Best Zero-Waste Gardening Ideas:
• Store your veggies in glass dishes!
We steam our fresh roasted chiles in our favorite pyrex cooking dish, no plastic needed! Works great, and you can reuse it again and again. Don't have one? Go buy one at a thrift store, they have tons of these beautful, long-lasting dishes that you can use to store cooked vegetables without the use of plastic.
Fresh-roasted homegrown green chiles are the BEST!!
Any glass dish with glass lid will work, we love using our old Pyrex dish from our Mom. Glass is best for steaming – we don't like to use plastic bags or plastic containers for a few reasons.... It's not good to put hot things into plastic as it can melt or introduce chemicals into your food. Additionally, plastic bags are wasteful and hard to recycle, we try not to ever use plastic bags to keep our plastic waste down. We use reusable bags when shopping, and try to use glass storage dishes at home whenever possible. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to reduce your plastic waste, as no plastic packaging is needed to get it to your plate!
You can roast green chiles on a grill, or even on a gas stove top! We've also heard people use their air-fryers to blister the skins of green chiles. Whatever works! Then, simply let them steam in a glass dish with a glass lid until cooled. Once cooled, you can then peel off the blistered/charred skins, and pull off the tops, and squeegee off the seeds. You may want to wear rubber gloves if you are growing hot varieties, as this will burn your hands.
We don't like to run roasted green chiles under water as you lose all the tasty juicy goodness when rinsing, so do your best to peel the skin and get the seeds off and then store them in a glass dish with a lid to put in the fridge or freezer for later use.
Of course you can also use your fresh roasted homegrown green chiles right away! We'll roast a few green chiles and put them on our hamburgers or sandwiches, or add to pizza, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, you name it!
Gas grills are perfect for blistering and charring the skin.
Stovetop roasting is possible with gas stoves.
Peeling chiles is hard work, but worth it! Sometimes they peel perfectly!!
Check out this gorgeous peeled Big Jim above.
Grow your own green chiles, they're easy to grow from seed!
Find 100s of peppers and tomato seeds in our new seed catalog!
View our full Seed Catalog »
Other ways to have a Zero-Waste Garden:
They can be easily stored by stacking and can be tucked away in the garden in winter months. You can pickup free "recycled" pots from some local nurseries and garden centers, too, just ask!
or pick some up from your local landscape supply with your truck,
or with 5-gallon buckets in the back of your car! :)
This cuts down on plastic bag waste.
Use hoop houses and cold frames to extend your growing season. Grow cool season veggies like lettuce, spinach, radishes, onions, carrots and beets!
• Use Large Plastic or Metal Colanders for Rinsing Outside
Use them in the garden to wash your vegetables over your landscape such as under trees to get double-use out of your water. Don't have one? Check out the thrift or antique stores! We like to fill up a bucket and let lettuce or other veggies soak a bit before draining and bringing inside to store. Soaking fresh-picked lettuce in cold water for 15-30 minutes immediately after picking will crisp it up before draining (ideally into landscape or garden), then spin-drying in a salad spinner, and storing in the fridge in large reusable containers.
• Install rain barrels to catch water for your garden
Bonus: if you use an evaporative cooler, you can attach a rain barrel or trash can to where it drains and catch the water for use in the garden.