You guys. I threw away chocolate.

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.

I know.

What kind of person throws away chocolate??

(Me, apparently.)

I was decluttering my kitchen cabinets last night, and the job wasn’t too bad, probably because I cleaned them out pretty well when I painted my cabinets last year.

But somehow, in the very back of a cabinet, there were some very old chocolate melts (the sort you coat pretzels with). I had my kids taste them, because they have lower standards for chocolate than I do, and even they thought the chocolate tasted awful.

bad chocolate

So I threw it away.

I also found two moldy, soft lemons in my fruit drawer:

squishy lemons

And I haven’t sniffed ’em yet, but I think I have some leftover roasted chicken thighs that are beyond saving, and I have no excuse to offer for that. I should have put them on top of a salad, or made a mayo-based chicken salad or SOMETHING.

I guess the good news from this week is that after going through all of my food cabinets, I only found one small thing to throw away. So I am doing pretty awesome at using up unrefrigerated items and also at buying only things that I will actually use.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I signed up for a CSA-style produce delivery service, which may present some new food waste challenges for me. You can pre-opt out of produce you hate (eggplant is crossed off of my list forever.), but still, getting unpredictable produce choices could throw me for a loop. We’ll see!

How did you do this week? If you blogged about your food waste, link us up by entering your info into the widget below. You’ll save money, reduce your trash output, and get a little publicity for your blog! And if you don’t blog, you can still share about your food waste by leaving a comment.

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  1. WilliamB says

    I also wasted chocolate, in a good cause. I tried making banana pops (dip frozen bananas in chocolate) for a visiting friend who can’t eat dairy. Turns out even dark choc has dairy so I added sugar to unsweetened choc. Don’t do this – pure chocolate + sugar /= edible chocolate. Or maybe I didn’t use enough sugar. Or maybe I should have made a sugar syrup. Whatever it was, my attempt to create a frozen treat wasn’t a culinary success. At least I succeeded on the hospitality front.

    After going way overboard at the Chinese supermarket last week (it’s an hour away so I don’t get there very often) I’m pleased to say I lost only half a plum.

    But those melons aren’t going to eat themselves. Melon, mmmm…

    • Kristen says

      I wonder if it has something to do with the sugar not melting properly. I know I’ve seen recipes where people make chocolate using cocoa powder, coconut oil, and some kind of sweetener, so maybe google that next time your friend visits!

    • KimN says

      My son can’t have dairy and there are some brands that don’t put it in their semi-sweet chocolate. Ghiradelli is one and the Costco brand is another.

      • Kay says

        Just an FYI for others who might try this, these packages usually say “May contain trace amounts of milk.”
        I use these for my SO who’s lactose intolerant, but I wouldn’t risk it for my friend’s child who is severely allergic to dairy.

        • says

          Right. I wouldn’t risk it for someone severely allergic. Myself, lactose-intolerant. I’m okay with TJ’s product. A boy I babysit, actually allergic to milk. His mom buys Trader Joe’s Choc chips. His allergist says they’re okay for his situation.

          I just flipped the bag over. “Ingredients: cane sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract.
          Our vendors follow good manufacturing processes to segregate ingredients to avoid cross contact with allergens. Made in a facility that processes milk.”

          So, in some circumstances, just being made where milk could be used for something else, could poses a hazard. One of those things to talk with your allergist about.

  2. Kate says

    Well, my daughter just presented me with a clementine that she forgot about in her softball bag for a few weeks. Ewww. Thankfully, somehow it didn’t get mushed and wasn’t moldy. I don’t think that counts against ME in the food waste tally, though. ;)

    • Kristen says

      Totally. If Mr. FG leaves his lunch uneaten and unrefrigerated, I figure that’s on him and not on me!

  3. says

    Hmmm, I actually don’t think we had any food waste this week! However, it’s probably because I didn’t go to the grocery store last week and we just had to eat what was in the pantry.

    However, I did start my compost pile with some grass and last night, went to put my first kitchen scraps in there and noticed ants. Is this something you’ve experienced? Should I move it before it becomes a bigger problem? I’m a total newbie at composting.

    • Kristen says

      I find ants and worms and such in mine all the time. I don’t think it’s a problem, unless they’re getting into your house or something. I figure all the critters are good for the composting process.

    • WilliamB says

      Sloan – you need those critters to help break down your waste into compost. Some will be visible – the best are the earthworms – and most are invisible or close to – bacteria, molds, fungi, etc. (visible ones are known as the macroherd, invisible ones as the microherd). Not everything in your pile will be desirable (I’m not a fan of the potato bugs) but overall it’s all good.

