Friday, Food Waste

I let the refrigerator stocks run low this week. That meant that I had used up a lot of the vegetables we bought last week. At this time of year, meat goes straight to the freezer, if it isn’t going to be used within twelve hours. I had made a good, spicy vegetable soup that incorporated frozen vegetables and herbs in the freezer, and served it with homemade bread twice this week. I have just a couple of frozen meals yet in the freezer, and I expect to use them in the next week.

One thing I haven’t done is made stock from the old turkey carcasses in the freezer. It’s about time, or time to toss them. Frozen stock or broth keeps well, better than its original meat or bones. I’ve been a bit lazy about this – it’s the whole planning issue, getting the frozen bags upstairs, into the big kettle, herbing and spicing it, and simmering it down. The worst part for me is disposing of the remains. This time I am just going to strain out the broth and toss whatever is too big to pass through the colander. I really should do it on a Saturday since the trash is picked up on Sunday night.

We have much less trash than we used to. Eight months ago, it was a full bin plus a bag on the curb and both recycling boxes. Now it’s maybe a bag and one box; there’s a little more this week since some old paper is going out. I’m pleased with this. Not only is the food waste almost nil, but the trash is more than halved in volume. My personal goal is zero waste, no trash bin, and almost no recycling – which is much harder to do.

My newest project is to find or develop a no-plastic freezer container. Some people use glass jars, but this is a temporary solution, since the jar will have air space, making it no more effective than the little plastic boxes. My parents, years ago, used to freeze blanched vegetables in a coated cardboard container, rather like a Chinese take-out box. Does anyone know if these are available?

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19 thoughts on “Friday, Food Waste

  1. I don’t know of any containers, but interested to see if anyone does. I was going to say that I understand the dealing with making the stock. I have been so busy that just to keep my stock of stock ( haha) steady I just boil the bones for 3 hours or more and I don’t put anything else in it. Only the carcasses that are free range do I use. I add the herbs and veggies later according to the dishes. I figure the most important part is getting the good stuff in the bones into the broth. We still find it gives a much richer taste to our food. I then, just strain it through a colander ( don’t use cheesecloth for it anymore) and then we pour into some ice cube trays we keep just for stock because I can never get that greasiness out of them. Then, after freezing them, we bag the cubes in gallon bags and mark the type of stock. I know, but plastic, plastic, plastic!!! Just asking, but wouldn’t a cardboard type of container allow freezer burn?
    Joanie

    • I’ve got an idea for making them. May have to coat the paper with paraffin – there’s a use for candle stubs! I’m not willing to sacrifice my beeswax for the freezer, though.

  2. magdalena,

    The turkey frames sound like they’ll make good stock; if you’ve the time, roast them off first – makes for fabulous results (Nothing better than roast chicken stock made from the RC frames…plus carrot ( tops and tails included) parsnip (same), celery, leaves and stalks, onion, herbs… very good. We don’t have a compost here so disposing of the vegetable waste from stock always irks me somewhat; I’ve half a mind simply to dig a hole in the bark chips out the front (we have a very deep front garden with the house set back from the street. When reading one of Mrs. Beaton’s compleet household management books transcribed for the internet, she mentioned the ‘rag and bone’ man who would call house to house at regular intervals to collect these items ( bones cannot be composted) and getting rid of cloth can be a nuisance. Pity we can’t have ‘rag and bone’ recycling added to the present variety of recycling services available from district to district. I wonder if the eco-boffins have considered it.

    As for no plastic freezer storage solutions, pyrex freeze-friendly dishes and containers with plastic lids are available; yes; I know its still plastic, but there’s less of it. Don’t know about waxed cardboard…if its still used for milk and orange juice containers, as it is here in aus, perhaps waxed cardboard containers are available from wholesalers who sell to the restaurant industry (however, they may or may not sell directly to the private purchaser). Some folk have concerns about the composition of wax used to liquid-proof these containers as it is oil based. We can’t escape the stuff!! Post war, it has crept into virtually everything – 97% of ‘everything’ as it happens.

