Friday, December 23, 2016

Review: The Swag reuseable produce bags

Recently I've been using something new to keep my fruit and vegetables in. We've never been a family that produces lots of waste, and even if we do, I'm very eco conscious and odds are it will end up being eaten by the dogs or the chickens, or the compost heap will get it. However, I am also conscious of the amount of plastic that is used these days too. It particularly irks me when I see fruit and vegetables pre-wrapped or portioned into plastic containers, and I will deliberately go out of my way to choose to fill my own (reusable) bag with the portion I want to buy.

The Swag is an Australian product for storing produce. It's made of three layers of natural unbleached cotton - the outer layer protects the fruit and veg and stops the water in the middle layer drying up. The middle later absorbs and holds water, but draws moisture away from the inside produce, therefore increasing the storage life. The inner layer is a dry barrier which sits against the produce but allows them to absorb the water and air through the fabric too.

I have them in a few different sizes - the green one is a longer size which is great for things like celery and spring onions. The white one is the large size, and pretty much anything fits in there. The red and blue ones are small bags, and I love that they're colour coded so I can identify individual bags in the fridge.

They're super simple to use, and in fact, the instructions are sewn onto the bag! All you have to do is make sure the swag is a little bit wet, but not dripping. Put the produce in and then store it in your fridge. Make sure the Swag is a bit damp and there you have it! I need to sprinkle them with water every few days but that's not a big deal for me at all.
I don't even have to separate different types of veggies and fruits, in fact, I find it convenient to store all my veggies together, all my fruits together etc. I even use one of the bags to store my potatoes in (but that one lives in the cupboard, not the pantry, and isn't kept damp at all).
I've been using my Swags for a little while now and I love them. Here's some carrots stored in one of the small bags. They're just loose in there, but they're perfectly happy and still crispy and good. I definitely think that these bags are helping to prolong the life of my fresh produce - and actually, my mushrooms are quite happy to be stored in a Swag as well (although like potatoes I don't wet their bag).

I'm very happy to be cutting down on plastic storage bags, saving money by not having to discard food (although the chickens might not agree!). I think it's a great product.

Note that this review is not sponsored, I just love the bags and wanted to show how I keep my fruit and vegetables fresh for longer.
 

Friday, December 9, 2016

What's in my kitchen, December 2016

I'm cutting it a bit close for this month's In My Kitchen. In fact, I didn't think I was going to do one, it's just been so busy lately. But then, Mr Fork told me that he had to go interstate for work and so I'd be single parenting for a week or so. Which, compared to what some parents have to do when their partners work fly in/fly out isn't really that bad, but I do find it exhausting. Mainly because it's so hard to always be 'on call' and available to my children without another adult backup. So I decided to snatch a few minutes time to myself and blog while I could. We're smack in the middle of birthday season (both my children and their friendship groups are second half of the year babies) so we've had parties to go to most weekends. Coupled with end of year festivities and it's been a crazy social whirl. It's actually a good thing - lots of new foods to try and since my small man has decided to wean I can indulge in a drink or two. Hurrah! Anyway, here's what's taking up space in my kitchen lately.

In my kitchen is...

Lemongrass tea, brought back from Bali for me from my lovely aunt. I like to brew it up and then drink it cold - I find it quite refreshing and a nice way to drink more water in this humidity lately. I love tea, although I do have quite the tea collection and should probably put some effort into working my way through it before it gets too far out of control!
In my kitchen is...

A jar of pumpkin pie spice. As an Australian, I've always been fascinated when Americans describe their Thanksgiving foods. I've never eaten a turkey, nor been interested in it, but the side dishes, well they intrigue me. Sweet potato casserole with marshmallow on top? Salad made of jelly? Pecan pie? Pumpkin pie? Well sign me up for those pies! When one of my colleagues was in the US lately, he told me he thought of me while walking around in Whole Foods (another place I feel I must visit one day) and brought me back a bottle of pumpkin pie spice.

After imagining it for so long I was disappointed to find that it was just a mix of spices I already have in the kitchen but it does smell delicious and I have grand plans for this bottle. I tested it out by adding some to a batch of of plain mini cakes and oh my did it make my kitchen smell delicious! I can't wait to experiment some more when I have actual pumpkin in the house.
In my kitchen is...

Sweetened condensed coconut milk. I found this is my local Asian grocer. I was super chuffed that it was on sale, down to 49c a can due to the short shelf life remaining. No matter to me, I have ear marked the ones I bought for Christmas baking - a caramel slice and some apricot/coconut balls to be precise. I'm so pleased to have found a source of dairy free condensed milk as some of my favourite childhood treats are made with it and I can add them back into my repertoire without my tummy rebelling due to dairy. Win!
In my kitchen is...

A souvenir from a recent girls' weekend away. I escaped with some friends for a weekend of wandering around markets, lazing by the pool and having tapas and wine for dinner without having to worry about getting up to tend to small humans. In a little boutique winery I found a bottle of fig and ginger jam and had to have it. It's delicious on scones, although no one else in my household seems to appreciate it, which just means more for me!
In my kitchen is...

A large bottle of Tabasco sauce, which my brother asked me to get for him next time I was at Costco. I didn't photograph it next to anything for scale, but it's the biggest Tabasco bottle I have ever seen - 355ml. It should keep him going for quite some time. I'm going to include it in his Christmas present.
In my kitchen is...

Well, not technically in my kitchen, but in my kitchen garden, are some eye wateringly hot chillies in various stages of ripeness, which I plan to use to make a batch of home made tabasco sauce.
In my kitchen is...

Sourdough loaves. Thankfully my previously reported sluggish dough has perked up and is back to producing loaves that I am happy with again. These loaves are a higher hydration, with a coarse polenta coating. They go deliciously with vegemite and avocado, which, now that prices have come down to something reasonable again, are back on my menu at home.

I'm sending this to Lizzy, of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things for linking in to her monthly IMK roundup.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy festive season, and I look forward to seeing all the seasonal goodies in everyone's kitchen. What's happening in your kitchen lately?

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