Tips

Pairing wine with salads

Some dishes seem to be a natural match for wine. Unfortunately, this is not the case of salads, which have traditionally been considered “hostile” to wine. However, food experts agree there is no reason to say no to a glass of wine while indulging on a nice salad, especially now that salads are so much more than just a medley of greens.

In fact, today’s menu can revolve around a scrumptious salad packed with flavors and textures that can be a perfect match for a multitude of wines. The idea is to choose young and fresh wines with a nice fruit component to pair with less complex dishes. An aged wine is out of the question for lighter fare, as its complexity would simply clash with a salad’s simpler nature.     

Experts also recommend reducing the amount of vinegar in the dressing without forasmuch sacrificing flavor and elegance. Consider utilizing other ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, which adds a gentler touch, or even some of the same wine you will be drinking as the base for the dressing. 

Even though during the summer there is a marked preference for white wines, salads and cold dishes, there is always a moment to enjoy other wines. Fortunately, wine is not a seasonal product.

Growing an urban vegetable garden

Almost any space can be a good place to grow your own vegetables in the city: a small garden, a terrace, a balcony, or even a window ledge. The only “must” is to have several hours of full sun each day.

If your space is limited, you can use a simple pot or a wooden box where you will place the dirt. The dirt can be either potting soil or compost. Caution is recommended when using compost, as any excess can damage your crop. The layer of soil must be between 2 and 10 centimeters deep.

It is important to turn the soil to aerate it and increase its softness. A spongy soil will be crucial for your vegetable garden. Your gardening tools may be a beach shovel, a small rake or even a sturdy fork if the planting area is small. Remember to remove any weeds, stones and garbage from the area you have chosen to cultivate your veggies. Use loose dirt only.

Recycling cooking oil

Discarding cooking oil down the drain pollutes thousands of gallons of water that will later pose a big cleaning challenge for water companies. In addition to preventing the water from absorbing oxygen, cooking oil leaves drain lines dirty and oily, causing foul smells and potential clogs.   

In some European countries, recycling, refining, and transforming cooking oil into biofuel that may be used in cars is a common practice and, in some cases, even a lucrative business. 

If you have used your cooking oil and no recycling facilities are available in your area, simply pour it into a plastic bottle and throw it into the garbage. Since plastic bottles are biodegradable, the oil will feed a number of microorganisms that will incorporate it into the natural cycle.

Eco-friendly tips to save water

The first thing is to check for any leaks or faults around your home and fix them.   Plumbing leaks can waste up to 30 liters of water each day. 

While waiting for the shower to heat up, fill up a bucket that you can later use for watering your plants.

Remember that a 5-minute shower consumes approximately 100 liters, whereas filling the bathtub can use up to 300 liters.

Consider turning the water off while you soap up, brush your teeth or shave. You can also turn the faucet off if you wash the dishes manually.

Do not flush the toilet unnecessarily. 

Start the washing machine and the dishwasher only when they have a full load. It is better to use the washing machine, as hand washing consumes 40% more water.

Do not use hot water to thaw frozen food.  Think ahead and take it out of the freezer the night before. 

If you have a swimming pool, cover it up during the winter months or when not in use. This will keep the water clean much longer and will prevent the water from turning green due to the presence of algae or other causes. Changing the water from year to year will not be necessary if proper regular maintenance is provided. You may use the same water for up to three years.

Water your plants early in the morning or at dusk, as these are the coolest hours of the day. Watering when it is hot will cause some of the water to evaporate.

Consider installing a drip irrigation system or using plastic bottles filled with water. Punch a few holes on the cap and plant them upside down into the pot. Plants will absorb the water they need by themselves.

If you have a large garden, divide it into water zones, grouping the plants with similar water requirements to save on irrigation costs.