Wednesday 24 August 2022

Fruit squash without the plastic

A Look At Some Plastic Free Cordials! 

If you go down the fruit squash, cordial aisle you can’t fail to notice the rows upon rows of plastics. It can be soul destroying to see. With the plastic tax now taking effect in the UK I would say that more manufacturers will come on board to include recycled content in their bottles.

Meanwhile, if you do look around you may see some lovely UK made products also available in glass. Glass is heavier to transport sadly but on the flip side, it is one of the most recycled products out there. Plus we love to keep ours going even longer by making our own cordials (see recipe near bottom of page).

In this article we have a look at some of the products you can buy and also how to make your own (really easy) if you choose to do so. Some products in glass bottles can be pricey so look out for special offers to keep your pennies lasting longer.

Belvoir – Belvoir Farm lies in the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire. The first cordial was made in the farmhouse kitchen by Peverel Manners, utilising wild elderflower that were spilling into the family’s garden. No artificial preservatives, additives or sweeteners are used. The team now owns 60 acres of organic elderflower which are harvested in June. 

Belvoir Elderflower & Rose Cordial

Blossom Cottage – Made in the Cotswolds with hand picked fruits added to spring water. You can buy morello cherry or elderflower flavours with no artificial colours or sweeteners. 

Bottlegreen – This company was founded by husband & wife team Kit & Shireen in 1989. They use their own spring water at a mill in the Cotswolds with filtering techniques for their elderflowers, similar to the process used in wine making. They do an interesting array of flavours including pomegranate & elderflower, blackberry, apple & sloe, lime & mint, apple & plum, winter berry & more. 

Robinson – Robinson’s history goes back to 1823 where Matthias Robinson patented Robinson Barley to make Barley Groats (Barley in powder form in tins). Later, Mr Smedley Hodgson combined it with lemon & sugar. This became a refreshing drink for Wimbledon tennis players since the 1930s.

In 2017 Robinson’s launched Fruit Creations making cordials with fruit & botanicals. Available in glass bottles the range includes Raspberry, Rhubarb & Orange, Lime & Mint Cordial, Blackberry, Cranberry & Sloe plus Pear & Elderflower. 

They do include sweeteners as well as sugar but steviol glycosides are used (which in my opinion are far better than other sweeteners on the market). They also contain some preservatives too.

Rocks – the family farm in Devon was founded by Hugh Rock who sought to make refreshing, natural fruit drinks without additives, colours or sweeteners. Hugh has since retired but the company still continues to this day making squash from whole fruit, sugar & water. The range includes orange, blackcurrant & lemon squash. 

Summary - Here we’ve just focused on cordial (or squash) – those where you add your own water. You can also look out for p
ressΓ©s if you want a pre-made drink. Some of the brands above have fizzy drinks pre-made you can buy. 

See below on how you can save money by making your own!

Lime & Mint Cordial (Homemade in Robinson's Bottle)

Homemade Lime & Mint Cordial

Step One: You need 2 limes, 160ml mint leaves (about 2/3 cup), 225g caster sugar + 250ml water

Step Two: Grate limes & extract juice. Dissolve sugar in water & add mint leaves & grated lime.

Step Three: Simmer for 20 mins. Remove from heat & add juice of the limes.

Step Four: Stir & then allow to cool. Place in bottle via a sieve. Store in fridge.

Can be diluted with water to make a refreshing cordial or why not add a splash of cordial to a homemade mojito*?

The run down - Cost wise I estimate just over £1.00 for the ingredients. I haven’t estimated cost of elec/gas to simmer the sugar water nor the cost of the water (which will have some cost if you’re water metered), but just a little over £1 a bottle is a good half of what you normally pay for a bought item. 

If you have the time it’s worth giving it a try & so super easy to do! I like to use an old glass bottle from a cordial I tried in the past.

My husband loves to make his own fizzy drinks too using a ginger beer plant, some apple juice or fresh fruits such as strawberries plus sugar & water. It makes for a refreshing alcoholic drink. We don’t use glass as the fizzy product means it may need room to expand while it’s brewing, so for that we use old plastic bottles that we re-use time & time again.

I may start experimenting with other fruits too as I’ve only tried the lime & mint so far. It’s blackberry picking time soon so you never know what may unfold! 

Last year I made some rosehip syrup from locally foraged rosehips & hedgerow jam from local sloe, rosehips, blackberries, apple & left over frozen fruit we had in the freezer. Utilising old jars & bottles is a great way to keep containers going until you’re ready to recycle them. 

Lovely too eating/drinking your own home made products!

Homemade hedgerow jam

Enjoy ya refreshing drinks but do keep an eye out for special offers in the stores to keep the costs down, as some of the brands can be quite pricey, or why not have a go at making your own?

*NB: To make homemade mojito add white rum to lemonade with splash of your lime & mint cordial, add sprig of mint, piece of lime & several ice cubes.

🍸 Sit back & enjoy! 🍸

Thursday 11 August 2022

Greencare - A Review

 This is my 23rd review on plastic alternatives.

Scoring system:

❤ = Will keep, I love it / πŸ‘€ = Not sure, will try some more / 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me

Review Twenty Three - Greencare by Sainsbury's

You may not have failed to notice that these products in the Greencare range are in plastic bottles, so you may also be wondering why these are being reviewed in a 'reduce your plastics' site?

Greencare Products in 100% Recycled Bottles
My reason for choosing this product is that it comes in a 100% recycled plastic bottle. 

For years we were recycling plastics not realising (like many) that most of it doesn't get recycled & some may even find its way abroad. This led me to start this wonderful blog & sent me on a mission to do more.

So it's great to see some companies beginning to use utilise recycled plastics which is why I have supported this. They are pretty good products and at a decent price too & I found myself switching to them with no trouble at all. E-cover for example are becoming too much out of my price range & Method can be pricey too.

For various brands that do use recycled plastics in their products check out this post at: 

Plus check out my recent post on the British Plastic Survey for statistics on recycling, shipping abroad, landfill plus incineration.

So back to Greencare, they are a range made by Sainsbury's who do washing detergent & fabric conditioner, cleaning sprays, window & floor cleaner, washing up liquids (smells lovely), dishwasher tablets and shower spray (smells scrummy too). 

Greencare Label Sainsbury's

When they have both price AND product mix right as well as being eco friendly then it makes me happy.

Now there is the issue of what happens to plastic when it is recycled. Can we keep it going for a long time? Well sadly it downgrades (often know as downcycling) so is not a long term solution. 

Humans need to act fast to find a better solution however we also need to find ways to use the recycled stock that we do have, to make new things, rather than relying on virgin materials (or nurdles - for more on nurdles check out my blog post on hidden plastics).

I found this article below very interesting where it discusses how different plastics are rated and how some plastics are better able to be melted than others and why it cannot be recycled an infinite number of times. Green Matters - Can You Recycle Recycled Plastic?

Also this article on downcycling is a good read:

For me I love the greencare range so will score it a ❤ from me.

Next I'll be reviewing the eco egg which I finally got around to purchasing. Mixed feelings about that which I will explain more in a later post.

Meanwhile, happy washing!!