October 30, 2009

Food Waste Friday continues...

No picture, but sadly, that doesn't mean we had a no-waste week. In fact, it was a pretty bad week. On 3 separate occasions, I threw a lot of food away. And because each case involved an "incident," I neglected to snap a photo. I'll go through them one at a time:

Incident #1: Last Saturday, after having such success with making dried black beans the week before, I tried to make dried fava beans for a dish I'd never cooked and was making for a friend's birthday. Without going into the details, dried fava beans were much more complicated than dried black beans, and I ended up with a "fava fiasco." I tossed the entire heap of mushy, dried out beans on the compost heap.

Incident #2 was also bean-related. On Monday, I made a vegetarian curry in the crockpot with potatoes, leeks, and what I thought were green beans from our CSA delivery. From the look on my husband's face at his first bite, I knew there was a problem. I went back and looked at the list of produce and found out we were eating flagolet beans, which were supposed to be peeled, and just the beans inside eaten, kind of like black-eyed peas. They were so stringy and dry and tough we had to pick them out, it was basically the husk we were eating. Another pile for the compost bin.

Incident #3 occurred when I opened a jar of pistachios (which had been transferred out of the Trader Joe's plastic) and found evidence of pantry moths. This was very disappointing because I've really been on top of the moth problem, making sure I put out the moth traps and also putting dried goods in jars. I've just started taking the step of freezing rice, flour, and other dried goods overnight and I hope that will help. I really hate to waste pistachios- they're not cheap!

Oh, and one other minor incident- I burned a piece of toast and threw it in the trash. A bad week for food waste, but we'll just keep plugging on. It wasn't really a matter of neglect so much as mistakes, and life. And trying new things. Because if I hadn't tried the dried beans, or the CSA, I wouldn't have wasted those items. But then I wouldn't be continuing to learn more about cooking and eating healthfully. So I think it's worth the sacrifice.

You can find out all you need to know about food waste, like why we should care, where it's all going, and how we can put a stop to it, by visiting Wasted Food. And if you want to join the Waste No Food challenge, head on over to The Frugal Girl.

How did you do this week? Tell us about in in the Comments section.


Alea said...

I say good for you for trying new things!

I have been wanting to do more experimenting with agave nectar in baked goods, but have been holding myself back because I don't want to waste food if it doesn't turn out. However, it would be worth a little waste, if I eventually find healthier ways of cooking our food.

steph said...

I, personally, don't think you have to count it as waste if you were TRYING to cook/eat it. Even in nature crops and vegetation are destroyed without human intervention, ya know? (I'm looking in your direction pistachio-eating moths).

Burnt toast is a bummer, moth-y pistachios are a shame and those beans in the shell were inedible, as prepared...but the earth will use all of that. Whether it's in your compost heap or a trash pile somewhere. Life is short! When there is wine, drink it! etc.
(And by that I mean cooking is half the fun and if you can afford to experiment, no need for guilt at trashing it if it doesn't pan out...pun intended)

Angela said...

Alea- I started using agave nectar recently- so far just in granola instead of honey and in smoothies. I'm sure it would work well for baking.

Steph- I hope I don't come across as "guilty" because that's not the point. And yes, whether it counts or not, that waste was worth it since I'm trying new things. I definitely agree that life is short and I drink wine every chance I get!

Castal said...

I just want to thank you for your link to the moth traps. I try to freeze things before putting them on the shelf, and that keeps those things from hatching. However, I have a hard time with the eggs that come in on things that should not have them (chocolate, cardboard boxes, gelatin, etc.). I am tired of these pests! We will see if they work (well really a different versions since I couldn't find the ones that you had, but something has got to be better than nothing!).

Keep up the good work!

Angela said...

Castal- The same company has another version they call their "bestseller" that I'm using now. I'm not sure if it works as well, but it's a lot better than nothing at all. And another friend found some moth traps at Lowe's if you want to try there. I think they were actually cheaper, but haven't heard her results yet.

You're the 3rd or 4th person who has mentioned the freezing trick, so I'm hoping that will help with some of the problem. Thanks for commenting!