Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Waste Reduction

Americans in general waste a LOT of food. Usually the waste is in kitchens and homes of everyday folks. It's a big deal, and something where action by individuals can improve the situation immensely. Unlike other huge problems I won't mention.

The biggest challenge we face in my house is gracefully handling the fresh produce coming out of the garden every summer. It comes in waves, in bunches and, often it seems, right before a big trip. :-D Squash and green beans tend to be the worst, with lettuce close behind. We did lose some lettuce this spring, I had a gal at the farmers market who was desparate to get rid of lettuce and I took more than we could eat.

But, I'm happy to say, we've not let any green beans die in the fridge. Hubby can take some well deserved credit for that, as he stepped up to the canning plate and canned 4 quarts of green beans out of the garden. So far we've only had one of the summer squash go bad, and that one I think I harvested poorly and shortened it's little life. There's still a lot of summer left, but I'm really hopeful that we can keep up this streak and take full advantage of the bounty. I'm getting better about just getting it cooked, instead of waiting for that perfect recipe. We're both getting better about saying, "No, let's eat in and use up that bag of green beans."

It's not earth shattering, it's not going to save the world. But, when I know there are starving people in Africa, at least I can face myself in the mirror every morning knowing that I didn't leave perfectly good food to die in the fridge.

In related news, Riot 4 Austerity should be starting up August 1st. Sharon over at Casaubon's Book is leading the charge. I'm waiting anxiously for word on where the Riot will be living online.

1 comment:

Chile said...

I'm getting food in exchange for volunteering at an organic mini-farm. Often what I get is the damaged or older produce that won't sell. I don't have a problem with that since I'm great at salvage.

Today, for instance, I cut the bad spots out of half a dozen bell peppers, composted the one that had gone all the way bad, and grilled the rest to use in several different recipes.

Then I put the unblemished Asian eggplants in the oven to roast while heating water in the steamer for the blemished ones. I cut off the bad bottoms on a few, peeled all of the blemished ones, and cut them up to steam. Yes, you can steam eggplant! The roasted ones are delicious and may be used in sandwiches. The steamed ones will be used for a spicy Indian eggplant recipe this week.

You're right. It's not going to change the world, but it makes a difference in our own little corner of it. And if we can encourage others to do the same, and they do the same for others, and so on, then maybe we will change the world.