    Re food waste, we’ve had a good week here, throwing out only a commercially manufactured tart family brought over for morning tea yesterday (my husband finished off the rest of them, taking leavings to work and sharing it with his cohorts); having two dogs allows us, within reason, no sugary, no onion etc. to make use of leftovers where there is not quite enough for an extra meal.I foresee some waste though, having bought a box of salad mix (it is either buy a huge lettuce (my perpetual lettuce in the garden has died in the tail, unfortunately), or buy a by weight smaller volume of pre-packaged leaves. (one consolation, these are grown locally within the Sydney basin). Currently, there’s a show airing here called ‘jamie Oliver’s food revolution’ where he has gone into a US mid-western town where the health and eating habits are frightening, trying to intruduce healthy cooking and eating from the schools to the general population. Oh my goodness!! To see what we’ve done here in Aus, take a look (search it out on google) at Stephany Alexander’s kitchen garden scheme that has been rolled out in schools within Victoria, (I think it has also gone interstate). Wow! Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time and the readers’ time.

    peace and blessings,

    Sarah.

    ;

    • I love soups and soup stock, but I’m feelign alittle discouraged because I made a wonderful spicy vegetable soup, served it, and was then told that vegetable soup was almost in the same category as beans! (Strongly disliked.) Maybe I’m just little Miss Natural and driving my friends crazy with all this good food stuff! I want to be careful about what we eat, but we have little control over it right now. I’m just going to make soups and such for the two of us and freeze them for lunches or dinners alone.

      • What you will find is that people who are used to eating crap have ruined their palettes for actual food flavors. They think that grease, salt, and sweet is what things are meant to taste like. I’m not being insulting, I’m speaking from experience. Getting used to eating horrible food is like being a smoker – when you make the switch you have to rediscover what food tastes like; what vegetables taste like, what fruit tastes like, what meat tastes like, etc. People who’ve made the change would have appreciated your soup.

        At my last Meeting (Society of Friends) a Friend brought a banana nut bread for a simple snack. I had a sliver of it and was pleasantly surprised to find it tasted like bananas and nuts! I asked her about her recipe and she said it was Joy of Cooking with about half the sugar the recipe called for. She had the same observation as thee; people who were not used to eating well did not find her banana nut bread to their liking.

      • I cut back the sugar in most recipes. Here in Canada we have the famous tim Horton’s “double double” two spoons of sugar and two servings of cream in a regular sized coffee! It’s like drinking syrup. Artificial sweeteners have just compounded the problem, makign people expect a sweet taste even if there are no calories.

  3. Hey, do you have a lot of friends?? Wow, I am thrilled for you. I expect they already know what a natural girl you are. You are feeling weak, I think, comparing to the tenor of your previous posts way back. When you know something is right it is right. Now people are not bad because they don’t just love veg soup, but they should appreciate it anyhow, and to say anything given to us obviously for our health ( from God) is a drag or whatever like beans are ( also good for us) is simply wrong.
    Joanie

    • I suppose par tof my problem is that I am a long way from home, and I know few people out here. I don’t mind that someone doesn’t like my cooking, but I had a mandate to save money in the kitchen and that’s a good way to do it – eat less meat. So I am puzzled by what I am supposed to do now!

    • “Beans beans they’re good for your heart…” I was turned on to black beans by a vegetarian friend who just looked at me askance when I told her I didn’t like black beans (see my reply above about ruining your palate with bad food). Now I cook them all the time. I soak them for a couple of hours with a little lemon juice and then throw them in the crock under whatever seasoned meat I am cooking. Finished off in the dutch oven with that same meat they are BRILLIANT. By themselves I’ll crock them with chicken stock (that I made) and a sliver of salt pork.

