something on top too – so I might have to move a bag of peas but just because I’m a freezer stufferer – you don’t have to be)

    I then put the selected frozen block back into the original container and let it defrost overnight in the fridge, but that’s the same old way, nothing new there.

      • SueB says:

        I couldn’t say for sure but I spent an enjoyable (and sometimes heart rending) binge read of your blog a while back so it could well have been 🙂 The timing certainly fits.

        I’m inappropriately proud to admit that my tops are still in a swirly mess on the shelf :p They are not so much folded as punched into a space.

        As an aside, it’s very weird reading years of someone’s life condensed down to a week or two.

        And another aside, also slightly embarrassing that although I binge read all your posts(and most of the comments), these compilations are so useful because I apparently can no longer retain enough useful information in my long term memory.

        • Karen says:

          Thanks Sue B! They’re a good reminder for me too, lol. Sadly it’s my life and I can’t remember the majority of it. ~ karen

  8. carol says:

    I live in Los Angeles and we have your blue bins. Yep, they say “made in Canada.” Our green bins are for yard waste only. You’re on your own if you want to compost.

  9. SHawna says:

    Thanks for the shout out to Kitchener! Last week we started every second week garbage pick up and every week recycling and green bin pick up.

  10. Maggie Van Sickle says:

    In Fla now and recycling is not done by all in fact a lot of condo dwellers do not recycle because they do not want to take it to garbage area
    It is just easier to take one bag of garbage so everything goes in it

    Restaurants have only just started in the last 10 yrs
    It is getting better though.

  11. Danell says:

    We have average recyclable plan here in Onondaga County. We can use whatever color bin and whatever size for recyclables we need. We compost as well, have a pile that nearly turns to dirt upon dumping… 😉 . But, that saves on bags of garbage for sure! Love putting that on the garden bed in fall and spring.

  12. Dawn says:

    I have a bin system as well. Not quite 4 trash cans, but it works for me. All veggie/fruit scraps that the chickens eat go into a plastic and to the barn. What they won’t or shouldn’t eat, goes into a one gallon recycled plastic ice cream tub w/lid. I then take it as needed to the garden to empty. Paper is shredded, I used to use it for bedding for the pigs, but if it blows around, it makes a godawful mess, so now in the winter paper is burned in the outdoor wood furnace and the balance of the year it goes into the recycle bin for collection. I basically make everything from scratch, and that minimizes packaging waste, but most of what I have goes into the recycle bin after I have used it for every other conceivable purpose. I am an artist, so I use cans and plastic containers, aluminum pie pans, used and washed foil and wax paper (like out of a cereal box) for rinsing my brushes and mixing my paints as well. I try to keep on top of fresh produce that is in the refrigerator and if I don’t use it fast enough, I chop and freeze for soups/stews or chop up and throw in whatever I am cooking. Creative cooking on the fly. Generally our household produces less than 1 kitchen size garbage bag per week in trash.

  13. ronda says:

    Here in Toronto, we have green bins (compostables), giant blue bins (all recyclables) and giant black bins (regular garbage). Green bins are every week, with garbage and recyclng switching out every other week. My blue bins are usually full, but there have been many weeks where I don’t have any garbage to put out at all! And now that I am an empty nester, that will probably happen even more often.
    I bought a house in Ocala Florida, in a retirement community, and there, the garbage is picked up every week. No composting. Recycling has to be taken to a couple of industrial sized containers on commonunity property, and anything that isn’t garbage has to be taken to the dump. Took me a while to wrap my head around not separating out the food waste!

  14. Jacquie says:

    I live in Malta, a tiny Mediterranean island. Everything they do here is half-assed. We don’t have bins, you just throw a tied up garbage bag on the street (between certain hours) and it is collected every day. A few years ago, they brought out different coloured bags for recycling. All was going well until everyone realised that they all get thrown on the back of the same truck and get dumped in the same landfill! They’re trying it again now but it’ll still be a shambles; it’s what Malta does best 🙂

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Well hey, they’re trying. And I’m guessing Malta is beautiful which makes up for any stupidity along the way. ~ karen!

  15. Melissa Stinson says:

    We have green and blue in Dallas, but I’m moving to a small town north of there and they ONLY. HAVE. GREEN.

    Freeze pasties? What, what??

