Cookbook author, nutritionist and mother Lizzie King shares her tips (and a few recipes!) for saving money with natural remedies and DIY cleaning sprays
The shift towards using more real, natural ingredients in the home has been slow and steady, but I think over the last few years the benefits to our health as well as the planet have become clearer.
Asthma and eczema sufferers suddenly shifting their daily environment from office to working from home saw their symptoms melt away, with the liberal use of industrial and harsh chemical cleaning substance in workspaces blamed. Simplifying the materials we are exposed to is lighter on our system, as well as our wallet when we look at how to make them ourselves.
"The shift towards using more real, natural ingredients in the home has been slow and steady"
Natural remedies have often held the stigma of being less effective, messy and complicated. However, as I moved from the world of recipe-creating in the kitchen to isolating ingredients to create remedies for specific needs for my family, I came to learn how simple they can be, using every day, easily acquired materials. This means much less waste, more bespoke results, and a much cheaper option, too.
Making a basic kitchen spray from squeezed lemons (recipe below) and vinegar is both satisfying for what you are not wasting, and for the economic sense this makes. When all the bills are going up, reducing ones that you can is more gratifying than ever.
From coconut glossy hair masks to relaxing bath salts and sleep smoothies, there are so many ways you can help yourself and your family using the ingredients you choose, spending what you want.
"When all the bills are going up, reducing ones that you can is more gratifying than ever"
I embarked on making some remedies for sleep and coughs and colds as I loved the ingredients. I keep making them because I love being able to tweak things depending on how I feel, and I adore how much I am saving on all the piles of plastic bottles and tubs that I no longer buy for the kitchen, bathroom and medicine cabinet. Switch one up today and see how easily you get hooked!
As a gentle introduction to making a few things yourself, the staples can be bought at great value, in bulk, the simple basics being salts, lemons, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. These can be used in so many recipes. They also make fabulous presents—a personalised jar of rose bath salts or bedtime body butter, will be cherished by your loved ones.
I have picked a couple of recipes from my new book, and I hope you love making them!
Zero waste lemon oil kitchen spray
This was my initiation recipe, and the moment I realised that I loved making these concoctions. I was reading about vinegar—the most common DIY cleaner that goes in just about every single one out there—and I noted that you could also use the harsh acidity of it to draw the essential oils out of the lemon peels you were throwing away. The limonene that is produced is a powerful degreasing agent and it turns into a multi-purpose addition to any solution where vinegar could be used, with extra oomph.
As a cook, and habitual lemon tea drinker, I get through so many that the empty peels pile up. Now I put them to good use by dropping them in a jar of vinegar and steeping for a couple of weeks. You are left with a deliciously astringent lemon oil concentrate that you can add to water or include in another recipe instead of vinegar. It does an amazing job without the vinegar.
- 400ml white vinegar
- 1 sprig of rosemary (or thyme) (optional)
- juice of 5–6 lemons
- cooled boiled water
- Pour the vinegar into a 1 litre Kilner (Mason) jar; it will come up to about the halfway mark. Add the herbs, if using. As you use up lemons in cooking, tea or drinks, add the rinds to the jar, pushing them below the liquid level. Leave in a cool, dark spot in your kitchen for 2 weeks.
- Strain the liquid into a measuring jug, discarding the lemon peeld and herb sprigs, and dilute in a 50/50 ratio with cooled boiled water. Pour into a spray bottle and use on all kitchen grime on surfaces and pans, tough greasy hob marks, baking trays and anything else.
Makes about 1 litre.
Storage: Keeps for about 6 months.
Dose: Use as needed.
Tip: Please note that this is not to be used on marble, granite or stoneware as it can cause discoloration.
Rosemary and Himalayan salt recovery bath soak
With the much-lauded Epsom and Himalayan salts to replenish minerals for your muscles, combined with mind-sharpening rosemary, add a large handful into a running bath, soaking for at least 10 minutes to nurture and revive.
- 200g Himalayan salt
- 200g Epsom salts
- 2 tsp fractionated
- 15 drops of rosemary essential oil
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (leave out if you prefer less bath rinsing)
- Combine the salts in a large bowl and add the oils and herbs. Mix together well and pour into a large jar. Label and seal.
Makes about 400g.
Storage: Keeps for up to 6 months.
Dose: Use as often as you like.
Tip: Fractionated coconut oil remains liquid where standard coconut oil solidifies. It is readily available in health food stores.
Sleep tight smoothie
Sleep can be so elusive as a parent but so crucial to stay sane and keep well. I came up with this after a particularly hideous clock-change week that left us devoid of rest in the evening or early mornings. It is a specially formulated smoothie, with a few natural ingredients picked for their combined calming and relaxing properties for body and mind, to encourage you to go to sleep faster and for longer.
As well as the natural melatonin from the cherry concentrate, bananas are high in calming potassium. It’s especially useful for any routine disruptions—before exams, after holidays, as well as the obvious ones like jet lag and clock changes when restless nights can send everyone wildly off track. This was put together to try to help reset your circadian rhythm whenever you need.
- 1tbsp sour cherry concentrate
- 1 banana
- 250g plain yogurt
- 1 tsp raw honey, to taste
- Put the cherry concentrate into a blender with the banana and yogurt, blend, then serve immediately with a straw.
Makes about 300g.
Storage: Make fresh as required.
Dose: Drink a glass before you go to bed
Restore: Ancient Remedies from the Modern Kitchen by Lizzie King (OH Editions, £16.99) is available now
*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
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