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Friday, May 8, 2015

Waste Not Want Not!

Did you know that on average most people throw away over 25% of all the food they buy?

That really ads up when you are talking about buying all organic and local food.  It's Tuesday morning and I cleaned out my fridge on Monday (trash day) and found some dregs -- here is my plan for them today.  (I normally try to clean out my fridge twice a week to avoid waste.)  The above foods might not seem like much to throw away -- but why?  They are all still perfectly fine if used soon. I would bet you might look at these and think they were beyond their useful life.  The cucumbers are a bit squishy, with some wrinkled up ends and probably a couple spots of mold-I cut those parts off, the peaches don't look perfect, and the pears are pretty brownish and soft. 

Here is what I found:

1.three bottles of a smoothie mix that no one will eat (I didn't pay full price for these - mind you- pricey drinks like this don't fit in the budget) 
2. 3 slightly goneish cucumbers
3. several goneish bosc pears
4. several nearly goneish peaches
5.  an old jar of kefir
6. an old banana
7.  a package of markdown sausages

And what I did with it:

The smoothie I made used up one cucumber, two pears, the banana and about half of the jar of greens.  The other half of the jar of greens I poured into an ice cube tray and froze for later smoothies.  If I had spinach, lettuce, kale or chard I could add these too and whatever frozen fruit I have too. Sometimes I put in homemade kombucha, bee pollen, vitamin D, egg protein powder, and honey to taste.

The remainder of the pears were good enough for fresh eating so I took off the brown parts and cut them up and served them alongside the smoothies and sausages for breakfast. 

I sliced up the peaches to go with dinner tonight as a side dish. 

The remainder of cucumbers got sliced up and will be served tonight with dinner - which is kheema over brown rice, hummus, veggies, and pita breads. 

I also cooked up the sausages and those will likely get gobbled immediately.  I found them at our local Target store on markdown for $2.37 on Sunday with a $.50 off coupon that makes them $1.87 for just under a pound.  (Normally we would use our homemade deer sausage for breakfast but last year my DH didn't go hunting and we are out)

Now if I wasn't in the mood for smoothies here are some other things I could've done with those dregs:  

Cucumbers -
cucumber salad, slice them up for veggies to dip with lunch, in my tuna salad or let the kids have them with dressing or dip, or hummus, make easy pickles out of them

Bosc pears -
slice them up and peel them for the little ones to eat, poach them with a bit of honey and lemon in the oven or skillet, make pear cake and freeze or enjoy it fresh, slice them up and put them in a skillet with a bit of butter (or coconut oil) some nutmeg, and sweetener-probably sucanat, and serve them warm over pancakes or plain as a dessert after tonight's dinner, blend them up and make dehydrated fruit rolls out of them, or cut and freeze them in a baggie for smoothies later.

Peach cobbler as dessert, peach pie, warm peach compote, grill them, slice for fresh eating with dinner tonight (I almost always serve at least two veggies and one fresh or home canned fruit with dinner to extend it out and give my kids plenty of choices), blend them with some sweetener-probably stevia and pour over plain yogurt, or put the puree in a marinade for something like chicken or pork, cut them up and use them for smoothies or jam later.

use it in soaked oatmeal or soaked pancakes for tomorrows breakfast, or in pancakes, save it for later--truthfully probiotic drinks, and cultured foods last much beyond their sell by dates -- I rarely if ever throw them away.  This is one place where buying the old markdowns in the supermarket really pays off!! Good cultured sour cream, cottage cheese, kefir, and yogurts will last at least a month past their sell by dates when unopened and can be frozen.  When they are questionable - not moldy, stinky or sour tasting you can still use them in baked goods if you aren't comfortable eating them fresh because you will be heating them and killing any potentially bad bacteria.  Soured milk, etc has been used in baked goods for centuries.  Our grandmothers and Great Grandmothers knew it still had value and even if it may not seem "normal" in our germophobic world it is perfectly safe and even desirable as it lends a terrific flavor and great nutrient value to food. 

Freeze it just like it is- skin and all and use it later to make pancakes or baked goods.  Peel it, break it into chunks and put it in a bag label it and save it to use later in smoothies, baked goods, or mock ice cream.  Fry it in coconut oil and serve it as a snack or part of breakfast.  Eat it plain or slice it and put it in warm cereal or on top of granola.  If you have lots you can slice and dehydrate them into banana chips. 

Markdown sausages-
I could use these as dinner tonight- one of my favorite meals is a package of any kind of sausage an onion and either some sliced squash (frozen or fresh- think zucchini or yellow summer squash) or a head of cauliflower and a tad of nutmeg!  I could simply freeze them too and use them later. 

One of the biggest keys to maintaining a food budget is managing your losses.. restaurants know this, well, the successful ones do!! Rethink what you are throwing away and you'll be amazed at how much money you can save. 

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