  4. says

    Not sure I read that right. Just a couple of weeks till I hit middle age and I should really wear my glasses more regularly, but I think I misread a word that looked like ‘chocolate’.
    I’ll have to take another look ;)

    Anyways – I have waste. I photographed it. But as you know (your tweet made me titter… Not twitter) I went a step further with my Friday fridge this week. Makes me laugh just thinking about it…

  5. says

    Not my fault, but Mr. FP bought an entire jar of nice apple butter, used it once, and then forgot about it, leaving it in the fridge to go moldy. (I don’t really use it.)

    We are moving halfway across the country in 7 days so I am frantically trying to use up all the food! I hate the day before a move when you have to throw so much away. (Maybe the neighbors can use some of it.) I’m getting creative–uncooked oatmeal soaked overnight in yogurt (with a little jam) and a little milk makes a great breakfast for the kids and uses up jam and oats! (The honey ran out, so I couldn’t make granola.)

  6. says

    I. Have. Pantry. Moths. AGAIN.

    I dealt with an infestation several months ago, and I thought that I had completely gotten rid of them.

    I found them in the ground flax seed containter when I went to make mudballs last night. The same container that I used for smoothies a few hours before. Blek!

    Lots of food waste this week since I’ll be scouring my cabinets AGAIN! Eating real food means that SO MANY of my staples are in danger this go-around. *insert sad face here

    • says

      bonus — extra protein!
      if you’re not too fussy, you can pick out any moths you see, then cycle everything through the freezer, to kill larvae before they hatch. I had to do that with a 50 lb sack of brown rice a couple of years ago.
      Another way to look at this is, its a sign that you’re eating close to nature, which is a good thing. :)
      Do you ever keep ground flax in the fridge? I thought once the flax was ground, the oils were more fragile, and it should be refrigerated.

        • says

          Hahahahahahaha! That’s exactly what my mom said. :) At least the protein part…she’s a germaphobe, so she would die 1000 deaths if she thought that I might actually try salvaging the food.

          I considered trying that, but wimped out immediately. The package that I have says that because it is “cold milled” that it stays shelf stable without refrigeration, but I may start storing it in there to keep down chances for infestation.

          Closer to nature certainly is a two-edged sword. Never had pantry moths when I just had cans of cream soup, mac and cheese, and Hamburger Helper in those cabinets. Ha!! I’ll stick with being vigilant to protect my flour and flax over that any day now. :)

    • April says

      I’ve never had this problem but it was mentioned in a class I recently took on learning to be more self sufficient. The instructor said to FULLY get rid of these pests you have to throw out every food item in said pantry and remove and clean everything in it. Once that is done she said you can restock but to move everything into an airtight container. It was said these things can come home in some boxes you get from the store and infect your entire pantry. Her experience was that when she threw out only items she thought were infected the infestation just came back. She now uses mason jars and a foodsaver. When she gets home from the store she dumps all the dry goods into mason jars and seals the ones for long term storage with the foodsaver (she cuts off instructions and throws that in there too.). She likes this because she can see before she opens if there is any kind of infestation. My thought is that if the food saver is used to remove the air it might also kill anything present before you even know it’s there. That could be a pro or a con :/

      • says

        I followed those instructions exactly to get rid of the first infestation. I have just gotten a little lax in the last couple of months apparently (not transferring ALL new things to containers immediately and such) because we hadn’t had any signs or problems in soooo long. That flax was even in a container that I THOUGHT was airtight. Apparently not… I’m going to just have to dig in and scour it all again. I’ll just chalk it up to spring cleaning and stop whining. ;)

  7. says

    I’ve got to start linking up to this! Such a great idea. Mentally, I’ve started doing this, I just can seem to get my act together and take all the pictures and make a blog post. I’ll get there one day!

    Are you willing to join forces for a Sunday link up? I do one, but I’m still a small blog and not many people link up to it. It is live every Saturday by 8 pm Eastern. Check it out and let me know if you want to co host with me or if you know any other frugal bloggers who would like to.

  8. Jenny says

    I loved joining a CSA because it introduced me to new produce-chard, fennel, and broccolini are on the list we now eat regularly because of the CSA.

  9. says

    Interesting idea…we waste food all the time too and this is such a clever idea to help us stop. What gets me most is not just the food we waste but also having to wash the darn containers that we had put them in.

    For us, the biggest waste is leftovers. I know we mean well when we save leftovers for later, but unless we have a set plan to eat them later, it rarely gets eaten. It basically takes up room in our frig and then waste our time, energy, and water to have to wash the darn containers we had put them in. :(

    • EngineerMom says

      One of our biggest cures for this particular issue is a scheduled weekly “leftover night” when we eat leftovers for dinner. I typically put it on a night when I know I won’t have a lot of time to cook, so it also ends up as a bonus break for me!

