Week 2 is done!!
So far, not bad. I only bought items that we needed for the week, and we’re doing a great job of using them up. I didn’t actually make my goal for the week – to start a freezer bag of veggie ends to use in the making of a broth. Boo! I really didn’t have many ends of things in the dishes I made… so no real need for it yet.
Goal #2: Make some room in the crowded freezer by using stuff up!! I already started with some rhubarb that I got from my mother-in-law’s garden, then froze. I’m also trying to think of something yummy to do with the ends of artisan bread (any good recipes, guys?). Those guys are taking up way too much space in my freezer!!
This week’s wins:
- Bag o’ frozen rhubarb – I’ve had this for around 2 years, and was worried it would taste like death freezer burn. It was just fine! So I used it to make a nice sauce for my crêpes. I did end up putting two portions of sauce back into the freezer, but these are two really narrow freezer bags that take up MUCH less space than the big bag of frozen rhubarb.
- Remembered to use up the tomato paste – you know how sometimes you only need a spoonful, and then you put the rest in the fridge and you find it a couple of weeks later growing its own ecosystem? We nicely avoided this by using the rest in a pizza sauce.
- The rest of a lonely mozzarella ball was also put to good use on the pizza. We prefer stronger cheeses, so sometimes its hard for us to use up mozzarella before it turns into a bouncy ball. Another good use of leftover mozzarella is in a cheesy broccoli soup.
This week’s casualties:
- A wee bit of what was once an edible rind from a soft cheese that was incredibly ripe (the rind gets really bitter when it’s overripe… so I had to sacrifice it). The middle was still tasty, though.
- Some once delicious MIL-made strawberry jam that has seen better days. These things hide in the dark corners of our fridge, until one day we dig them up and wonder how they stayed there so long. I’m not sure how this one moved here with us… and now it comes back to haunt me in a month where I’m trying not to throw out food.
Week 1 is done!!
I think I haven’t done too badly, but it’s just the beginning, yes?
I have been trying to plan out meals, buy just what we need and then use it. I also had a “use it up” pasta sauce that made good use of an interesting combination of leftover items.
I’ve also decided that I would do my best to use as much of an item as possible. For example, we regularly cut off the ends of broccoli and the whole peel of a lemon once juiced. I’ve already started zesting all of the lemons before I juice them (having some dried lemon zest on hand has been great!) and next week, I will start a freezer bag for veggie ends, to be made into an aromatic broth sometime in the future.
Some challenges encountered this past week:
- Cilantro – can only buy this in a big bunch, and we only use a little bit. To our advantage, we planned two meals that make use of fresh cilantro. But what to do with the rest?? Fresh cilantro is always best, but I did freeze some and dry some. The only stuff we threw out were the handful of stems that had already started to go bad — it goes fast, so there was really no preventing it!
- Spinach – I used it up, but there were a few baby leaves that were already on their way out.
- 1 -2 tbsp cut off pastry dough from a recipe I did — it just made more dough than I needed, and I couldn’t think of anything to do with it.
- 1-2 tbps Some sourdough starter that went funky
This month, I will be participating in Crunchy Chicken’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Since I haven’t had the guts to try one of her challenges yet, I thought this would be a good one to start with. Blogging about it will hopefully encourage me to keep up with it, and really take a look at what we’re wasting.
The two-second overview: to really look at what edible food we throw out over the course of the month. This doesn’t include inedible food waste, like coffee grounds, banana peels, or eggshells. To get a sense of the bigger picture, please see the writeup on Crunchy Chicken’s blog.
I honestly think we do pretty well with food – we buy quite a lot of fresh produce, and usually use it up before it spoils. I know we have trouble with some fruits and veggies — seriously, limes do not keep well and avocadoes are a big question mark for me. It’s hard to know how long we have to eat them – but I am learning.
Part of this challenge isn’t just to monitor what you throw out, but to make a real effort to limit what you throw out. This involves some thinking and planning – only buy what you need, keep an eye on the freshness of your food, and use it or freeze it before it spoils.
I hope that some of you will consider taking this challenge with me. If you do, and you are blogging about it, please leave the link to your blog in the comments! I’d love to see how you do!