Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Food Waste Reduction Challenge wrap-up

Food Waste Reduction ChallengeWell, the Food Waste Reduction Challenge went out with a bang. We did really well on meals, but had some issues with odds n' ends.

To be fair, I went through the fridge yesterday and made sure I got rid of items that had gone bad instead of surreptitiously throwing it out after the challenge.

Here are the results of the last week:

1 cup sour cream
12 oz buttermilk
3 jalapenos
1 cup salsa
3 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup black olives
1 head lettuce
1 lemon
1/3 onion
1 cup basil

I suppose I could have tried to whip together some sort of Mexi-thing, but most of the ingredients had gone south and I didn't think they were safe to eat. One nice thing about clearing out the fridge frequently is that I know that everything left in there is edible so I have no excuses for the next week or two.

All in all, I think we did fairly well this month in reducing the amount of food we toss out. We generally compost a heck of a lot more than we did last month, although we still really need to work on the kid's leftovers (as many of you did).

How did the challenge go for you? Will you continue trying to reduce how much you throw out or did having to fess up to your food waste sins make you think twice about your food?

Oh, and don't think I'm done commenting on yesterday's post. I have a lot more to say on the matter.


knutty knitter said...

I think we did ok. I'm just glad that the 13 shopping bags of apples and pears turned up today and not last week :)

We went out to my m in laws place and picked some of the trees out there. In the pouring rain too! In with the sheep without gumboots (I forgot!). We got damp and muddy and will need to wash everything but we did score some really good apples.

I'll store some and juice some, jam some and preserve some and the chickens will get anything left.

Then I think I'll lie down for about a week to recover. With a good book or two.

viv in nz

Carmen said...

I think this was an awesome idea. It really challenged me and my husband to look at what we were wasting and be creative about using up the scraps. What I need to work on the most is matching my purchase of fruit with our consumption. It just seems to go so inconsistently. And for some reason potatoes are a problem for us. We need to work on that. Overall, I think we did pretty good and we will definitely continue this challenge through the year.

Anonymous said...

It's been fab to actually monitor what gets thrown. No excuse any more. I've got quite into it and definitely think we'll continue to be less wasteful in future.

So nice one - thanks for the motivation!

Anonymous said...

Did you really throw out the olives, broccoli, lemon, onion, and basil??
Please tell me you composted them instead!!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

This month I actually had one thing I had to toss/compost because it opened in the fridge, dried out, and spoiled. For me, that's unusual. We don't waste food by throwing it away. If it starts to look like its going to go soon my husband plans a meal with it (he's a billant cook that way) or we stick it in the freezer to save for a later meal. Last night, we had leftover olives, half a can of tomato past and a turkey meat sauce that needed to be eaten so I defrosted dough and made a Garbage Pizza!

I almost had a second thing to report this month with a bunch of unpopped popcorn kernels after a movie night (I got heavy handed when I poured them into the pot) but I figured out how to pop unpopped kernels! No food waste for us this week. Our monthly total was only 1 item.

nemo said...

Well it goes to show you that your fridge is too big

Anonymous said...

The only thing that I really lost was some green chili - about of pint. My husband defrosted it (not sure why) and it just sat for a couple weeks and grew mold. I should have eaten it for lunch one day, but I didn't. It was a shame... my grandpa made it and his green chili is the best.

I didn't count the bread heels or some of the veggie trimmings since we have chickens and they love the treats... I don't see it as a waste since we eat their eggs and eggs from loved chickens are the best!

Anonymous said...

I did my best to give the kids less food so they wouldn't waste it. They ate less food so we still ended up wasting it. *ARGH* I think they have some kind of ethical issue with cleaning their plates.

I know some things were thrown out but I didn't throw out anything that was bought for me. I consider it a success!

healinggreen said...

Oh, I can't even contemplate how badly we did this last week. The whole family (me included) wound up with a nasty stomache flu that is making the rounds in CT, and there was a lot that didn't get eaten...Or that did, and um, ended up being thrown out later anyways...Things that were partially eaten, which I wuld normally feed to the chickens or compost, I threw out b/c I didn't want to create some horrible new zoonotic flu. Yick.

ha ha -- my word verification is "alling" as in "all ailing"

Anonymous said...

We did pretty good this week. In fact, I don't think we threw out any food...

What I took away from the month is knowing what types of ingredients always end up getting used without having to think about it and which just don't unless it is in the forefront of my mind. For example, it is really hard for us to go through a whole thing of fresh salsa before it goes bad, but my husband buys it sometimes for no reason. Now I've got some dry beans, so I'll make a batch of beans and mix in the rest of the tub. Things like yogurt and cheese always get used, but buttermilk tends to linger. Eggs always get used in time, but not some herbs like cilantro. When picking out new recipes, I've become more mindful about ingredients. Buttermilk? Okay am I going to use the whole thing? Is it worth it? Can I find another recipe this week that uses it? Also, I made some cornbread out of some pumpkin butter from November because it was going bad, and that was the only recipe I had for pumpkin butter. But I don't like cornbread. So even though I didn't waste any food, I had to eat food that I didn't truly love. It's a problem!

Sam said...

I guess living with someone with a high metabolism is a good thing. We have a once a week cleanout policy and my husband cleans everything out, bottomless pit that he is. I rarely wind up with waste unless its some spectacularly healthy meals I made in bulk and forgot to freeze or otherwise preserve (something that is very low fat with tons of veggies, no salt/sugar and generally not too great to taste)

Stacey said...

