Food Waste Friday | So close to eating all the greens…

by Kristen on March 15, 2013 · 35 comments

in Food Waste Friday

Every week, I post a picture of the food that has gone bad over the last seven days. Why do I do this? Because in March of 2008, I finally got fed up with the amount of food I was wasting, and I thought that showing my waste to other people would motivate me to use up my food instead of wasting it. Because this often embarrassing practice was so helpful for me, I invited other bloggers to join me in posting their food waste photos, and Food Waste Friday was born.

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Remember how two weeks ago, I told you I was a little nervous about our ability to eat up all the greens we had in our fridge?

(I had a bit of a backlog because I’d been sick.)

Well, I was right to be nervous. We did make it through a big container of organic mixed greens and two heads of Romaine lettuce, but this poor spinach didn’t get eaten.

rotten spinach

I also found a few bad mushrooms in the drawer that were from around the time I was sick.

rotten mushrooms

The tomatoes are fine, though…they just happened to be on the counter.

In happier news, I bought a ton of produce last week, and we’ve eaten pretty much all of it up, which is lovely on both the food waste front and on the health front.

Ooh! I also figured out how to store extra fruit in the freezer without using Pyrex (I like to have that available for other uses.) or disposable plastic.

frozen fruit in mason jars

When I’ve got more fruit than we can eat in time, I freeze it on a pan and then dump the frozen pieces into a Mason jar. Since the pieces are individually frozen by then, they don’t stick to each other, and I can just dump the amount I want right into the blender jar for a smoothie.

I do put the lids on when the fruit is in the freezer, but lids on made for a boring photo. ;)

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Joshua’s 365 post: Oh my goodness!

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Live and Learn-Toss and Turn March 15, 2013 at 7:07 am

Congratulations on using up most of your ample supply of fresh produce. We were able to finish most of what we had this week except for a bit of onion that was hiding. Also, after seeing a cantaloupe from Aldi’s in one of your posts a couple of weeks ago, I have gotten two of them. I have let them ripen on the counter for about a week before I cut them and they have been very good. :)

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2 Economies of Kale March 15, 2013 at 8:11 am

I had the last of a bunch of grapes go bad as well as an egg that cracked in the carton.

That’s a great idea to store fruit in jars in the freezer. I usually use ziploc bags, but like the idea of using glass much better.

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3 Economies of Kale March 17, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Sorry Kristen, I wrote the wrong link so have resubmitted it :( Just goes to show what happens when I try and do it quickly when I’m away!

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4 Linda March 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

I love seeing innovative plastic-free food storage methods, like the mason jars for freezing fresh fruit which might otherwise spoil. NICE! I’m doing this.

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5 David March 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

What is happening with food prices, I was in Giant a couple of days ago and they had chicken for 99 cents a pound. There were also a few other meats like ham, pork and even some beef for a dollar plus per pound. But over at the produce counter broccoli was $2.49 a pound along with most vegetables and fruits in the dollars per pound! A complete reversal from just a few years ago when fruits and vegetables were cheap, cheap, cheap and meat was more expensive.
Well at least we can grow some of our own vegetables. How will Big Agriculture stop us? That will be interesting to see! I envision us growing our veg in our basements hiding from the veg and fruit and marijuana police. Wait, marijuana is legal now, isn’t it? :)

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6 April March 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I agree with you David, veggies and fruits are getting a lot more expensive! I would LOVE to start a garden and not be as subjectable to the rising costs of food. I’m working on it, but so far my thumb is not green–At All. It’s more yellow/brown like dead plants..lol

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7 Jenna March 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

My spinach was about to go bad a few weeks ago when I saw a pin on Pinterest. I put the spinach and a little water in the blender and blended it up. Then I put it in ice cube trays and let it freeze. Perfect for adding to smoothies! I also freeze grapes just before they go bad. A good frozen treat as well as good for smoothies.

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8 April March 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Jenna, That is a fantastic idea! I’m totally gonna use that spinach one! Thanks!

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9 Jo@simplybeingmum March 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

My fridge is a disaster! What can I say… a tough week all round!

