Greetings, Conscientious Food Consumers!
We’ve all come a long way since the start of Kitchen Confessions, haven’t we? Doing the best we can to keep on living, working, virtual learning, shopping, cooking and eating our way through a pandemic. Getting real about wasted food in our homes, and doing what it takes to get the most out of our grocery dollars — each and every month. It’s time for some congratulations, all around!
We’re going to share some modest triumphs — ours and a few of yours — in the daily struggle against shriveled, moldy and slimy produce, leftovers that turned into science experiments, freezer-burned whatever, and many other tragedies involving formerly-edible food. These anecdotes illustrate positive outcomes from increased awareness of our daily food habits.
Remember also to pat yourselves on the back, Conscientious Food Consumers, for helping to conserve all those precious natural and human resources — energy, soil, water, labor, packaging, transportation and delivery systems — that went into your food. And locally, you’re helping to meet the goals of the in the Corvallis Climate Action Plan, in which reduction of wasted food is a high priority (p.17).
We like how Mishele M. of Corvallis puts it:
“It’s a mindset, that it’s unconscionable to throw anything away. That food gave its life for us, so why would we throw it away?! We don’t take our resources lightly.” Here’s more about why prevention of wasted food matters.
CONFESSIONS CONVERTED/LESSONS LEARNED: NFLB staff
JEANETTE: It’s a happy day in my household when I prepare to empty the contents of my compost pail and see ONLY non-edible food scraps, peels, and trimmings. I feel like, yay! We’re getting it right!
KAREN: Thanks to Kitchen Confessions, I’ve had to keep up with reality-checking in my own kitchen and being candid about it all… Especially after using our DIY Wasted Food Discovery worksheet, and I realized I was potentially wasting as much as $1,000 a year!
So I set a goal of saving at least $5 per week through better leftovers management in my Eat First! areas, and converted a couple of clear plastic salad containers into see-through Eat First! bins. They keep the items in one place, instead of migrating all over in the fridge! One for greens (layered with damp paper towels) and one for wrapped fruit/veggie, cheese or protein remnants. For at least one meal each day, I rummage in there and head for the blender, skillet or sheet pan.
LESSON LEARNED: It’s easy to save $5/week by making one meal each day using items from Eat First! It’s also easier now to stay on top of my “alligator pears”!
A few forgotten mandarin oranges in the bottom of our fridge drawer were discolored and shriveling. I hoped there was still some way to enjoy them, NOT just waste them in compost. So I cut one open and voila! Inside there was still plenty of moisture and good color. I remembered I had a plastic hand juicer tool in the cupboard and went to town. Result: a glass of deliciousness!
CONFESSIONS CONVERTED/LESSONS LEARNED: Community members
- No milk or corncob scraps left behind (Stasi K of Corvallis)
When milk doesn’t smell or taste perfect anymore but is still “ok” to consume (a bit sour but not curdling), I use it right away in place of buttermilk in pancakes or I’ll freeze it to cook with (heating it provides additional safety).
We also take boiled corn on the cob, slice off and eat the corn, then take the remaining cob/husks and simmer them in the same water for half an hour to make corn stock for a nice flavor addition (can be used like veggie stock). Just strain off the solids.
- Friendly fridge reminders (Mishele M of Corvallis)
My spouse and I grew up with Depression-era parents, so in both our families the culture is to never, ever throw anything out unless it’s truly inedible. If something DOES start to get old, we just cook it instead of eating it raw.
I’ve trained my hubby not to take items out of the freezer for a meal if something else is already waiting to be eaten up in the fridge. We’ve also found that keeping things well-labeled and to the front of the fridge shelves helps us know which items to attend to next!
When root veggies go soft, we crisp them back up in cold water. That works well for greens too, like Swiss chard and beet greens. We just place them upright in a glass in the fridge or on windowsill.
NOTE: Here’s more helpful tips on freshening up veggies and other compost-rescue strategies.
- No cukes or zukes left behind (Susan S of Corvallis)
We used to store our purchased cucumbers in plastic bags, and weren’t eating them up fast enough. Then we learned from NFLB’s A-Z Fruit & Veggie Storage Guide how to properly store them loosely in the crisper drawer. Now our cukes last longer and don’t get slimy, maybe a bit limp or dehydrated, so we slice and crisp them up in cold water.
With zucchinis: we like to shred them and mix with salt, which pulls out the moisture, then grab fistfuls and squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. From there it can be substituted in place of potato in latkes/pancakes, or as a base layer for homemade pizza. The zuke gets soft and it makes the pizza super moist!
- Cider now, cider later (Pat W of Corvallis)
One reader responded to our apple blog last year with this no-waste tip: I always split jugs of fresh cider and put (half) in the freezer for another time.
Got a Confession/Lesson Learned to Share? We’d love to hear your anecdotes about how you’re able to waste less food! Let us know by commenting below. You can also submit via our contact page: https://nofoodleftbehindcorvallis.org/contact/.