I also loved this challenge - I combined it with a challenge to only spend $80 a week for food for my family of 3 and the combination really worked. I planned meals carefully for the week and we were careful about eating the leftovers. It was a challenge though! Luckily I have a husband who also is willing to eat just about anything and a not-too-picky child, so it worked out that once I cleaned out the fridge and pantry we never had any food waste. We will definitely continue this challenge! You can read more about how it looked at our home here:

owlfan said...

My waste was 2 sweet potatoes that rotted in the pantry (I was able to save and cook the other 2) and some dinner that guests didn't eat. I'll often eat my kids leftovers, but not other kids.

Buttermilk lasts FOREVER in my fridge - I finally finished up a half gallon at the end of Jan that had a date of mid- September. It was still fine.

Robj98168 said...

Did pretty good here in Burien- I ended up composting two slices of moldy bread thatI wass going to save for bread pudding- ooops. I got a Juicer for my birthday- so now, not only can I have fresh apple juice (Yea!) I can figur out what to do with the pulp left behind- this morning I mixed apple pulp with my oat meal! And I Found out the dog likes orange pulp!!!

Robj98168 said...

PS- I forgot- Someone (Romeo) Chewed the corner off of a box of Vegetable Stock I bought for soup- It went out into the drain along with the contents of of the soup box which where in my reusable shopping bag. Bad puppy :|

Anonymous said...

CTDaffodil here
oh poor Healing Green! We had the CT GI thing the week before Feb break - now everyone is working on the CT Respiratory thing....gag-cough-wheeze.
Thankfully we didn't have much food waste - but thats because everyone is living on freezer soups.

Since we have crazy snow today I was forced to stay home and cleaned out the fridge.

into the Compost bin
2.5 cups of 2 week old brown rice
2 sweet potatos (turned softish)
3 romaine hearts in a bag (this killed me)
handful of green grapes
sonny's leftover pasta with sauce from dinner out one night

Into the trash can
.5 pint of cottage cheese (smelled off)
1 cooked chicken breast
1 very swollen juice box (why risk it)
3 bottles of salad dressing with about .25 cup each (age unknown but it was probably fall/late summer) Bottles went into the recycle bin
.5 small jar of mayo (opened fall/late summer) jar went into the recycle bin

for the squirrles and birds
2 navel oranges from christmas - skins are hard and dried up - so the kids and I sliced them into quarters and ran a some yarn through them - I'll hang them on the tree tomorrow
2 bread loaf heels (unless I decide to have a grilled cheese for breakfast)

Anonymous said...

I didn't do all that well, but I did get creative and I learned a lot. Among other things, I learned that, quite honestly, we really just don't like to eat salad in the winter, no matter what my intentions are. (Note to self to substitute some items in my weekly veggie box delivery.) I also learned that there *is* a limit to how much beet/apple/carrot juice that one person can/should drink in a week (although I suspect it was pretty good for me). Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to test whether the romaine lettuce could be juiced - that will be my own personal challenge for March! Thanks for getting me thinking!

Renee. . . said...

I wanted to post and let you know that I'm a regular reader and big fan. I was recently asked to nominate other blogs for a "Lemonade Award" and I thought of you:

Niecey said...

This has been a great challenge for me, to focus more on food waste and pay more attention to what I'm throwing out. I've always thought we don't waste a lot of food, because most leftovers get eaten. But I've noticed a lot last month how much gets tossed from the kids plates and from food my 2 year old throws onto the floor.
We did ok, but can do better. I'll keep trying, even though February is over ;)

Chard Lady said...

This week I went through much of my freezer food, and finally decided to clean up a few things in there. I composted half a bag of mixed veggies that were in there for about 2 years and a small quantity of home-grown green beans that had dried out beyond repair. This year I will be more mindful of the types of containers I store frozen food in. The zipper sandwich bags just don't work very well. Overall, I am pleased with the challenge, and if confident in my ability to use everything carefully.

Ping said...

I'm not sure if these are available in the States, but they're fantastic for composting cooked foods, animal products and various other things that just turn to slime into the compost heap if you put them straight in there.

Since buying one of these, the only things in our garbage are nonrecyclable plastics and cat litter - we only have to put the bin out once a month or every six weeks, and even then it's never full.

When the bokashi bucket is full, we tip it into our compost - the fermented waste seems to make the rest of the compost break down a lot quicker. If we do have to throw out food waste, I know that we're going to get some good loam out of it.

Daisy said...

Be careful not to get into food waste as a diet issue. Remember the old "clean your plate" rule? It's actually very damaging to healthy eating practices. When the toddler is done eating, he/she is no longer hungry. Throwing out the remainder is perfectly acceptable.

Willa said...

I didn't post about my progress on this because we really don't waste a lot of food- leftovers are a staple in our lives. what it did prompt me to do was get a handle on my hoarding OCD- I tend to freeze or can or dry things, and then not use them because if I use them up now, I won't have them later when I really need them. Things get lost, then they go bad. So I tackled the food storage areas, we almost quit going to the grocery store, and I am feeling better. I made lists of what's in the freezer, and pulled jars out of dark corners and into the light. Since I am unemployed, there were lots of twinges about eating/using things now that we might REALLY need later, but I powered through them. I have a better idea about what to preserve in the future- there will be no jelly made here this year- I'm still looking at jars from the summer of 06. I need to figure out how to work them into my morning smoothy, I guess since no one seems to eat them on bread any more. All in all, I was pleased for the kick in the pants to get this done.

And my word verification is "oustyr" as in- throw that old stuff OUT!