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Food Waste @ Home


liuzhou
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It is very hard adjusting to cooking for just one who doesn't eat that much but enjoys a varied diet. I'm sure it can be done with practice, because I remember having a hard time cooking for two when I was used to cooking for six and sometimes more. One is really challenging because of the way food is sold, though.

 

I had to buy a one pound package of corn tortillas, the smallest one on offer, and I only eat three at a time. I immediately refrigerated them (they were bought off the grocery shelf) and the first time I made enchiladas, I took out my three and then wrapped the rest in plastic wrap in packages of three, put them back in the bag they came in, put that in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I like a lot of enchilada sauce, but the smallest can I can buy is twice as much as I can use at one sitting, so half that can went into the freezer in an 8 oz sour cream container. I took a Sharpie and labeled it "ENCH". I have others that are labeled "PIZZA", "SPAG", "DUCK FAT" or "CHIX".

 

One thing I do to reduce waste is like tonight when I had some milk and some mushrooms that were needing to be used. I never made homemade cream of mushroom soup before, but faced with this situation I did. It's good and I put two-1 pint recycled dairy containers into the freezer labeled "M. SOUP" after eating a serving. It wasn't what I necessarily would have chosen without considering waste to accompany cheese enchiladas, with frozen tortillas and sauce, but fresh cheese and half a zucchini that needed to be used, but it was good and it helped to keep from wasting anything.

 

I love using recycled dairy containers for freezing stuff. They last a long time, come in smaller sizes than containers usually sold for food storage, seal watertight, and also help reduce waste. They are also well designed to keep external odors out of sensitive dairy foods, but that also helps keep good flavors in your frozen food where they belong. I used to work for a packaging manufacturer in Memphis, and they had some very smart people working on the best ways to preserve food with packaging.

 

We have an excellent municipal recycling program here for plastic bottles and containers, glass, food cans and paper. No one accepts styrofoam that I know of around here, but I walk my plastic grocery bags, toilet paper wrappers, produce bags, frozen veggie bags and so on, cleaned out if necessary of course and pinned up to dry out in the laundry room/pantry, back to the grocery stores who do accept that stuff. There was an article about some scientists who found 38 million pieces of plastic garbage on a remote island between Chile and New Zealand today. Stuff like that, and the garbage swirl in the Pacific, makes me very conscious of throwing any plastic away. 

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4 hours ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

How do you do this? 

 

I thought I was pretty green, but you have got me beat.

A plastic square bin to fit in the sink, and a bucket on the floor.

 

Wash everything in the bin and pour the water into the bucket. Carry the bucket to garden to water plants.

 

dcarch

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I live in an apartment in the city but we compost and we have a green bin - mandated by the city - that accepts all food waste including pizza boxes and other papers soiled with food. That's sent to a municipal composting operation. Similarly we have a green bin at work so all food scraps, wooden stir sticks, used napkins go there.  It is emptied daily by the cleaning staff. We have all the other sorts of recycling too - glass, plastic and metal containers, paper.  

 

The stores in my area cater to people who want to buy small amounts (often at a premium admittedly) so it is only my unrealistic expectations that have to be addressed. My mom grew up in a place and time when food didn't get wasted so I learned a lot from her.  I don't have to feed hungry farm workers though so it is a somewhat different calculation. 

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Cheers,

Anne

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Come to think of it, my not wasting food has nothing to do with curtailing global warming, helping all the hungry people in xyz, etc.

Not wasting food has lots of selfish benefits: saving money, convenience, good eating, saving time --------

I don't remember the last time I bought fertilizer for the garden. No smelly garbage -------.

 

dcarch

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 A good read for those who are truly passionate about not wasting food:

 

Click

 

 One of the authors is a co-founder of the Danish restaurant Noma. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Yep, chickens are great garbage disposals.  Even the stuff they don't eat, like onion skins and orange peels, gets scratched around and disintegrates.  I line my 'chicken bucket' (a covered enamelware bowl)

 with a sheet of newspaper, and toss the whole thing in the chicken yard.  The paper (and paper napkins) disappear in an hour or so.  The only things I don't toss to the chickens are bones, because I don't want the dogs to dig their way into the yard for them.

 

ChocoMom--I don't bother with separating out the egg shells.  I just dump them in the chicken yard whole.  My girls have never eaten eggs, unless they get broken somehow.

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On 15/05/2017 at 1:20 AM, liuzhou said:

In fact, I buy bananas from the discard section of my local supermarket where they pile up anything that looks less than perfect and sell it for next to nothing.

 

That said, I still waste more than I would like to. I find that living alone doesn't help.

 

liuzhou. I do exactly the same and no living alone makes it worse. Unless I'm being really switched on ( not often ) I just buy too much food then beat myself up for being stupid. The only trick I employ is trying not to be hungry when I shop.

 

Doofa

 

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My latest idea is to use a vacuum sealer to re-seal prepackaged vac-pack food rather than sticking it in a zip lock. Even if you can't pull a vacuum for some reason you can often get the bag resealed to minimize oxygen contact, keep from exposing the food to new mold, and save plastic. I'm interested to see if it keeps my pastrami from turning gray.

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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1 hour ago, haresfur said:

My latest idea is to use a vacuum sealer to re-seal prepackaged vac-pack food rather than sticking it in a zip lock. Even if you can't pull a vacuum for some reason you can often get the bag resealed to minimize oxygen contact, keep from exposing the food to new mold, and save plastic. I'm interested to see if it keeps my pastrami from turning gray.

