Chris thinks that quarantine has made me go nuts in that I have been cleaning pretty much everything in sight. I started even more domestic-goddess type activities, such as regrowing my scallions, reorganizing my spice drawer, and now making my own citrus vinegar all-purpose cleaner. I started following a few different #nowaste personalities on Instagram that I’ve found inspiring. In a country like the US, where waste is always plentiful because we have so much of everything, it’s actually really sad how often things are wasted. Even if we remove the waste that comes from people who refuse to take leftover food home, the people who refuse to eat the dark meat on chicken and consume only the white, there’s so much waste that happens even before food gets to consumers via the suppliers/processors. On top of that, there’s the waste from food we eat. Sure, there’s food that goes bad before we realize it’s bad. Then, there’s the waste that happens from consumers who just follow dubious “sell by” labels and don’t bother checking the food via smell/taste tests themselves. They throw out perfectly good food just based on a dumb label that is hard to interpret. Then, depending on how you want to characterize it, ends of celeries and cilantro stems are wasted because people don’t like to eat them; carrot skins and onion shells can be used in chicken stock; even citrus peels are actually edible! So how do we actually get the most use out of what we have?
One handle I follow suggested that if we are not using citrus peels in cooking to instead add them to a glass container and store in the freezer. Once full, fill the container with white vinegar and keep in a dark, cool place for two weeks (like under your kitchen sink. Two weeks later, the vinegar will be fully infused with the oils and extra juices from the citrus peels, and you can strain it to then use it with equal parts water for an all-purpose cleaner. In general, it’s not great to use vinegar to clean granite/marble countertops since the acid from the vinegar can actually etch these natural stones.
I took the container out from under my sink today to reveal a deep orange liquid that smelled extremely fresh, fruity, and sour. If you hate the smell of vinegar, this is the DIY cleaner solution for you! I love the idea of contributing less waste to the environment with actions that are actually within our control.