Stop Making Your Iced Tea with Hot Water

Top 10 Green Companies in the U.S. 2016

58 Organizations Fighting Food Waste

How to Shop Smarter for Eco-Friendly Products
Tips from Real Simple Magazine

RECYCLING PLASTICS IS AS EASY AS...1, 2, 3, (4, 5, 6, 7)

DIY - Colorful Outdoor Furniture

nature conserve

Stop Making Your Iced Tea with Hot Water

From how much tea to use to why fridge tea is superior to sun tea, Elyssa Goldberg, contributor to bon appétit shares everything you need to know about how to cold brew and ice brew tea.

Cold Brew
“Literally you put it in a fridge with cold water,” said Elena Liao, founder of Té Company in New York and importer of Taiwanese oolongs. “The colder temperature doesn’t steep out the tannins the way hot water does, so cold-brewed tea is actually less astringent and less caffeinated.”

The method: Float the tea leaves in water and let the container sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour, then put it in the fridge overnight, about eight hours. The next morning, strain and enjoy. If you were using high-quality tea leaves, you can re-steep the next night and let it sit for longer than just overnight (so, maybe 16 hours instead of the usual eight hours). The flavor will be a little bit lighter, but you’ll still get a great cold brew.

The leaves: The best teas to use are those that are a little bit sweeter, like a light oolong, she said, adding, “cold-brewed tea comes out much sweeter than their hot counterparts.”

The math: She recommends using between one and two teaspoons of tea leaves for every cup of water and four to five teaspoons for a liter carafe or bottle. The same goes for making cold-brewed iced tea with tea bags. Putting one tea bag in a whole liter-sized pitcher of water and letting it sit overnight isn’t enough. “It’s just lightly flavored water at that point,” said Jeff Ruiz, who is responsible for the tea program at Olmsted (also formerly of the tea program at Atera) in New York. He recommends using three to four bags per liter instead. You’ll inevitably use more leaves than you would if you were brewing the same volume hot, but trust the technique.

Beyond Cold-Brew: The Ice Brew
Ruiz swears by ice brewing (also known as kouridashi-style brewing), a Japanese method of frigid cold water extraction. With this technique, the tea brews as a big block of ice melts. “The colder the water, and the longer the period that the leaf spends on the water, the more concentrated the flavor,” he said.

The method: Start with a rocks glass. Put a big ice cube at the bottom (the kind of oversized cubes you might see in a fancy whiskey rocks at a nice cocktail bar) and drizzle a few drops of water on the ice cube to trigger the melting. If you level up and want to try your hand at fruity flavors in your iced tea, try making an infused syrup, like this plum concoction in our cold brew plum iced tea.

The leaves: Kouridashi is best utilized for really special tea leaves, such as super seasonal green shincha, gyokuro, or Bao Zhong oolong.

The math: Drop between one and two teaspoons of tea leaves into the cup (on top, next to, underneath—it doesn’t matter) and let it go for 20 to 30 minutes. “If you’re having guests over, you can make a pretty cool show out of it,” he said. “Plus, you’re able to extract more without pulling too much bitterness out of it.” Strain out the tea leaves and drink. It’ll be melted enough so that you have a small volume of really awesome iced tea. Also re-steep if you have a lot of extra time on your hands and are thirsty for more tea.

If that sounds stressful and overly fussy, try this shortcut instead: Put three ice cubes in a rocks glass and add about ¼ cup of water that’s just below boiling. Add between one to two teaspoons of tea leaves, and let that steep for about six minutes. Really, that’s it.

One last thing: If you botch your batch, there are a few ways to rescue it. Too strong? Just dilute it with more water. If it all just seems too far gone, you may as well get tipsy with it. Liao’s rule of thumb: The lighter the tea, the lighter the accompanying liquor. Roasted, deeper tea goes better with rum or whiskey; oolongs and greens pair best with gin or vodka. We’re not in the business of judging a well-timed heavy pour either.

To read other stories by Elyssa Goldberg or to subscribe to bon appétit magazine, visit: Click here for a special offer from bon appétit!


Top 10 Green Companies in the U.S. 2016

In partnership with Corporate Knights, HIP (Human Impact + Profit)  Investor Inc., and leading sustainability minds from nongovernmental organizations and the academic and accounting communities, Newsweek has ranked the world’s largest companies on corporate sustainability and environmental impact.



58 Organizations Fighting Food Waste

It’s no secret that food loss and food waste are big problems. At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in markets in industrialized and developed countries alike. In rich countries alone, some 222 million tons of food is wasted, which is almost as much as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. And according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), wasted food costs some US$680 billion in industrialized countries and US$310 billion in developing countries.

While food waste presents obvious moral and economic dilemmas, it also creates environmental problems. As food decomposes in landfills it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 27 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Thankfully, businesses, policymakers, farmers, researchers, and the funding and donor communities are taking action to tackle food loss and food waste. ReFED, for example, is a collaboration of businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and government leaders that came together to analyze the problem of food waste and develop practical solutions. Their report highlights 27 of the most cost-effective ways to reduce food waste based on societal economic value, business profit potential, and other non-financial impacts.

National and international agencies have also made commitments to end food waste. One of the recently released Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focuses on responsible consumption and production of food. It challenges all of us to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels by 2030. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the first-ever national food waste reduction goal, which aimed to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.