  16. Ev Wilcox says:

    Hi Karen! Here in northeast Ohio we have been recycling for years. We used to have to drive a few miles to do so, but our little township opened their own and it is about a city-block away (which is cool because we live out in nowhere)! And people who did not recycle are more and more getting with the program. Yay! As for the green bins-great idea for cityish locations, but not needed here. Most of us do our own “green bin” thing for our gardens. I did not realize that the recycle idea began in Canada-so, well done! As for this post-we are staying in-really really cold here with a good bit of snow, so I will have lots of time to peruse your lists-thank you. Stay warm everyone!

  17. Nancy says:

    PEI (Canada) rules on the recycling front. The province picks up black, green and blue bins everywhere! Every little back road and cottage has to recycle. If you throw the wrong stuff in the black bin you risk a ticket. As it should be.

  18. susan says:

    PEI has to be the champion of organized garbage. Every household is issued a grey bin and a green big, big ones, and a list of what goes where. Every second week is either grey or green and the first pickup day of every month, you put out your blue bags, with newspapers, foam, cans, etc, and cardboard tied together separately. If you mess up, you can expect the garbage police to attach a tag to your bins telling you what you did wrong. The compost stuff is put in monstrous piles, composted, and every spring the Lion Club sells fantastic compost for your garden that you can buy cheaply by the trailerload or bag. It’s not a big island and there isn’t room for monstrous dumps and it costs big bridge fees to ship it to the mainland. Besides which, they have to leave room for graveyards.

  19. Heather says:

    This is incredibly ironic timing as we were loading up the trash (we don’t have pick up service and have to take ours to town) with the spoiled food/leftovers from out fridge this morning my 13 year old son asked if we could start a compost bin. After all he said “Mom we are doing a garden this year remember”. We recycle newspaper, cardboard, plastic, batteries, plastic grocery bags, aluminum, tin cans and glass. We really try to reduce what we put in the landfill but spoiled food is something we could do better on. I was thinking as I was driving home from the recycle center, I should check “The Art of Doing Stuff” site, I bet you she has something building the perfect compost bin! Great timing Karen!

  20. Sabina says:

    Whilst cleaning out the family cottage in Crystal Beach, Ontario to get it ready for selling I will admit to “re-homing” their recycling tote to the other side of the border, but it’s green not blue. It’s a smaller version of my big black garbage tote and it was also much cleaner (like, never used) so I put it in my basement, lined it with two big black garbage bags and store my bags of flour and sugar in it.

  21. Jennifer Van Noland says:

    I’m pretty into composting. I’ve got a giant circle made of hardware cloth that I line with straw and put everything in there. Including old grease, kitchen scraps and I even put small dead rodents that my cats kill in it. I cover it with either grass clipping or more straw so critters aren’t attracted to it. I also have compost toilets. And not those really expensive ones either. I made them. I bought the “Humanure” book by Joe Jenkins. It’s changed my life. Even if you don’t want them in your house (they DON’T smell btw) you can put one in your garage or somewhere else where plumbing is impossible because these toilets don’t use any water. You can use this humanure after two years of composting. It’s great for veggie gardens and trees. My compost thermometer reached 122 degrees the other day!

    • Karen says:

      Ha! I could use one of those toilets up at my community garden where there are no toilets and I’m often there for 6 hours straight. I’m assuming you already know this, but just in case …. don’t let your compost get too hot or you’ll destroy the happy little dirt microbes. (keep it below 150 f) I’m sure you knew that but I’m compulsive about compost. 😉 ~ karen!

  22. Here in Arlington, VA, we have whole-stream (whatever they call letting us put recycling in a blue bin, except for the stuff that goes in the green bin). I confess to analysis paralysis when faced with the wall of bins at the Whole Foods and in my daughter’s college dorm.

  23. Nancy Eggert says:

    Chicago has had a recycling program since 2013 but unfortunately only about 10% of us actively recycle. Before the city-wide recycling program, I used to take my recyclables to a local recycling center. The program was rolled out gradually across the city, and you can only imagine my excitement when I came home from work one evening and found a shiny new blue recycling bin waiting for me (yes, I have a sad and pitiful life). One of the issues here is that many people don’t understand that, although their pizza box is cardboard, it’s also greasy and shouldn’t be mixed with clean dry paper. Wish more people would get on board here like in Canada!

  24. Karen as well says:

    Thank you Karen, for raising our attention to this important issue! There is no “away” and we must do better. I’m so excited that in Calgary this summmer we will be adding a green bin to our black and blue bin line-up. It will take bones, used tissue, and even pet waste. Reducing plastic packaging is the next frontier!

