Guide to growing and using Herbs [Infographic]

Originally Published by Health Perch

Learning More About These Flavorful Ingredients

It’s about thyme you considered growing an herb garden. Herbs are easy to grow and can be incorporated into almost any dish for a flavorful kick.

Heading to a party? Why not bring a dip with some fresh grown chives. Getting ready to grill some meat? Try rubbing it with thyme, first. Knowing what herbs go with what food can be tricky. This infographic will teach you which herbs to use when you cook, what their flavor is so you can try some experimenting and their proper growing conditions.



Gardening New Uses for Old Things

Secret substitutions to help with planting, watering, and more. Originally Published on Real Simple

It’s not just the dishwasher that’s using water in your lab! A study and tips from the Green Labs Program at the University of Queensland, Australia (@uqnewsonline)

Hello again and a happy Friday to everyone! It’s the end of another week and I’ll continue here our series on Green Labs. This time we’ll have a look at the other side of the world, i.e. at the Green Labs Program at the University of Queensland in Australia. It’s part of a larger initiative of the university promoting “sustainability across all aspects of learning, discovery, engagement and operations” and features a nice collection of Green Labs Fact Sheets, which contain lots of tips for running a lab more environment friendly. Especially one of them caught my attention and that’s the fact sheet on water consumption.

Let’s assume that you haven’t read the UQ’s fact sheet yet (or just pretend that’s still the case) and imagine that you’re asked, “where in the laboratory do you use water?”. Of course, there are the activities, which everyone does: washing you hands, cleaning lab equipment, using water to dilute or prepare solutions. That’s what came to my mind. Now looking at the UQ’s study (see picture below), this does indeed account for 25% of the water consumption. But would you have guessed that the air conditioning system uses much more water, i.e. 42%?!? Well, I guess the fact that Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate might contribute to that and it might look different for universities with a more moderate climate. And even if one might not be able to do much about it (in this case, it’s up to the Property & Facilities Division … unless you can adjust the air conditioning in your room? If someone’s working at the UQ and could comment on this, please do so!), it’s good to be aware of this.

Water Efficient Labs
Image from: The University of Queensland (Green Labs Program)

And one can definitely try to do something about the remaining 68%, i.e. the use of water for sanitary purposes and for the usual lab processes. For example, when you clean the labware, run the dishwasher only once it’s fully loaded or don’t let the tap water run all the time. Or at least not at full throttle – usually a reduced flow rate is still more than enough. Look at the example given in the fact sheet, where a test with reduced flow rates for autoclaves indicated a possible reduction of 62%, which translates into savings per autoclave of over $2,000 a year. Not bad at all, isn’t it?

Also, some of your cooling lab equipment might work with much less water. Again, the fact sheet give a nice example here: instead of letting the water run through the cooling apparatus just once, it’s possible to circulate it a few times before the water becomes to hot and goes down the drain.

Besides all the helpful tips, this fact sheet taught me that there might be some equipment using water that I wasn’t even aware of. And awareness is the first step, isn’t it? So, let’s be more aware about when and where we’re using water. And then let’s take the next step and take actions to reduce our water consumption!

University of Queensland Australia

39 ways to use leftover Pickle Juice via @JillsGoodThings


pickle juice

Here are ways to use every drop!

pickle juice

Vinegar Replacement
Pickle juice works in place of vinegar in salad dressing, soups, or virtually any recipe. It is basically just a souped-up version of vinegar.

pickle juice

Re-Pickle With It

  • Empty whatever leftovers you have in your vegetable drawer into a jar of leftover pickle juice. Let them sit for a few days and you have NEW PICKLES!
  • Place shredded or baby carrots into a jar of pickle juice for a tangy snack.
  • Slice some red onion very thinly and throw it in the pickle juice for perfect pickled onions! The “pickled” onions liven up turkey, chicken or ham sandwiches, as well as hamburgers.
  • Add cilantro and use the pickled carrots & onions as a topper for fajitas or tacos.
  • You can also pickle hard-boiled eggs in the leftover juice.

pickle juice

Meat & Poultry Tenderizer/Marinade

  • The acid in pickle juice acts as a tenderizer, resulting in super-succulent meats
  • Use it as a marinade for pork chops or steak. It will add a ton of flavor to your meats, without the extra calories in heavy sauces or marinades. Pickle juice, garlic, pepper, mustard mix to a thin paste, brush on meat. Leave for an hour up to overnight. BBQ, or broil. Works well for tougher cuts or wild meat.
  • You can also use pickle juice as a delicious marinade for chicken. Soak the chicken overnight in a resealable plastic bag and then cook on the grill. If it seems a little too strong, try adding a little milk to the marinade. Discard pickle juice when done.
  • Add garlic and your favorite spices and use it to baste ribs on the grill.

