That Greasy Paper Towel From Breakfast Is About To Become Your New Best Friend

Don't throw out that paper towel!

Don’t throw out that paper towel!

 

 

The next time you’re draining the breakfast bacon be sure to save that greasy paper towel. Here’s a tip that will reduce waste and save you money. Bacon – the gift that keeps on giving!

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Canadians do a lot of barbecuing in the summer, and if you use a charcoal grill, using the right kind of charcoal and fire starter often provokes a little thoughtful consideration. What kind of charcoal to use? Briquettes or natural hardwood? And what about lighting the darn thing? Do we really want to dump toxic lighter fluid over the coals, or use those waxy white starter blocks, saturated with fuel?

 

Most commercial lighter fluids are made from petroleum or alcohol based spirits and are extremely combustible and harmful or toxic if swallowed. Add to that it always smells like an oil refinery in your backyard when you pour it over your coals, and light the thing, resulting in billowing black clouds swirling into the summer skies. Lighter fluid infused briquettes are only better in that they eliminate the need for an extra dousing of fluid, but are equally unpleasant, and can add an unpleasant taste to anything grilled. Even the old standard charcoal briquettes are not really charcoal, but a combo of charcoal, coal, sodium nitrate, sawdust and starch, all highly processed and mechanically formed for ease of use and uniformity.

 

hardwood lump charcoal

hardwood lump charcoal

 

We like to use natural hardwood lump charcoal in our barbecues and grills. The real wood imparts a natural, smoky flavor to foods for that awesome outdoor flavor. There are many varieties to choose from so read the labels and choose the brand that most fits your needs. Lump charcoal has no fillers, so there is less waste (ash) after burning, and no flammable fluids have been added. Lump charcoal ignites faster as it comes in all shapes and sizes, and the smaller pieces light quickly and spread the wealth to the larger pieces.

on the other hand....

on the other hand….

 

When it comes to using a fire starter we like to combine thrift with common sense and a nod to the environment. Small pieces of paper towel or torn brown paper bags, soaked in fat and then scrunched up into little balls work beautifully. Now every time we use a paper towel to soak up the bacon fat after cooking, or use one to wipe the pan with, we ball-up the soaked paper towel; one typical paper towel would yield four little fire starter balls. This is a great way to both clean up and re-use bacon and other fats; reduce, re-use, repurpose. One thing for sure, don’t pour it down the drain no matter how much hot water you use.

You can make a pile of homemade fire starters in advance, or whenever you are wiping up fat (vegetable oils/bio-fuels work beautifully too) and you can put them in a ziplock and freeze. They go straight from the freezer to the barbecue and work beautifully. Place about four or five of these evenly on top of your charcoal and light up. As an added bonus, the first aroma you will notice will not be a toxic cloud you feel shame about, but rather the aroma of cooking bacon, then the alluring smoky aroma of the charcoal itself.

By the way, because the ash you get from lump charcoal has no toxic additives, it is good for other uses. In some cases, depending on the acidity of the soil it is great for lawns and gardens. Here are some great tips for using ash in your gardens and on your lawns.Finally, because the ash is so absorbent it is great to sprinkle it in your green/organics bin, especially this time of year, to help keep things a little less frightening every garbage pick-up day.

 

 

 

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