Hmmm. Have fun but aren't you creating an anaerobic atmosphere risking the possibility of botulism toxins?  

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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12 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Hmmm. Have fun but aren't you creating an anaerobic atmosphere risking the possibility of botulism toxins?  

 

After I first opened my lovely vacuumed sealed Parmigiano Reggiano I purchased from from Parma I transferred it to a gallon sized Polyscience vacuum bag and resealed the remainder.  Each time I grate some cheese I reseal under vacuum -- again and again till the bag gets too small.  Then I break out a fresh bag and repeat.  I've not died yet.

 

Then again If it were, say, garlic in oil instead of Parmesan I might repent.

 

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47 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Hmmm. Have fun but aren't you creating an anaerobic atmosphere risking the possibility of botulism toxins?  

 

Nah, I'm not doing anything that wasn't done when it was originally sealed except for possibly introducing a little more oxygen by opening and re-closing it.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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  • 1 year later...
6 minutes ago, Arey said:

Penne with hot Italian sausage (leftover from my Sunday dinner of saffron rice with hot Italian sausage and greenlip mussels) and sauteed broccolirabe (left over from last nights dinner of a shake and bake chicken breast  with broccolirabe). Do things  really count as leftovers when you are cooking things with the intention of getting more than one meal out of them?.

As a senior citizen cooking for one, I try to avoid wasting food, but it's difficult.  I buy a lot more vegetables such as   zucchini than I actually cook and eat.  Sometimes its a matter of throwing out the zucchini I didn't use last week to make room in the crisper for the zucchini I bought this week and will probably throw out next week to make room for the zucchini I buy next week.

Glad to know it’s not just me.

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6 minutes ago, Arey said:

Sometimes its a matter of throwing out the zucchini I didn't use last week to make room in the crisper for the zucchini I bought this week and will probably throw out next week to make room for the zucchini I buy next week.

Oh ditto for me--there are only two of us, but same.  I throw away more shredded cabbage cole slaw mix than you would believe.  Same for limes.  Oh and also mushrooms. 

 

Sigh.

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14 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Oh ditto for me--there are only two of us, but same.  I throw away more shredded cabbage cole slaw mix than you would believe.  Same for limes.  Oh and also mushrooms. 

 

Sigh.

Green onions...why don’t I just cut out the middleman and throw them out as I leave the store?!

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7 minutes ago, lindag said:

Green onions...why don’t I just cut out the middleman and throw them out as I leave the store?!

 

Stick them in a mug with some water (and top it off every day or 3), and give them a little light, they'll last and grow longer than you would expect!  (this is coming from someone whose thumb is the opposite of green!)

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56 minutes ago, Arey said:

Do things  really count as leftovers when you are cooking things with the intention of getting more than one meal out of them?.

As a senior citizen cooking for one, I try to avoid wasting food, but it's difficult. 

They are planned-overs!

 

 Same problem here.   In order to get a good variety of fresh produce I invariably buy too much of it.

Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

They are planned-overs!

 

 Same problem here.   In order to get a good variety of fresh produce I invariably buy too much of it.

 

 

Yes Farmers Markets can be enablers... I have arrived at a 4 day rule. If I took the time to buy great produce - hello - don't waste it. So I cook it!  Not for a dish per se but it is ready to go. Zukes get an olive oil rub and a broil for example. Those green onions (which are not cheap unless you are in a Korean market) - get grilled/broiled as well. It opens up possibilities AND worst case hello freezer which does not work for raw.

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I too have a problem managing fresh produce for just myself. I used up the last of the heart of Romaine lettuce from my last grocery order yesterday, but threw out for collection tomorrow most of a head of cauliflower.

 

Tonight's dinner was inspired by @CantCookStillTry and @liuzhou's descriptions of stuffed hot peppers. I took the last four large jalapenos, split lengthwise and hollowed out, being careful to use gloves and a melon baller this  time. Stuffed with lightly cooked hot pork sausage and minced onion mixed with cream cheese and baked for 20 minutes in the CSO. This was a very tasty meal and another way I can persuade myself to eat meat. It's low carb too for those of you observing that. I promptly ruined that aspect by having a nice stack of homemade blueberry pancakes from the freezer for dessert, though. :D

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3 hours ago, Shelby said:

Oh ditto for me--there are only two of us, but same.  I throw away more shredded cabbage cole slaw mix than you would believe.  Same for limes.  Oh and also mushrooms. 

 

Sigh.

 

Sigh here too.  As we speak I am drinking my last lime.

 

If I'm feeling energetic dinner may be store-bought dried spaghetti.  Or it could be a can of Progresso minestrone.

 

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I'm seriously into planned-overs. Anything I make in a pot or roast in a sheet pan does double duty on purpose. Since I am the designated cook that gives me a day off, or at least an easy day. If something is good I'm thrilled to have it as is or re-purposed the next day. If it isn't so good my husband will eat it all anyway so as not to waste it. He's very frugal that way! What I don't like left over is seafood of any kind, so I'm careful not to over-buy. Also sustainable wild local fish now costs an arm and a leg, so that's an easy decision. 

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16 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

iSi?

 

I will let @JoNorvelleWalkerexplain better later, 'cause I do not have one, but it's a contraption (kind of expensive) that can dispense stuff like whipped cream. I think it works on pressure and injected gas cartridges under even more pressure. Those who have them do a lot of interesting things with them. I really don't understand how they work either, so it would be good to get a knowledgeable explanation.

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