Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Food Waste Reduction Challenge kick-off

Food Waste Reduction ChallengeNo, this kick-off has nothing to do with the Superfluous Bowl, but a much more important event - you reducing your food waste! Today is the first day of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge and this month it's your job to make sure you throw away or compost very little food that could have been eaten with better planning and use of ingredients.

If you haven't started doing this yet, your job for this week (today if you have time) is to go through your fridge, cabinets and storage and throw out or compost the food that is beyond hope of salvaging. This way you start with a clean slate and will have a better idea of how well you are doing for this challenge.

Once you've successfully completed Operation Clean Sweep, start doing some meal planning starting with this week and beyond, if appropriate. Figure out which foods need to be eaten within a week and meal plan to make sure that those foods get consumed. If you have items that have a longer shelf life, plan to consume those before they go bad, keeping a ranking of "first bad = first eaten".

If you need help or suggestions on what to do with things that are starting to look sketchy, ask for it here! Last night I made a load of roasted vegetables with some Brussels sprouts that we hadn't gotten around to eating, half an onion that was going begging and some carrots.

I didn't see a head of purple cauliflower hiding behind my husband's infusion grenades (a happy blend of toxic chemicals my husband infuses into his arteries twice a day), but I've got a plan to make Pioneer Woman's cauliflower soup. I also froze two bananas that were looking beyond help for a future banana-chocolate chip bread.

For those of you wanting to supersize your food waste challenge, I hereby challenge you to the following weekly Sunday task: post on your blog (if you have one) a photo of your food waste for the week. You can take several photos or you can calculate the weight of only those items that you could have eaten but didn't (for alternative reporting).

What I'm getting at here is don't include banana peels, egg shells and the like in the weighing or photographing. Accountability is key. So, each Sunday I'll be hosting a Sunday Supersize It! Foodwaste Confessional. This gives you an opportunity to link to your photo post or report how much food was wasted for the week. You can choose to just include your own food waste, our your whole family's.

So far, I'm pretty excited about making sure that I don't waste food. I might end up weighing 5 pounds more at the end of the month since no one is eating the grasshopper pie my husband made Friday, but it's all in the name of conservation! By the way, it's not too late to sign up for the challenge. Just add your name to the comments of this post!

34 comments:

knutty knitter said...

Worms would die of hunger round here - I have growing locusts in the house :) Any leftovers tend to mysteriously vaporise unless guarded early with instructions not to touch.

The chooks get whatever is considered inedible (fruit stones, apple cores, peel from various objects).

viv in nz

Bucky said...

Hungry worms around here as well. For years I was the worst about tossing out spoiled food each week -- particularly uncook/uneaten veggies. Then an extended period of unemployment last year taught me some new habits.

What works for me is some weekly menu planning for a few big things like soup or a casserole that will be eaten for a number of meals as well as almost daily trips to the grocery store during the week for fresh veggies. (I'm lucky because I live not far from my grocery store and usually stop by on the way home at the end of my early morning walk).

jimbolini23 said...

The wormies are still getting their eggshells, coffeegrounds, and grapefruit rinds. (Sorry, I'm not going to pickle or candy the citrus rinds.) 'Though, I do have a half-cabbage that is looking, er, neglected. Maybe soup or just sauteed.

So, which Sunday are you talking about? Today? or a week from now?

Tammi said...

This is so timely for me! This last couple of weeks we have been guilty of forgotten left overs. It's embarrassing how much food got scraped into the compost bin. We are definitely going to be a little more mindful.

margaret said...

I will sign up for this challenge. This is an area I could stand to work on for sure.

Michelle @ Leaving Excess said...

I am ready to go, and am paring this with a No Spend Challenge for February, as well. When conserving, why not conserve all the wya, right?

I am feeling fairly confident in my ability to manage the waste with this one caveat: what my kids don't eat on their plates. Argh! But, my approach will be to put little on their plates and add as they want more to eat.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I've got a chicken stock bubbling on the stove here. This morning I went through the fridge and tossed all the veggies that were looking spent into the pot, along with scraps that I saved all week in the freezer. Add one whole chicken and I've got stock. I need to buy some more pint-sized canning jars today and then I'll can the stock tomorrow, since we'll be out tapping trees this afternoon.

