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A day in the life of a recovering food waster

I’ve posted some how-tos before on the topic of avoiding food waste, but I thought it might be helpful to show you some of the ways those ideas work themselves out in my life. So, here you are(with pictures, of course!).

First up is a picture of some random bits of food that I had in my fridge. I looked in at lunchtime as I usually do, checking to see if there are any leftovers which need to be eaten. When I saw these four things(rice, black beans, green onions, and cilantro pesto), it occurred to me that they could be combined.

This was actually pretty tasty, both cold and hot.

While peering into my fridge, I noticed half of a tomato. Being a winter tomato, it wasn’t particularly appetizing even when it was fresh, and by this point in time, it was a little past fresh. Oftentimes when I find produce in my fridge that isn’t fit to be eaten raw, I try to think of a way to cook it.

Tomatoes are pretty easy to use up…I chop them(unpeeled) and cook them in a pan for 10 minutes, or until they’re soft. I then puree the mixture in my food processor and mix it in with a jar of tomato sauce(since I make pizza so often, I generally have an open jar in my refrigerator). This works with grape or cherry tomatoes that have gone a little soft, and no peeling is necessary.

Lastly, I noticed a leftover sweet potato. It was a little too dry to eat on its own, so I mashed it up and combined it with a bit of frozen squash that I’d found during my freezer clean-out. I then put it back in the fridge to made into muffins at breakfast.

Obviously we’re not talking about enormous savings here…a tomato, a sweet potato, some rice, and some beans, and some cilantro aren’t worth a lot of money. They’re cheap foods to begin with, and the quantities here were small. As I’ve said before, though, small things add up in the long run. Also, the habits and skills you acquire by doing this with small bits of food can be applied and used with more expensive foods and with larger quantities as well.

Plus, it’s awfully thrilling to take trash-bound food and turn it into something tasty. 😉

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Tuesday 13th of January 2009

That is inpressive....I would not have been able to think of what to do with those items. You are very creative!!


Monday 15th of December 2008

Jill, thank you! lol I'm probably not nearly as amazing as you think I am. :p And honestly, none of the stuff I wrote about in this post was that time-consuming.

Charity, I'm thrilled that you've found some success in reducing your waste...that's awesome!


Sunday 14th of December 2008

Not sure if I left a comment along these lines before or not.

Since reading your blog my food waste has gone WAY down. Something about the way you communicate (maybe it's the relentless pics!) has really helped me be more aware of what's in my fridge and I've been using things up a lot better than I used to.

I have to confess, I sometimes think to myself, "What would a food waste photo look like this week?" even though I don't post food waste photos.

It certainly adds up over time. I once read that the average American family throws away half the food they buy. Amazing.


Friday 12th of December 2008

I'm the only one in the household who is really enthusiastic about leftovers. The others need some prodding to take the rest of the beef stew or baked beans for lunch. Part of the problem is that food is too important in American culture. It is our substitute for all other pleasures, I guess. We love to "treat" ourselves with sweet, salty, fatty snacks instead of being grateful for the real food right before us. Maybe it's time to grow up and stop eating like children.


Wednesday 10th of December 2008

This stuff does add up, plus it feels good to make good use of something instead of letting it just rot and become disgusting and useless.

Basically, by not wasting those leftovers, you saved yourself the cost of a meal. Which means that money is available to pay for other things in the future.

Why waste it if you can use it and save money at the same time is my attitude as well.

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