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10 WilliamB March 16, 2013 at 7:16 am

Now I gotta pop over to your site to see what your definition of disaster looks like. I’m darn sure it’s not the same as mine!

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11 Jo@simplybeingmum March 18, 2013 at 5:48 am

Probably worse than you imagine!

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12 Jacqueline March 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

Good for you!
If you catch them early enough next time and have the time, you could slightly cook the mushrooms and spinach with some tomato sauce and throw it in the freezer. Then warm it up with some pasta and parmesan cheese later on.

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13 WilliamB March 16, 2013 at 7:17 am

No FG (obviously) but thanks for the idea. I have both mushrooms and spinach that need to be used up, and tomato sauce cooked that’s waiting to be paired with spaghetti squash. Perfect timing, Jacqueline, thank you.

I think I’m going to have to try growing spinach this year. My store doesn’t sell it loose and all the packages are too big for me.

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14 Amanda @ The Scacchi House March 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

What a great idea to use the mason jars in the freezer! I’m trying to get away from plastic, so this is perfect. We had no waste this week! Greens are usually the first to go at our house too.

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15 Jill March 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

I was sick a few weeks ago and ended up wasting more produce than I wanted. Last year we picked a lot of wild blackberries. I froze them individually in a 9×13 pan then stored them in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

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16 Jill March 15, 2013 at 11:27 am

I did not think of using mason or any other glass jars. I guess the zip lock bags work well since we had a lot of berries and the bag took up less room.

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17 Kristina @ Family. Work. Life. March 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

Not too bad, could have been much worse! I freeze spinach all the time if I’m not able to use it – I just clip the top and throw it in the freezer, bag and all. Then I use it in soups or casseroles later.

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18 Cheryl March 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I do this too! Works great in smoothies :)

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19 sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring March 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

I had ‘greens’ issues this week too; sprouts that I’d taken the effort to grow, somehow that made it feel a bit worse. All that energy they’d put into growing and I still let them mouldy.

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20 April March 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

I do the same with a lot of my fruit about to turn, except I re-use jars from the store. I buy the natural peanut butter in the large glass jar size and they work fantastically. I also use the smaller jars from jellies or pickles etc. to store bits of cut-up veggies/ fruits in the fridge. They are wonderful because you can see everything in them, so actually LESS waste! The things that go bad in my house are the things that you can’t see. They are pretty attractive too, just remove the old label and then get some Non-toxic paint and give the lid a few coats in whatever color you like. Do not spray the inside of the lid, just the outside, and hand wash for future cleaning instead of the dishwasher.
Another great use for veggies and fruits that are about to go bad that don’t freeze well….making chips in the dehydrator. Just rinse, slice (if needed), place, and sprinkle with sea salt turn it on and sometime later… Voila! Healthy alternative to potato chips and saves you money too!
I also make use of the bits of veggies that would have been thrown away. I save them in the freezer until I have enough to make veggie broth, after that I feel very satisfied tossing them in the compost. Throwing away food to me is like throwing away money! I try to get my money’s worth! lol

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21 Susan March 15, 2013 at 11:59 am

You freeze with glass containers? They don’t crack or break?

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22 Elaine in Ark March 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

That would be my worry, too. I’ve dropped plastic containers and had one or two shatter on the kitchen tile floor. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be for glass containers.

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23 Jen March 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I freeze in glass and it works fine as long as you:
1) leave room for expansion at the top if freezing liquids
2) store the jars so that they don’t bang together in the freezer–sometimes that will cause them to chip.

I love having jars of leftover soup in the freezer, then I can just grab one for lunch at work.
Lots of oddbits hit the trash thisweek here. We’ve had a really busy week and that doesn’t work well for using up leftovers.

