By Max Mandel, MHWOW Program Specialist
My favorite part of Sukkot is having time each day to remove myself from materialistic things that normally surround my environment and to be outside, enjoying the fresh air and my surroundings. Sukkot is a holiday that revolves around harvesting and bringing us closer to nature. While we have the joy of sitting outside for meals connecting us to the themes of Sukkot, the holiday unfortunately can also bring a lot of waste and use of disposable items. Whether it’s all the zip ties used to hold the Sukkah and shchah (roof covering) of the Sukkah or all the plastic and styrofoam from the packaging of the lulav and etrog, we are not recycling as we could be during the Sukkot season!
So how can we start to reduce and reuse our consumption on this holiday? Don’t throw away that etrog once you’re done shaking it! Let me introduce some fun ways to reuse it:
- Etrog DIY Havdalah Besamim – These are the spices used for Havdalah, which is the Jewish ritual that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat. Simply, poke holes into the etrog and insert cloves and cinnamon bark!
- Etrog liquor – Place the rind of the etrog in an airtight jar with vodka and orange extract for three weeks. Make syrup by combining water and sugar into a saucepan. Mix the flavored alcohol into the syrup. Let liqueur mature in a dark place for two months and enjoy!
- Etrog Bundt Cake – Save your etrog and make this sweet, delicious etrog cake!
- Etrog Marmalade – With a hint of tangerine to cut the bitterness. It takes time to make, but it’s worth it.
- Scented Oil – You can make etrog-scented oil simply by infusing oil with the zest. Grate the peel of a cleaned etrog and put it in a small glass bottle so it fills half the bottle, then add almond oil, light olive oil, or another oil to the top.
- Etrog tree – Use the seeds of the etrog to plant an etrog tree. Note, that it takes at least 4 years to bear fruit. Patience is a virtue 😉.
- Tzedakah box – Use the box that the etrog came in to make a tzedakah box. No fancy instructions are needed, just decorate the box and create a hole at the top!
- Etrog Décor – Slice and air dry the etrog. String the pieces together!
I encourage you all to think about ways to reduce your use of disposable, one-time-use items, recycle all paper and plastic that you can, and find ways to reuse your Sukkot decorations, your etrog, and even more from one year to the next! Share it in the MHWOW Facebook group or by tagging @moishehouse on Instagram!