Zero in on a heatwave with frozen awesomeness

Some people swear that a hot cup of tea is actually cooling on a hot day.

I say to them, enjoy that.

I would rather stand in front of the freezer, myself.

(Moment of silence to acknowledge the genius of Stella Turner, who put her full face helmet in the fridge to cool it off, before BMX bike race day.)

There are your conventional treats, and as the parent of an 8 year old who has been successfully medicated at the school office and the clinic with a giant freezie, I offer no judgment to that power snack, even if it is encased in plastic.

Ice cream treats are nice.

God, we’ve even gone through the drive-thru at you-know-who’s and bought the $2 smoothies, which makes me feel very squirmy and uncomfortable to admit, and as I suck back that sweet frozen stuff, sitting in the vehicle, in its blessed air conditioning, I think, that’s one straw wrapper, one straw and one cup with top, that actually probably costs more than $2 worth of raw planetary materials to make, so what exactly is this that I’m slurping back? (You can, of course, improve on this, by going to Mt Currie Coffee Co or Stay Wild for one of their smoothies, where they infuse them with quality ingredients and source compostable plastic and have foresworn straws entirely (and also sell groovy metal ones that you can keep on using. We do love ours.))

Here are a few other ways to get that sweet cold love, with less garbage/trash/landfill. (Added bonus – frozen things you make yourself don’t require cold chain for transit and storage… and according to The 1.5 Degree Lifestyle, my current bedtime reading, trucking edible things in freezer trucks really amps up their carbon footprint.) To that end, local trumps all else, so support Lucia Gelato, or grab an ice cream sandwich at the Pemberton or Birken Farmers Market, because they are treats that have travelled the least distance AND they put money into the pockets of someone who lives here (not a multinational megacorp monopoly.)

If you’re enduring 30 plus degree temps, and you have a family, you’re probably going through multiple freezer treats a day, so having a variety of options helps maintain variety (YAY) and also modify the impact of all those freezie plastic sleeves.

The best way to do Zero Waste, is to do more, not less.

Tip 1: Buy berries in season and freeze them. Then eat as is.

My friend Asta will drop frozen organic blueberries into her water, as proto-ice-cubes, but she’s artsy like that. We try to pick or pick up berries when in season, freeze them on baking trays, and then put into ziplock bags (I write the date on, and get a kick on the fact that I’ve re-used some bags over and over for at least 5 years.) *Trying to balance out the freezie sleeves.*

The kids, I have noticed, will happily eat a bowl full of frozen berries for a snack.

2. Acquire some moulds and make your own popsicles.

These popsicle moulds were a gift from a wonderful enlightened pseudo-Grandma, and a great way for leftover smoothies to be repurposed. These were perfect when my kiddo was a toddler, but they seem to be ignored these days… I’m thinking it’s a size thing.

3. Make snow cones and pour over with cordial.

This is the latest mega-win in our household – possibly because child gets to operate blender of sharp ninja blades as they decimate a tray full of ice cubes and transform it into snow. Then child gets to pour the syrup on. So basically, he’s sitting down to a bowl of frozen water. But it looks like a treat, smells like a treat, and cools us down a treat.

This syrup is called Mint Sekanjabin, and a big mason jar can be made in 30 minutes and kept in the fridge for… well, I guess a week… or more… but it doesn’t tend to last.

It’s a Persian mint vinegar syrup and soooo refreshing…. especially if you have some mint growing in your garden. I got this recipe from Learning Herbs. It’s similar to an oxymel, a concoction I was introduced to by the wonderful local gem, Natalie Rousseau, through her 13 Moons program.

Mint Sekanjabin

What you’ll need…

  • 1 1/3 cups mild honey or 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  1. Combine the honey and water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the honey.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar and continue simmering for 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency.
  5. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam. Stir in the mint. Let cool completely.
  6. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids.
  7. Transfer to a clean container with a nonreactive lid. (Vinegar can corrode metal. If using a jar with a metal lid, place a piece of plastic wrap, waxed paper, or parchment paper between the jar and the lid to prevent it from corroding.)
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  9. To serve, mix with still or sparkling water to taste. Or pour over ice like a snow cone.

Yield: About 1 3/4 cups

4. Make a raspberry kombucha granita.

So, I make my own kombucha and grow raspberries, which makes this a really low-impact thing to make… If you had to go out and buy kombucha, I think it would undermine the magic a little, and turn it into a hassle, although you can probably substitute apple juice for the kombucha. I cut this recipe out of the free magazine, Alive, that you can pick up at Stay Wild Natural Health, and tucked it into my unruly “things to try sometime” folder. And I make it on the regular…

It takes a bit of effort, because you have to remember to fork the granita into pieces as it’s freezing… but it’s better than labouring over a hot stove on a hot day, right? And it’s so fun.

So, in summery summary, I hope you’re finding ways to beat, or enjoy, the heat. We don’t have to be perfect all the time. And we don’t have to let one “naughty” act cancel out everything else. All is balance. Progress, not perfection. Be kind to yourselves. And above all, savour what you’re enjoying. The more pleasure we can extract from any single choice, the less we’ll need to go and buy something else. Guilt propels the current economy. Let’s create a better way… and at least, embrace pleasure. I think it could be transformative.

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