I'm also thinking of posting about what to do with leftover bread.

Amanda said...

I could really use this challenge. When I am meal planning I do a much better job of not wasting because I do plan for how to use leftovers. I'll try to keep my meal plans and confessional updated in my blog.

nava said...

I am doing it, although I wonder if it will just make me more pissy about the amount of food we waste :) We shall see!

kimberly said...

i already do this for financial reasons, but i'll join anyhow and report back

Justine said...

I'm in!

TheNormalMiddle said...

Ever since my husband went on shortterm layoff, we've been MUCH better about this. We simply do not have it in our budget to be wasteful with food. I'm making banana bread or banana pancakes with overripe bananas, etc. Everything can be used if you are smart about it!

Robj98168 said...

now you want pictures?? I am ready for my closeup Ms. Chicken! I made a slaw out of some mung bean sprouts I had leftover so as not to throw them away so as not to get demerits from Crunchy (the demerits I can handle, but I do not understand the whips)

Debbie said...

I'm officially signing on, too. I'll do a clean sweep of my fridge as soon as I get home from work. And eat leftovers for dinner!

John Thornton said...

Very good! I'm in and excited. Before I even read this post I was making soup out of a winter squash that was very close to epic fail (as the one next to it did). I do have a quarter red cabbage that I should look at, it may be too late.

This also dovetails in nicely with the pantry organizing that has been going on for the last few days. I had no idea how many 2/3 empty bags of beans I had.

Anna said...

If I haven't already, I'd like to join this challenge now.

This will be tricky, but necessary- my husband has been bugging me about waste for a while now. Of course, he and our little offspring are neither the biggest veggie, nor the biggest leftover fans.

Gulp...

Callina said...

Hi Crunchy, I've never done one of your challenges so I thought this would be the perfect one. Since we are remodeling our kitchen and just about ready to have it up and functional again (and we don't have any food stored up right now because of that), AND we just our composting system set up, I'm excited to see how we'll do....

Rachel said...

I started this challenge last week. I have a bag for each: fruit, vege cast offs, bread odds and ends, and and leftovers for soup. Last week I made a cheese strata from theoretically nothing. THe bread came from scraps that would have been tossed. The milk was actually a powdered milk and vegetable broth I made from vege ends. My eggs were 'off the grid' local eggs from a friend who feeds her chickens local feed. Even my Worcestershire sauce was free with a coupon at the store! So I bought a bag of cheese and added a bunch of nothings and had a meal! It was fun!!!

Imzadi said...

Hey! Thanks for reminding me...

I've got to make some more soup for grandma.

My neighbor actually makes a lot of food for us. She sends over a dish a week, but last week, sent so much it wouldn't fit in the fridge. If it wasn't for the onions in it, I'd help eat it so it wouldn't go to waste. I'm not much of an onion fan.

We are getting better at eating up the leftovers before we make another big meal. We're big meal people (and leftover people) so unless we eat what's in the fridge, we're constantly tossing leftovers. Speaking of... I'd better go. Trash is collected in the morning and I've got 4 apples and what's left of the lettuce to toss.

jill said...

an ice storm made me clean out my fridge this weekend. So I am starting on a clean slate. The fridge is bare so it is easy to see what needs to be ued. Nothing hiding in the back...yet!

eva said...

I am in! I'll even try to take pics!

Green Bean said...

I'm making pretty good progress with this challenge, I must say! It motivated me to use the soured milk for birthday cake and scones. I used the butter wrapper (yes, I know it's easy to make it yourself but oftentimes that just doesn't happen), to grease my cookie sheets and casserole dishes. I've got some rice kuegel in the oven and I forced my kids to eat the pizza I made, even though mommy burnt some of it. Sorry kiddos! Thanks for the kick in the pants. I needed it.

m3missy said...

I'm in. I've been working on this for the last few months and have been doing pretty well. We feed our dogs a partially raw food diet which works well for the stems of broccoli and the carrot pulp after juicing! This will be an added push!