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24 Billie March 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Since it’s just me and my husband now, I’ve learned to scale down on making so much food. In the summer we love corn on the cob, and it’s usually sold 13 at a time at my wonderful local farm stand. I cook it all up, take it off the cob, add butter, eat what we want, and then freeze it in pint baggies, that I lay flat in my freezer until it’s frozen, then just stack it. I do this all summer and we have corn all winter. I do the same for hash browns and even oatmeal (I can make the healthy kind) or cream of rice, freeze it in pint baggies, lay flat. I used to freeze my abundant basil in ice cub trays, but now I blend it with a touch of olive oil, put it in snack baggies, lie it flat and it fits in the freezer door. BTW, small jelly mason jars are perfect if you’re going to freeze in glass. And I do wash all my baggies and reuse them for other things other than food. Many years ago, my husband had a very, very wealthy client and when I walked into her kitchen I saw her plastic bags drying in a dish drainer. I dawned on me how wasteful it was not to reuse them. I now have a hidden wire across my sink with clips on it, and after I wash the bags, I hang them, let them dry and then put them in a hanging bag in my pantry. I use them all the time for everything from storing holiday ornaments to putting dog poo picked up from the yard. My worst nightmare is a power outage…there goes all my frozen treasures.

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25 Randi Greene March 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I am going to start doing this on my brand new baby blog. I am going to do it on Mondays though since Tuesday is our trash day. This week is going to be bad. My husband was in a bad car accident (he is fine thank God) that threw us into a nervous tense not wanting to eat a whole lot mindset. Hopefully we can get back on our eating schedule next week and not have so much to throw out.

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26 The Norwegian Girl March 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm

good idea to freeze fruit individually, making it easier to use!
I also had a couple of mushrooms go bad, we were supposed to have company over and I was making pizza with ham and mushroom, so I bought a lot, but then our plans got cancelled, and well 2 people can`t eat that much:-p

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27 Julia March 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I am grazy for tomatoes but there I find them again and again…as nice little raisins, etc. Krh. :-/

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28 JW_Umbrella Treasury March 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I think you did a great job of using up so much fresh produce. I also really like your idea to freeze fruit individually in mason jars. Will have to try this!

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29 Kristin S. March 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I just found a link on Pinterest for freezing spinach for smoothies… Blend it with a little water, freeze in ice cube trays, and then put in baggies or containers until you need to use them! Maybe that would help with your spinach woes!

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30 Helen - my lil adventures March 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I have no waste – officially but I have some ‘shady’ grapes lurking. Wondering what I should do?

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31 WilliamB March 16, 2013 at 7:20 am

Try eating them frozen.

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32 Amanda March 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm

We always use bags in the freezer and I hate the waste. I think I’ll be stealing your Mason jar idea. :)

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33 WilliamB March 16, 2013 at 7:25 am

Wasted:
half a cucumber
1/2 c. honeydew

Needs to be Used:
1/2 lb mushrooms
large bunch of spinach
4 oz homemade char siu

Save of the Week:
Sour grape tomatoes (bleck!) made fantastic tomato sauce. To be combined with mushrooms and spinach per Jacqueline’s idea.

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34 laura March 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I saw recently (pinterest maybe?) that mason jars will screw onto a standard blender blade. So with your frozen fruit in jars, you could add the other smoothie ingredients to the jar and blend it up without dirtying your blender pitcher! And then drink right from the jar :)

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35 Sarah April 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I love the idea for freezing fruit in mason jars!! Also, I’m sure you know about green smoothies, but they are a great way to quickly go through greens if they need to be eaten, and spinach is so mild in flavor that you could probably put half the bag in a smoothie with some frozen fruit, and it would still taste great! These days, for a low-glycemic smoothies, I’m mostly using greens, avocado, coconut milk (coconut fat has so many health benefits), frozen berries, some plant-based protein powder, a little honey and water.

Greens are also amazing as a soup base. I never make soup without blending in tons of greens first, and according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, you get about 4 times the nutrients when you blend food, so I blend away!! :-D

Thanks for your post and blog! I found it while looking for grocery list ideas! :) This post intrigued me, because I’ve certainly been guilty of having to throw away produce as well. I guess this is why I started buying most of my produce in frozen bags! Ha! It works out though, because I actually find the frozen to be cheaper in many cases, and they say it’s often higher in nutrients since it’s picked at its peak ripeness. Believe it or not, Whole Foods has really great prices on frozen produce (and also on broth). I love their selection!! :)

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