Here are 58 food recovery organizations that are working to meet these national and international goals and reduce food waste worldwide. Source:

How to Shop Smarter for Eco-Friendly Products
Tips from Real Simple Magazine

Biodegradable Products
Unless you have your own compost pile, or live in a place where there is municipal composting, products marketed as biodegradable won’t actually biodegrade. In order to break down, a biodegradable item needs air, water, light, microbes, and enzymes. And those conditions aren’t readily available in overstuffed landfills. The better choice: reusable materials.

Natural or Organic Cosmetics
If you see the words, organicnatural, oreco-friendly on a bottle of cream, shampoo, or face powder, keep reading. Unless you notice a stamp from a reliable third party certifier to back up these green claims, it might not be as organic as you think. There might only be a single certified organic oil mixed in with 20 other decidedly non-organic ingredients. Look for items that are USDA certified organic, or that carry a Natural Products Association seal, or a BDIH stamp. You can also check out the safety of any cosmetic before purchasing on the Good Guide or The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

Antibiotic and Hormone­–Free Meat
It’s a great choice to avoid eating meat that contains either, but without third party certification, you never know what you’re really biting into. Look for the USDA organic seal, which bans the use of both and requires third party certification.

BPA-Free Plastic
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an industrial chemical involved in making certain plastics and has been associated with potential health hazards. However, BPA-free claims are also very difficult to verify and a recent study showed that most plastics, not just BPA, are harmful, especially when exposed to heat. If you are concerned about chemicals leaching from plastics into your food, the safest option is to switch to glass or lead-free ceramics for heating or dishwashing.

Reusable Bags
Sometimes there is too much of a good thing. Of course reusable bags are preferable to plastic or paper, but they do require a lot of energy to produce. According to a British government-sponsored life cycle assessment, a cotton bag must be used 171 times before it's environmentally friendlier than paper or plastic. So the next time you forget your reusable bags, don't guilt yourself into buying more, rather reuse the paper or plastic you take.

Organic Dry–­­Cleaning
A large percentage of U.S. dry cleaners use perchlorethylene (aka perc), which the EPA says causes cancer in lab animals, and is a possible carcinogen. However, some of the chemicals most so-called organic cleaners use aren’t proven to be tremendously safer than perc. If you can find a CO2 or wet cleaner, that’s much better. Or wash your clothing yourself; it’s amazing how most items labeled dry clean only do just fine in a cold water cycle.

New Hybrid Car
Hybrids are tempting, but a new one might not be as environmentally friendly as keeping your current car. The impact of manufacturing and shipping a new car is so great that extending ownership is often a greener choice. This is especially true for large hybrids and hybrid SUVs that don't always add significant miles per gallon improvements over their conventional counterparts. When shopping for a new car, focus your search on the smallest car that will work for you that gets the most miles per gallon. And don’t rule out previously owned options, especially a used hybrid, which is the best of both worlds.

Eco-Friendly Fabrics
Organic cotton is an excellent green choice. The EPA considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton crops to be possiblelikelyprobable, or known carcinogens. Unfortunately, too many items, including sheets and towels, are labeled organic or eco-friendly with no certification to back it up. Look for the USDA organic seal or Global Organic Textile (GOTS) certification.

Real Simple is a great magazine (a favorite within our audience) packed with great tips and recipes each month. Click here for special subscription offer!

RECYCLING PLASTICS IS AS EASY AS...1, 2, 3, (4, 5, 6, 7)

If you recycle you’ve probably turned over a plastic container to read the number on the bottom, the one surrounded by the little recycling symbol  known to many as the “chasing arrow”.  Many recycling programs depend on these numbers to tell you which plastics you can and can’t recycle.  The symbol codes we are all familiar with were designed by The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow recyclers to differentiate different types of plastics and to provide a uniform convention that manufacturers could implement nationwide.  Since recyclers target post-consumer plastics, the SPI code is most commonly found on household packaging materials. The numbers shown inside the chasing arrows refer to different types of plastics used in making plastic products and containers.

Presently, SPI is working to improve the numbering system to make it easier for you to know what to recycle.  But what do all these numbers mean???

PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)
PET is used in the production of soft drink bottles, peanut butter jars...
PET can be recycled into fiberfill for sleeping bags, carpet fibers, rope, pillows...

HDPE (High density polyethylene)
HDPE is found in milk jugs, butter tubs, detergent bottles, motor oil bottles...
HDPE can be recycled into flower pots, trash cans, traffic barrier cones, detergent bottles...

V (Polyvinyl chloride)
PVC is used in shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, fast food service items...
PVC can be recycled into drainage and irrigation pipes...

LDPE (Low density polyethylene)
LDPE is found in grocery bags, bread bags, shrink wrap, margarine tub tops...
LDPE can be recycled into new grocery bags…

PP (Polypropylene)
PP is used in most yogurt containers, straws, pancake syrup bottles, bottle caps....
PP can be recycled into plastic lumber, car battery cases, manhole steps...

PS (Polystyrene)
PS is found in disposable hot cups, packaging materials (peanuts), and meat trays...
PS can be recycled into plastic lumber, cassette tape boxes, flower pots...

This is usually a mixture of various plastics, like squeeze ketchup bottles, "microwaveable" dishes...
Other (number 7) is usually not recycled because it is a mixture of different types of plastics

Please be sure to recycle only those plastics collected in your recycling program!
Source:  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation


DIY - Colorful Outdoor Furniture

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With so many paint options available today, Milk Paint is the best choice with zero odor during application and while drying! The richness of colors, combined with the dry flat look, is unmatched by conventional paints.