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!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Food wasting away

I went grocery shopping yesterday and did a little fridge clean out in preparation for February's Food Waste Reduction Challenge. No I wasn't cheating to get rid of food I know I wasn't going to eat - just composting food that was past its prime and inedible. You know, the real scary stuff.

But, even though I had a few days before I embarked on really reducing the food waste I'm generating, I couldn't help but start last night. That meant that the few teaspoons of lemon juice leftover from my husband's homemade blackberry pie (with blackberries we froze last summer and local leaf lard for the crust) got saved to use for the million avocados that are all ripening at once. Yes, we have a load of avocados from my brother's backyard.

That also meant that the leftover dough from the lattice crust from the pie ended up getting baked with sugar and cinnamon for last night's dessert. I don't have much control over the food waste generated from my kids, it just means that I have to be really diligent about giving them food that I know they will eat in portions they will finish. I'm not talking about being short-order cook for them, but meal planning with things I know they will eat.

One thing that has been brought up in the comments of people pledging to do the challenge so far is the notion that food scraps given to the chickens, goats, pigs, etc. don't count. Well, if you are looking at it from a cost standpoint, if that's what you normally budget into feeding your critters, by all means, give them the left-overs, but if it's just a mental sleight-of-hand to assuage your guilt over throwing out food, then you'll be better off (financially) saving the human food for the humans and planning better what the animals eat.

I do the same legerdemain thing with compost. I don't feel so guilty throwing out food because in goes in the compost, but I should. It's better to eat the food because it not only saves me money, but it saves from an environmental standpoint. Throwing out (or composting) food and replacing it takes an environmental toll from a production, transportation and packaging perspective since all of these processes emit CO2. Plus, it's just wasteful. Compost the things you can't eat (banana peels and the like) and eat the things you can. Sounds obvious, but we all need to be reminded of this.

If you are interested in signing up for this year's Food Waste Challenge, you can sign up here!

For those of you who get a kick out of eating seemingly inedible things, I'll cover in a future post how to turn your food scraps into something edible. Yum!


Chard Lady said...

I have been "eating down the fridge" in prep for the February Dollar a Day Challenge. Today I washed out a few of the bins and it is starting to look more like an appliance ad (minus the uncovered roasted chicken with trimmings).

Erika said...

We've found that we let a lot of things slide into the deep, dark corners of our fridge, so we took out the drawers and the middle shelf - we can see EVERYTHING, and we have to be very picky as to what actually gets to go in the fridge - are we going to eat it this week? Is there enough for a full dinner? (a no, then yes both mean they go in our freezer in the dinner basket).

Now, to find a place for the shelf and drawers... hummm...


Sandy said...

I make a huge pot (2 gallons+) of soup every week for a local family/childrens' support facility(The Caring Place, Allentown, PA). I've been saving the vegetable scraps in the freezer to start the broth for the next week's soup, THEN composting them. THey're getting double duty! Also, the bones and fat and gristle go to the farm for the herd of cats and the farm dogs, so very little is actually wasted. Donating your extra stuff to a place that can use it is a good way of cutting your waste. Just sayin'.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Freezing things before they turn helps us. Athough that's rare because my husband plans our meals around what food we have to use before it turns. Kinda like Iron Chef but without Kitchen Stadium

Olivia said...

Hmmm - this might go well with another challenge I have set for myself: lose 5 pounds.

We have a wood cookstove that, obviously, is "on" all the time during the winter. It's great for making soup/potage/stew (depends on how thick the "stuff" is.)

I'm going to keep this on the stove and just keep adding my veggies to it. It will form the basis for my "diet" along with the raw veggies that will be my salads.

We have a small, energy efficient fridge that does not "hide" food nor store a great deal - but we do have a small freezer in the basement that does so I guess a lot of that will be going into the soup pot as well . . .

This should cut down both on the compost and food bill. Now, if I can just stop "stocking up" on all the sale items.

Farmer's Daughter said...

This will probably be my last challenge for a while, as I deal with the challenge of having a baby! I have noticed that since getting pregnant, there are a lot fewer leftovers... but I'm going to work on cooking from the freezer, too, instead of buying fresh.

Jennifer said...

I so totally need this challenge! I've been really bad about wasting food lately. I was lounging on the couch this noon while my husband made lunch for our daughter. I had to nix over half of his suggestions because I knew that stuff was bad.

My mom used to always make "crust cookies" with the leftover pie crust dough. It also helped use the energy from the preheating oven. :-)

Today my daughter and I used up the leftover chocolate syrup, dried out marshallows, a box of cake mix and some chocolate chips and made a yummy cake.

mother earth aka karenhanrahan said...

when i reached a point of having to eeek my budget for groceries from the penny jar I became exceedingly and hyper aware of using every last morsel. i acknowledge that success at many levels for me means abundance in the fridge, after all if you have food for the table you are doing something right yes?? However empty nesting had me rethink the full fridge dramatically. It has a practicality to it. Doing more with less also acknowledges how resourceful. It's not there is nothing to eat here, it's more like what can i make with what I have!!

swiggett said...

This is something that the husband and I really need to do. Even after four-plus years, I still tend towards buying produce like my mom did for a family of four.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for helpful hints!

The Nurturing Pirate said...

Didn't see this post until today, so I haven't "mentally prepared" myself for full-on scrap salvage. BUT! By coincidence, I harvested a ton of lemons from our tree. From those lemons I got: zest, juice, AND.... candied lemon-peel. Yes, Crunchy, I used your recipe for candied orange peel, and they turned out wonderfully! I'm in the process of blogging about it (my entries seem to take me forever to write...), complete with the mountains of zest, gallons of juice, and a jar full of yummy peels. Thanks for the recipe. I was SO happy not to have to waste all those peels!

inadvertent farmer said...

Feeding the chickens organic scraps from my kitchen is much cheaper than buying organic chicken feed at the farm store.

I have 3 highschool/college age sons (and a couple of little ones too) so my frig is pretty much self-cleaning. It is keeping it stocked that I have issues with! Kim