Alina Sewing and Design
Do you guys remember back in July when I was talking about how I would be aiming to bring some simplicity back into my life? Well, I’ve made it through nearly all of those books and have read some additional as well. One was called Easy Green Living, by Renée Loux. So far, it’s one of my favorites for its all-encompassing and easy-to-understand chapters. (My other favorite is
Skinny Bitch: Home, Beauty & Style: A No-Nonsense Guide to Cutting the Crap Out of Your Life for a Better Body and a Kinder World, by Kim Barnouin – again, remember my disclaimer on her colorful language!) Both books break down words like dioxins, parahydroxybenzoate, phthalates, and perfluorinated compounds in ways that make sense, that I can remember and that help me to understand their impact on my health. And EASY ways to remove them. I still have a lot of studying to do, but my ultimate goal is to put together a guide on easy ways to be green and why it matters (like buying unbleached coffee filters–bought for the same price at the same place–instead of bleached coffee filters for a dioxin-free cup of coffee…EASY and IMPACTFUL).

So let’s talk about organic produce. Everyone has unique budgets and priorities, but for me, I’ve been sticking to EWG’s “Dirty Dozen Plus” list (top 12 produce you should buy organic if at all possible, as they are the top pesticide-sprayed fruits/veggies and buying organic therefore reduces your overall exposure to pesticides by leaps and bounds!):

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet Peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines – Imported
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – Domestic
  12. Potatoes

    + Green Beans
    + Kale/Greens

They have a free app you can download for both iPhone and Android, which is really handy if you’re in the grocery store and don’t remember if it’s imported or domestic blueberries you’re supposed to buy organic! You can check out their web site or their app to see where all produce is rated. They also have a “Clean 15” list, which are the lowest in pesticides and therefore you can save your sweet grocery budget on conventionally-grown versions of these items!

Anyway, moving on to what this post is actually about; whether you’re buying all conventional, all organic, or a mixture of the two, you need to clean that produce when you bring it home, right? And you probably don’t want to clean it with something that has more questionable chemicals in it than the pesticides you started with, do you? And if you guys know me, you know I’m not spending a chunk of change on a “natural” produce wash from a natural food store when I know I could create something out of the stuff in my pantry.

Renée Loux includes three different produce washes in her book. One is called, “Extra-Strength Lemon Peel Produce Wash.” It calls for 4 cups of filtered water, 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of Lemon Peel Concentrate (which is below and is the whole point of this novel!), 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 4 drops of grapefruit seed extract. You mix them together until the baking soda has dissolved and can put it into a spray bottle to spritz your produce or a bowl to dunk it all together.

So, if you’ve read this post thus far, congratulations. If your eyes skimmed past all of the words and straight to the pictures, hello and welcome. 🙂

Lemon Peel Concentrate

You need:
– 4 organic* lemons
– 1 cup vodka (cheap is fine)

*No, you wouldn’t normally buy lemons organic, but you’re using the peel, which is where the pesticides are, in order to make a produce wash to remove the pesticides from your conventionally-grown produce. So, yes, organic is important…otherwise, you’d be rendering this produce wash pointless. 🙂

1. Give the organic lemons a good scrub in a water bath.

2. Peel away the yellow part of the peel, leaving behind the bitter white pith. I started this with a paring knife, but after the first half of the first lemon, I realized I didn’t have all afternoon to sit around carefully peeling lemons. I remembered that Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer we got as a wedding present that we haven’t used yet and set it up. It worked like a dream!

3. Place your lemon peels in a jar and cover with vodka.

4. Sealing the lid tightly, let stand for 2 weeks in a dark & cool place.

5. When the concentrate it ready, strain out the solids and store, for up to a year, in a cool, dark place.

6. Wash some produce and read the health benefits of citrus peel extracts here (yep, this can be consumed and used in a recipe much like vanilla extract would be!)

Speaking of which…vanilla extract is made almost the exact same way, only it sits for 2-3 months. My first batch is close to finishing!

And you know what to do when life gives you lemons, right? 😀


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