  10. says

    Hi there,

    This was my first week of participating in Food Waste Fridays on my fairly new blog. I had an excellent week mostly because I am seasoned at FWF before I started blogging. I especially enjoy the opportunity to be more mindful when it comes to food waste and my kitchen in general. I also like to conversation it brings up with others.

    I had no need to throw away chocolate this week :) I found a vegan bar of Sweet William at the back of my pantry and savored every mouthful.

  11. April says

    I would LOVE to hear more about how your CSA box goes. I’m considering getting in on one in our area, but feel a bit iffy about unknown veggies that I haven’t cooked before.

    • WilliamB says

      As a rule, the CSA folk have recipes, ideas, and tips for the veggies they distribute. Try asking them or fellow CSA members for what they do.

  12. says

    We’ve had a CSA share for several years. This is what I do to limit food waste.

    First, when I get the share home, I lay it out on a table or counter and make a list of everything. Then I pack everything well and put it in the fridge. I cross things off the list as I use them. Then the next week I keep that list and add the new items below.

    The night I get the share I make a week-long meal plan keeping in mind any items from earlier weeks and vegetables that don’t last very long, like lettuce and tender greens.

    I also keep in mind things that can be easily frozen and herbs that can be dried. Sometimes I do this as soon as I get my share, if I know that I simply won’t get through two bunches of kale for example. Sometimes I do this to save something that is otherwise going to go bad.

    Something I also learned the first year is that certain vegetables like kale, spinach, and peppers last a long time if put in plastic in the fridge, because they are so fresh. We are so used to produce traveling across the country and then going bad quickly in our kitchens.

    I hope this is helpful. We love having a CSA share and actually find it easier to cook during CSA season than during the rest of they year.

  13. Robbie says

    We just recently started recording our food waste and for the week of May 16-22 I have NOTHING written down! However, I can’t believe that’s true. I’m thinking either I must have had to have thrown something out and just forgot to note it or that DH threw out things that I wasn’t aware of.

    • Robbie says

      Wait! I thought of something!! (Not like I should be proud of it.) I had forgotten when I went on leave that our building at work was having a power outage the 17th-18th, so when I returned on the 20th I threw out some condiments that I had in the fridge that contained dairy and eggs, just to be safe (though they didn’t smell suspicious). I also had some to go portions of ketchup and salsa in there that didn’t look right that I threw out. And I threw out (composted) some red peppers that I don’t like that were part of my microwavable lunches. Finally, I poured out the few sips of water that were left in my glass yesterday after finding out that they had detected e-coli in the water in the city where I work. Ick! I think that definitely falls into the “not my fault” category, though!

  14. Christine says

    But but… roasted eggplant is so So SO DELICIOUS!!!

    Ack, you’re missing out on something wonderful. T_T

  15. Amanda says

    Yours is the blog that has really convinced me to be more serious about food wasting. I would end up having a tower of containers of food to throw away and always think about people that didnt have enough. I’m doing better now, i cook smaller meals for my family because we realize we just don’t like leftovers and that helps a lot. I pretty much harass them the rest of the time to eat something before opening something else.

  16. Joy says

    Old, funky lemons can still be put to good use. Saw a Pinterest post for using them to clean stainless steel sinks. I also know you can use them to clean/sanitize cutting/chopping boards, shining up bathroom hardware (from water spots), and cleaning your microwave by microwaving the lemon.

    • Kristen says

      What about if it’s squishy and moldy? I couldn’t really have picked them up and used them to scrub anything, probably! But these are good ideas for lemons not as far gone as mine.

  17. EngineerMom says

    Yay for CSA! We signed up for one last summer in addition to getting a community garden plot, and it was a great challenge to figure out how to cook things I don’t normally buy. Kale ended up permanently added to my grocery list, and I discovered a whole range of edible plant parts I previously didn’t know you could eat and acquired some interesting garden knowledge (the flowering part of a kale plant is raab, you can eat zucchini flowers, which is helpful in controlling the eventual total zucchini harvest, beet greens are basically the same as swiss chard, broccoli leaves are basically kale, you can pick the outer leaves of loose leaf lettuce as needed, but it’s better to let head lettuce fully develop before harvest, baby eggplant are much more tender and milder-tasting than “mature” eggplant, and asparagus is a huge frothy fern when it’s allowed to grow up!).

    Ask if your CSA includes recipes with each delivery. Many either do that or maintain a website or blog that can give you tips on coping with unfamiliar vegetables and fruits.

  18. says

    Love this!! I’m going to add it to my blog and link up, thank you for sharing the button. I’m plan on starting this Friday.

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