  25. Eileen says:

    I have a big green trash bin that usually has one tiny little plastic grocery type bag cowering in the bottom each week. My bigger 2nd bag used to be kitty litter/waste….
    : (
    All plant material food scraps and eggshells go to my compost pile. Recycling goes in a blue bin. We have “yard waste” collection too. You use a dedicated bin (self-supplied) with a sticker on it, or paper yard waste bags that have to be purchased. This gets composted at a county facility and can be bought by the truckload or in bags as “Leafgro.” I put in the things I can’t compost: branches, roots, some plant materials.
    I try to avoid as much packaging material as I can – it always astonishes me when I see how much of that fills others bins.
    And I really don’t understand why people can’t make that little extra bit of effort. What are they using the “saved” few minutes for? TV, checking phones? Is that more important than the one planet we have?

  26. Chris White says:

    One small thing I do to reduce, reuse and recycle is purchase my butter from the company that wraps their butter in paper wrap. I pop the butter on the dish then fold the wrapper back up and place it in the fridge to use later to grease my pans. Once it has been used for this purpose, it’s then used with the kindling to get the fire started in the morning. Not earth shattering but I feel good every time I do it.

  27. Carolyn Boyd says:

    We were in France in September and were impressed with the paper bags for produce and fruit in the market and that you had to buy grocery bags; no plastic. Also that yoghurt, etc., came in reusable glass tubs. I grew up in Brampton, where we had the same system as Karen. Here in Nova Scotia we are also very good at recycling. I also continued my habit of back yard composting for my gardens. We hardly put any “garbage” to the curb. We do have a problem in this beautiful country with people throwing their fast food crap out the window, though.

  28. Alena says:

    I did not know that the blue bin was conceived in Kitchener; that’s very cool!

    I am very fiercely dedicated to composting, reusing and recycling. Every scrap of paper goes to to cardboard box (those from eggs from Zehrs are perfect because they have the cutouts on two sides for easy lifting/carrying. With all the flyers of which I get a tonne each week and every envelope (from which I remove the plastic see through window) – everything goes in there. Tins and plastic go to the blue bin and compostable stuff goes into my compost.
    I find it very sad that many people take our planet for granted and are no willing to make the slightest personal sacrifice for the benefit of the environment (like all the lazy bums who idle the car for 10 minutes at Tim’s drive-through every morning even though there are no customers inside and they would be served faster if they went in).

  29. Peggy Grobmyer says:

    I am a retired teacher and fortunately our town (Conway, Arkansas) has a easy recycling program in place. We have co-mingled blue bins. Our town collects yard waste to make free mulch. The sanitation department also operates a reuse center. All of the schools have recycling programs in place.
    What bothered me was that when I taught recycling with my students, they were on board, but there parents were not. No matter how easy it was made for the community, people still chose to not participate.

    • Pat says:

      Peggy is right! Kudos to her for teaching kids about recycling. We’re ‘rabid’ recyclers. My son’s girlfriend tossed fruit scraps in our garbage. I made an audible yelp when I discovered it and dug it all out and put it into the compost pail. Gave my son what for. “I didn’t see her do it! Sorry.” Daughter’s friend threw Starbucks cups and styrofoam food container into garbage. Arrrrrgggggg when I discovered that and fished them out, washed them and put them into the blue bin. “Don’t your friends know better?” “They don’t recycle at their house Mom. Everything goes in the garbage.” Dear Lord. C’mon parents!!!!!

      • to be fair, starbucks cups aren’t actually recyclable- they are paper and plastic smashed together and can’t really be processed. And styrofoam isn’t excepted most places.

  30. Renee Rydzewski says:

    Double check with your recycling center regarding shredded paper. I did this also for years, but my daughter that worked for an environmental firm in Seattle told me that when they went to the main recycle center there to learn all about the process, that shredded paper jams the machines, also if you leave the plastic caps on your bottles, that can also jam the machine as it shreds the plastic. Maybe this does not apply to all, but just passing info along. We finally have a center you can take things to, but most times it is full of garbage instead of recycling. I want a blue bin so badly. I do have my own, but I want curbside!

  31. andrea says:

    I have six different bins
    trash
    green waste (garden and kitchen)
    blue box
    paper stuff
    plastics
    styrofoam

  32. Amanda says:

    Sorry – I know this is way of topic but I’ve often wondered…. Karen – I’d like to know how you clean your house. Do you have a routine or schedule – or dare I say – a CLEANING service? Just curious. Love your blog!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amanda. Oh that made me laugh. No I definitely don’t have a cleaning routine. I think I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t. I try to keep things halfway tidy which is never easy because I’m always in the middle of doing/building/ or experimenting with something. I don’t have a cleaning service but if I had the time to research them I absolutely would get a cleaning lady/man. The house is usually tidied before I go to bed (living room back to normal, cushions put back etc., kitchen is usually cleaned up (dishes done, put away etc.) but by mid afternoon it’s all a disaster again, lol. ~ karen!

