The 3 R's
Everyone knows the 3R’s- reduce, reuse and recycle but did you know the order of the R’s is important? Reduce is the most planet friendly way to help our world and recycling is the least effective.
Single Use Plastic
On a recent trip to the grocery store I checked out the salad dressing aisle. My mind is on salads this month because it is easy, fun and tasty to eat lots of salad with all the wonderful veggies, fruits and flowers available. There are a lot of single use plastic bottles sitting on the shelfs.
One of the reason there is so much plastic in our lives is convenience. In our busy lives we often look for time savers and plastic is the way most time saving items are packaged. Bottled salad dressing is so easy to use. Open and pour.
Why Not Make Your Own Salad Dressing?
If you have 10 minutes and a glass of wine you can make a delicious and tasty salad dressing- and you’ve just eliminated a plastic bottle form the waste stream. And since most store salad dressing contains unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients the quality of your salad will improve with a simple homemade vinaigrette.
A basic vinaigrette recipe is ¼ acid to ½ to ¾ oil. The fun part is deciding what acid and what oils.
Acids are basically vinegars. Choose from red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, rice vinegar and fruit vinegars.
Next pick an oil, you’re going to save quite a bit of money making your own salad dressing so splurge and buy a good quality oil. The most popular is extra-virgin olive oil. Other oils to try are Grapeseed, Canola and Nut oils. The Nut oil works quite nicely with fruit vinegars.
The Difference Between Glass and Plastic Bottles
Remember when shopping for items look for oils and vinegars packaged in glass not plastic. Here’s why- when glass is recycled it is turned back into glass. It can be recycled over and over and it still turns into glass. Plastic on the other hand can not be recycled into plastic bottles. It can be turned into plastic carpet or plastic lumber but not a plastic bottle. The term used to describe the reality of plastic recycling is “downcycling”.
Once you’ve decided on your choice of acid and vinegar you need to find a bottle for your dressing. Hopefully, you’ll be using this bottle for many years so pick a wonderful jar. You can go out and buy a new bottle but it’s more fun and earth friendly to find one you can reuse. Maybe a trip to your favorite antique shop- there a a lot of fun ones here in Maine.
No Plastic Bottle Salad Dressing Recipe
¼ cup acid- your choice ½-¾ cup oil
1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon or other mustard (optional)
First combine your acid, salt and mustard in a small bowl if you’re using a small mouth bottle or put in your wide mouth bottle and shake. Add the oil slowly and continue to whisk or dump in the jar and shake, shake, shake. Take a small taste? Decide if you need more oil. Store in fridge.I like narrow neck bottles because they are so pretty and to fit everything in use a small kitchen funnel. Another advantage is it’s easy to pour the right amount on your salad. But, a wide mouth jar makes it easier to mix and taste to see if the proportions are right. The most important feature is choosing the bottle that brings you joy and looks great on your table.