Between fermenting foods and making natural products at home, there are several opportunities to take part in eco-friendly practices. You may be doing some of this already and not even realize it.
RE-USE FERMENTATION BYPRODUCTS
1. Save Your Whey!
Whether you are making homemade buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, or milk kefir, chances are you will be straining whey from your cultured dairy at some point during the culturing process. Rather than letting it go to waste, check out our list of Ways to Use Whey for ideas for reusing this beneficial byproduct. Not only will you be avoiding unnecessary waste, but you could be adding some extra nutrition to your diet!
2. Re-Use Leftover Vegetable Brine
Did you know you can save your jar of leftover brine from fermented vegetables? Use it as a salad dressing vinegar, as a starter, or get more ideas from our list of 8 Uses for Leftover Vegetable Brine.
3. Don’t Discard that Sourdough Starter!
We know that it’s often inevitable that some of your sourdough starter will end up in the trash can. But rather than throw extra starter away, try using it in one of our many discarded starter recipes. From pancakes to crackers to muffins there are oh so many ways to use leftover starter.
4. Add Extra Milk Kefir to Recipes for a Probiotic Kick!
When you first activate dehydrated milk kefir grains, odds are you’ll be using quite a bit of milk over the course of a week to get those grains happy and healthy. While it may seem like you’re wasting, as long as the milk looks, smells, and tastes pleasant you can add it to recipes or use it as a starter for other fermenting projects. Check out our list of Five Ways to Use Milk Kefir for more ideas!
5. Get Creative with Extra Scoby's
If you are making kombucha regularly, odds are that you have several scobys. You can use these to continue to make kombucha, but if you find yourself overrun with scobys there are a handful of ways to keep them from going to waste. Browse our list of Uses for Extra Scobys for ideas!
6. Add Yogurt that Doesn’t Set to Recipes
Maybe your first batch of homemade yogurt doesn’t quite set. You'll definitely need to save a bit to culture the next batch of yogurt, but the unset yogurt doesn't have to go to waste either. As long as it looks, smells, and tastes pleasant you can add it to recipes. Just treat it like cultured milk!
RE-USE MATERIALS & SUPPLIES
7. Recycle Grolsch Bottles
Grolsch bottles are an easy option for bottling water kefir and kombucha. Allowing these probiotic beverages to ferment a second time in an airtight vessel helps create a delicious carbonated zing. Give your grolsch bottles a good cleaning in between uses and you can use them again and again. Just be sure to check for cracks!
8. Re-use Butter Muslin and Cheesecloths
REDUCE ENERGY USAGE
9. Make Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker
Did you know you don’t have to use a yogurt maker to maintain culturing temperatures? Check out our list of 10 Yogurt Culturing Alternativesto learn how to make yogurt without a yogurt maker and save a little energy in the process.
10. Don’t Crank Up the Heat
While cultures work best within certain temperature ranges, you don't necessarily have to change the temperature of your entire home to keep your starter cultures happy. Find other ways to keep your cultures at the right temperature during the colder, winter months. Culturing in the summer months? We have tips for Warm Weather Care for Starter Cultures too!
11. Opt for Re-usable, Heirloom Cultures
The convenience of using direct-set starter cultures is great, but putting a little extra care and attention into a reusable culture pays off in the long run. To make homemade yogurt, try our Greek or Bulgarian Yogurt Starter instead of using Traditional or Mild Flavor Yogurt Starters. Tomake homemade kefir try using Milk Kefir Grains or Water Kefir Grains instead of a Kefir Starter Culture, (You can always put reusable cultures on hold if you need to take a break from culturing.)
12. Get Creative Culturing
Each cultured foods has its own unique set of microorganisms. Though starter cultures are generally used to create a specific cultured food, (a SCOBY for kombucha, yogurt starters for yogurt making), the microorganisms in cultured foods can be used to ferment more than you might expect. Read more about 5 Cultures You Can Use to Ferment Almost Anything to learn how you may already have a starter culture to ferment a new cultured treat.
13. Share Cultures with Friends and Family.
Have sourdough starter, milk kefir, or scobys that are multiplying beyond control? Pass some along to friends and family. Not only does this prevent waste but you may just help someone discover a new hobby.
14. Grow Your Own Vegetables for Fermenting
Growing your own vegetables not only gives you control over how your produce is farmed, but it creates a self sustainability. Plus, when summer arrives there will be endless ways to Ferment You Garden.