pickle juice

Potato Booster

  • Add pickle juice to a pot of boiled potatoes to give them a nice little zing.  The flavors absorb so perfectly you won’t feel the need to add as much salt, butter, sour cream, etc.
  • Soak potatoes in brine for 12 to 24 hours before you make french fries, etc. out of them.
  • Pickle liquid mixed in with mayonnaise can give a new twist to your favorite potato salad recipe.

pickle juice

Other Food Enhancers:

  • Liven up store-bought barbecue sauce by adding pickle juice to taste by the tablespoonful.
  • Try adding pickle juice to your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.
  • Marinate soft white cheese in it.
  • Mixed with a little beef broth it makes a great broth for Korean style cold noodles.
  • If you are a juicer, add a bit of brine to your vegetable juice.
  • Elevate boring hummus to something more spicy with a few dashes of the salty brine.
  • Use pickle juice to perk up boring poached fish! You will never go back.
  • Throw some pickle juice into your meatloaf mix along with all the other condiments in it!
  • Try making pickled watermelon rind. Take off the skin, and then drop the pieces into some pickle juice.
  • Make your own Utah Fry Sauce!

pickle juice

Pickle Bread
Make “Jewish Deli Bread.” Use brine as the liquid portion of your bread. It also makes a great soaking agent.

pickle juice

Pickle Soup
Combine pickle brine, heavy cream, and diced pickles. Serve with a pickle slice for garnish. Surprisingly delicious!

pickle juice

Photo from Amy Bayliss

Pickle Popsicles
Pour some of the salty brine into pop molds, paper cups, or ice-cube trays and make your own savory summer snack.

pickle juice

Pickle Snow Cones
In Texas, pickle juice is a popular flavoring to pour over shaved ice. hmmmmmmm.

pickle juice

Sour Libations

  • Put some pucker into your Bloody Mary with a tablespoon of pickle juice.
  • Bartenders claim pickle juice (referred to as a “pickleback shot”) is the perfect complement to whiskey, instantly soothing the taste buds and aftershock of a rough liquor.
  • Stir 1/8 cup dill pickle liquid into 12 ounces of your favorite beer and garnish with a pickle spear or baby dill. Even better with a “red beer” using tomato juice or a V-8 type.
  • Pickle juice is also a known folk remedy for hangovers. It replenishes your depleted sodium levels and helps to assist in rehydration.

pickle juice

Cleaning Agent
Make blackened copper pans sparkle by cleaning them with pickle juice. It also works well as a grill cleaner, making those charred bits much easier to scrape off.

pickle juice

In The Garden

  • The high vinegar and salt content of pickle juice makes it a great weed killer. Dump it on dandelions, thistle, pretty much any weeds that crop up around your home. Bonus, it’s pet-friendly!
  • Some plants, such as hydrangeas and rhododendrons, need an acidic soil in order to thrive. Pickle juice will help acidify the soil. Pour the juice into the soil around the plants, or pour into a compost pile. Pouring it directly on the plants could damage them. Add to the soil around acid-loving plants at least once per season.

pickle juice

In The Medicine Cabinet

  • Post-Workout Drink – In a 2010 study, pickle juice halted post-workout muscle cramps in 85 seconds. It is an effective way to replace lost electrolytes and sodium which can cause serious cramping and dehydration.
  • PMS Remedy – For those same reasons above, pickle juice is a helpful remedy for menstrual pain and cramping.
  • Heartburn Cure – When heartburn strikes, try taking a few sips of pickle juice. Like apple cider vinegar, the juice helps balance the pH in the stomach, calming acid reflux. If heartburn comes back after a while, try drinking a little more.
  • Laxative – Drink a glass of pickle juice as an all natural laxative.
  • Upset Stomach – Treat tummy troubles with pickle juice. It helps by aiding the digestive process. Save some pickle juice in a small container for “medicinal” purposes. You will be happy you did.
  • Hiccup Stopper – Many people claim that the number-one cure for hiccups is a small glass of pickle juice. Given how well it seems to works on everything else, I am inclined to believe it!

pickle juice

One Good Thing by Jills