Green Resolutions said...

Have you posted that banana choc-chip bread recipe anywhere?!! I have some bananas way past prime...

Alison Kerr said...

I'm still thinking about the photos and posting on my blog. Otherwise, I'm in.

The trash can already goes begging for scraps here as my kids ask, "What's in the leftovers that we can have for lunch?" Their favorite meal is a smorgasbord of leftovers gathered over a 3 day period. And that's only if the scraps did not make it into the soup pot first.

Mel Mazz said...

I am in! This is always a goal of mine, and I have been futzing around with Mark Bittman's How to Cook Anything Vegetarian... I like that he gives techniques and variations, rather than strict recipes. Made a Bittman pasta (see NYT Bitten blog from 1/30/09)for lunch that used up the dregs of some gorgonzola, pasta from the cabinet, 3 day old No Knead Bread (cut into cubes and crisped in olive oil, plus a little freeze-dried rosemary (from my sad sad plant that I forgot outside). Pretty tasty and virtuous! (We have managed to completely fill our composter already this winter, so I am making one out of an old Rubbermaid 30+ gallon garbage can (drilled with lots of holes)... Wish me luck!)

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

I try to plan and shop for 4 meals ahead. Recently we also changed into eating meat and chicken less and less frequently, so when cooking a vegetarian meal you can actually do more planning shopping ahead because the ingredients have longer shelf life. And you throw away less too! And, I cooked a fabulous meal using all leftovers.
See here for recipe and photo! http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/2009/01/leftovers-creamy-orecchiette-with.html
so, I’ve been good?!

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

…and if you add a few extra pounds from eating that pie you save on energy because you’ll have more layers of fat to keep you warm 

Condo Blues said...

Crunchy I want to joing your challenge because one of my green tentpoles is reducing waste but I have a problem. I don't have any food waste, as a rule. My husband is the KING of improvising leftovers into meals as such he does most of our cooking. Between that and eating leftovers for lunch we don't throw out food. Other than peels, eggshells, etc. during food prep and even then we compost it in our homemade composter!

So what do I take a photo of and blog about?

Megan said...

I am definitely in.

Our ultra-tiny fridge is keeping things manageable. That and our veg box that we get delivered weekly--we have a week's deadline to use up everything in the fridge otherwise there isn't any space for new stuff!

My husband did have to throw out some tamarind lentils (SOOOO good!) that got left out for a couple days and started smelling funny (sometimes a tiny fridge isn't so good).

I'm still eyeing up some random containers in the fridge of sauces, tamarind paste, lemon grass, etc.

Could this challenge include soem help? I'd LOVE some a) ideas for random leftover sauces/condiments and b) advice on sell by dates--how often should we stick to them?

I'm starting a £2 a day diet, and I hadn't thought about whether or not to include the waste... I think the challenge will help us achieve this one, though!

stella said...

A friend stayed the night and left her kefir in our fridge. It does not taste pleasant to me. Does anyone know any vegetarian recipes that use kefir? I have done a little research and found that it can be used in borscht, which is perfect because I do have beets, but when does the kefir get added?

Any other ideas? Maybe in a bread or muffin? It is almost an entire bottle, and I don't want to experiment too much because if the experimentation goes badly, I'll have wasted the kefir and the good ingredients as well.

curiousalexa said...

@condo blues - blog about his culinary creations! many of us could use inspiration to go beyond recipes.

I'd like to solicit suggestions for the extra white rice from Sunday's Chinese takeout!

Joy said...

I signed up on the original challenge and I'll post on Sundays as well. We're doing great so far. I'll start working on my post sharing ways we use all our food!

Imzadi said...

I did not get out the camera in time, but did blog about it.

Sadly, I had a lot to toss this week due to power outages and a week of people bringing us food we could not eat due to sheer volume.

(Seriously! Who thinks to give 3 large pots of soup to a small family in almost 3 consecutive days? We cannot live off of soup alone, especially when you give us two other large dishes to go with it)

*sigh*

Tomorrow is another week.

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