  33. Joanne says:

    Thank you for this! I will certainly click through on some of those links…. We do recycle most everything although I don’t have a compost going – I’ve tried and need to try again. Our town has recycle bins that you must take your stuff too but now we have someone doing curbside pickup so we’re trying that out. Cost is $35 a month but at least she takes glass – the town does not. I love my Nespresso coffee and now I can send my used pods away for recycling, free, through TerraCycle Canada.

    Have you watched any of the Trashopolis shows? Fascinating! Each episode is about a huge city and how they handle their trash… we were re-watching the Berlin episode last night… they do not have a dump. No dump at all since 2005 or something. Everything is recycled. Highly recommend this show.

    thanks again for all you do – I am both entertained and educated.

  34. Marti J says:

    No dehydrator? What are you doing with your leftover fresh green beanies that you bought at Costco but only ate half the package of? Do you know how much healthier the dehydrated spicy green bean snacks are when you make them yourself as opposed to paying $8/pd for them? When I figure out how to make the carrot ships taste that good, life will be complete.

  35. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    I’ve been composting now for 11 years, have two round black compost bins that I purchased from the ‘Keep Milwaukee Beautiful’ organization, they come apart in two halves so it’s very easy to process the compost for the garden in the spring and fall.

    We have big green bins for landfill and big blue bins for combined recyclables. I make everything from scratch so I have very little landfill trash, but we fill up the recycle bin with kitty cans pretty quickly!

    There is a gal here in Milwaukee, Melissa Tashjian, who started a business collecting food waste from restaurants and grocery stores and now they have a pilot program for residential pick-up of food waste. Yay!!! And all the community gardens here in the city have compost bins, too. We’re on the right track!

  36. Jane says:

    I live in England and I’m shocked that some states don’t recycle!! We’ve had different bins at home, on the street and workplaces for decades.
    In the Derbyshire Dales we have 4 bins for every home.

    Over here it is extremely rare and appalling to meet a person who doesn’t recycle. I can’t believe other western countries can be so far behind!

  37. Sonja Donnelly says:

    Have you written anything on getting rid of persistent little sugar ants, that is safe for our environment?

    • Catherine says:

      Squish and a trail of borax mixed with some maple sugar. It’s a love hate-relationship. We’re too emotionally healthy to understand.

  38. I’d hate for your Memphis trip to give you the idea we are all like that. I would just like to point out that many people in America recycle. Just not in ‘middle’ America. Those are also probably the people who voted for trump. Many of us in California are very dedicated about reducing waste in the first place. Like establishing bag bans, or bringing our own containers to the store to fill up peanut butter in bulk.

  39. Catherine says:

    Dear karen: Please help with preserving (especially potatoes, onions and garlic) when:

    the average home temp is 80 degrees F (and that IS in the coldest, darkest part of the house) and while we have loads of freezer and fridge space the available storage between that is a great big goose egg.

    I’d love to have potatoes; russet, waxy, white, yellow or red, last longer than 1 week before they sprout and I’d love to have onions do the same. Seriously. Onions, all by their lonesome, start growing greens before the week is over.

    I’d like to be able to count on allegedly “root”veggies behaving like that. And while I search online and find all kinds of happy go lucky blogs and posts about storing veggies up north, no one seems to have the cojones to talk about saving stuff here down south.

    Wimps.

    Other than chopping and freezing onions, you got any other options? Bring it.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Catherine! Well it depends on where you are. 🙂 Trust me I know ALL about how hard it is to keep root vegetables when you have hot conditions because I dig my root vegetables up it’s August here which is often 80-90 degrees. For me, I keep them in my basement which is fairly cool until I can transfer them to my mudroom in the fall. For YOU, the one thing I’ve heard can work (and it makes sense but you need to have a lot of room) is to dig a no longer working bar sized (or slightly larger) fridge into your backyard. Or front yard. You dig it right down into the dirt until the door is level with the ground or even deeper if you can manage it. The earth is cooler the deeper you go. So if you keep your root vegetables outside in that DIY “root cellar” it keeps them at the ambient temperature of the ground which at 3′ or 4′ can be as cool as 50 degrees or so. Perfect for storing root vegetables. Hope that helps ’cause it’s the only plausible answer I have. 🙂 ~ karen!

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