June 5, 2009

It's that time again...

... Friday. And that means it's time to talk about food waste. I really hate to go from that cute photo of Kristen to this ugly photo of rotten food, but we must move forward...

Our waste for the week: one onion and half a grapefruit. The theme here is produce, but a specific type of produce. The kind that usually lasts so long I don't pay much attention to it. I keep onions in the pantry for weeks, and I can keep a grapefruit in the refrigerator for weeks as well.

I think my love affair with the more exotic items in our CSA delivery caused me to forget about the lowly onions and grapefruit that are some of the staples of our diet. It was hard to go back to that other grapefruit half when I had cherries and plums and peaches to devour. And the onion: I usually have at least a couple for cooking, and this one must have been there a long time while I chose another because you might not be able to tell, but it's REALLY rotten- black and soggy. I've never had that happen before.

So, all my focus on kale and chard was the issue this week. I'll try to do better next week. But still, this wasn't too bad. I doubt if I'll let an onion rot again.

Also, I did something differently because of my new commitment to wasting less food. When we had friends over for veggie burgers on the grill, I put the buns on the grill and got distracted and in just a few minutes they were a little too browned (almost burnt). I put them aside to toss, and then realized they'd be fine for croutons or any other recipe that calls for bread crumbs, etc. So I put them in the freezer. Now the challenge is to actually USE them. But at least I didn't automatically throw them in the trash.

How did you do this week? Have you joined The Frugal Girl's waste-no-food challenge? Check out her blog to find out the details. You'll definitely save money. And if you want to learn more about how you'll also be doing your own small part for the environment, check out Wasted Food to get all the facts. Please leave your thoughts, suggestions, ideas, and questions on all things food-related in the Comments section.


calimama @ compactbydesign said...

Either that's a seriously large onion or it's been a long time since I've paid attention to a grapefruit. I thought that was half a lemon. I remember years ago when I moved to Florida I was shocked to see lemons the size of grapefruits and grapefruits the size of...I don't know what, but they were huge! I still think of them that way I guess.
Make croutons this weekend. They store great in an airtight container and are so nice to have with an easy salad. If you wait, it will get too hot and you won't want to turn on the oven!

Non Consumer Girl said...

You have done so well this week with the Food Waste Challenge. I've just finished cleaning out my pantry today and am ashamed of the food I've had to through out as it was way out of date. There is a lot to be said for meal planning and shopping accordingly.

Non Consumer Girl said...

That should read "throw" out!

stephanie said...

hey Ang - here's a link to a story in Marie Claire about FREEGANS :


They go one further than what you guys are doing and know when the groceries throw out food that is at the "sell-by-date" (but still perfectly good) and grab all the usable food items.

Extreme, but maybe they will help start a trend where the groceries and restuarants also take on a "no-waste" policy. Or at least figure out a way to donate that edible food, instead of putting it in the garbage....


Kate Sommers said...

I have a different viewpoint with the leftover produce.It's natures way to compost everything,even our bodies turn to compost when we're done using them.So if we're eating close to nature...what grows in the ground from seed, then the waste can be recycled back into the earth to produce more of what grows.
And when you're getting your produce direct from the farmer you've pretty much cut down on pollution from using fuel and packaging.
I don't think the lemon tree feels guilty from dropping too many lemons to the ground..it just recycles the nutrients back into production.I guess my point is, the closer we live to natures plan and eat more from the orchard and garden and compost our waste the more we sustain the environment.
Putting the onion and lemon in a hole in the ground could feel rewarding rather than wasteful.

Angela said...

Calimama- That's so funny- they do look out of proportion! Those grapefruits are from my neighbor's tree and they're not very big. And it's a pretty large onion. yes, I should make croutons this weekend- I mean, I will make croutons this weekend!

Non Consumer Girl- Cleaning out the pantry is good, because you'll be starting over. It's amazing how much stuff can accumulate in there. I'm convinced I've been able to save money and waste less food by keeping an amount I can keep track of in the pantry (and actually using it sometimes!)Now you've got a fresh slate!

Stephanie- Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. I have heard of Freegans- it makes me think of Dumpster Divers, and I would never go that far (except if I were starving of course). But it's a good thing- trying to use the food, and especially on the institutional level, where it really makes a difference. Check out the Wasted Food blog- his mission is to educate people about the outrageous food waste problem in this country.

Kate- I agree entirely. I really don't feel bad about wasting produce, but I'd still rather use everything I buy. Part of the project is to get used to how much we actually need and use. But as soon as I'm composting (sometime this summer) I'll hardly feel bad at all. Especially a half grapefruit or piece of rotten fruit here and there. Thanks for your viewpoint!

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs Green said...

love the fact you salvaged the burnt buns for reuse. I tend to scrape off the burnt bit with a sharp knife - it just flakes off and then with a strong flavoured topping, you usually get away with any carbon taste LOL!

Garlic might be useful in this instance ;)

Angela said...

Mrs. Green- Thanks for coming by! I love your website and think you and your family are doing a great service. Putting a spotlight on the issue is the way to raise awareness, the first step to any change.

In my opinion, garlic is useful in almost any instance!