  4. Magdalena,

    I’m with you re vegetable soup, beans etc, though hubby takes the view shared by some of your household :-0

    Here’s a good bean dish that may (or may not) win you some converts…

    1 cup dried harricot beans or any fresh bean if in season (creamy and delicious) (Works with fresh bolotti beans; you’ll nead a freezer-bag full of pods to give you enough)
    1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stick celery, olive oil for sauteing,
    1 cherizzo sausage, 1 cup good smoked bacon pieces (cut from spec, gammon, panccetta or preschuto), plenty of thyme, 3/4 cup white wine, good tablespoon or two tomato paste enough stock of choice to simmer beans and veg.

    Saute sausage and bacon till cooked. Add veg, finely chopped (oh, and as many cloves garlic as liked), saute a few minutes, add beans (if using dried, pre-prepare normally), wine and stock and simmer until beans are tender. Add tomato paste at this stage (tomato inhibbits beans cooking; salt from bacon/cherizzo does a bit also, but its not too drastic). Add tomato paste at the end, more freshly minced garlic and some fresh parsley. Serve with crusty bread, mashed or roast potato, or mashed parsnip. This will give four serves. It freezes fairly well.

    Blessings,

    Sarah.

  5. Here is my dilemma. A bit of background. My HbA1c is 6.4. This is a measure of your blood glucose over a 3 month period. Healthy is 5, diabetic and well controlled is about 7. 6.4 is 1/10 of a point away from pre-diabetes. So I’ve been watching what I eat, am trying to lose weight, etc. Anyway, so I’ve been fighting a staph skin infection and as a consequence am on some pretty heavy Prednisone for a few days. Prednisone makes your blood sugar levels go up and mine has gone from a fasting BG of 76 or so (very good) to a fasting BG of 107 this morning! (not diabetes, but not good). This means the bananas I just bought, the corn I just bought, have to go. I won’t be eating them while on the steroid. Please tell me what to do with them. I think I can freeze the corn, but can I freeze the bananas and make some future banana bread with it?

    • Yes, to both. Blanch the corn before freezing, then seal airtight. Bananas can be mashed and frozen, or freeze whole. They’ll look horrible, but once defrosted, you can use them jsut like any mashed banana.

      How is a steroid going to solve the staph infection? Is it to control the skin involvement? I will do some research to see if there is something natural and herbal that you might use as well, without it affecting that blood sugar.

  6. The steroid was necessary because when your body has an allergic/histamine reaction it can become hypersensitive to irritants and you get caught in a cycle of reaction after reaction. Steroid stops the hypersensitivity. It is beneficial when used correctly. I’ve been monitoring my blood glucose throughout the day;
    Fasting am. 107mg/dL
    still fasting 2 pm 93 mg/dL now I was really paranoid since I hadn’t eaten anything the night before.
    Ate at 3 pm fried chicken breast and cottage cheese (too paranoid for any carbs). Postprandial (2 hours after beginning the meal) 89 mg/dL. Very good, but of course I had no carbs.
    Ate at 7:54 pm an actual meal – sliced chicken breast, tomato (from the garden YUM), onion, cheese, on wheat bread with butter (the light Olive oil stuff) and brown mustard. Had desert of 1/2 a banana. Postprandial (2 hrs after beginning meal) 110 mg/dL. Still good.

    So I think the high blood glucose follows the morning dose and then everything goes back to normal providing I don’t cram a bag of sweets or something.

    I’m so competitive, even with myself. I’m supposed to have a follow up A1c test in August and I think these high numbers over the period of Prednisone will mess with my numbers. I think I’d want to postpone to November maybe, or at least do a second follow-up 3 months after the pred.

    • The doctor will take the prednisone into account. did you get a good antibiotic for the staph infection? Try adding raw garlic to your diet after you are off the antibiotic. I put in salad dressings. Can you take echinachea? Sound slike you will need to build up your immune system again.

      • Echinacea would be a good addition to my supplements. I cook with garlic but my salads are simple and dressed only with a little salt (on balance with spicy West Indian fare simple salads are quite tasty).

        It’s funny you mention the fake sweeteners. People don’t realize that the sweet flavor (be it real or synthetic) short circuits your appetite and makes you eat more. This is likely why we’ve seen a correlation even between diet soda consumption and obesity. Today I was riding my bicycle in the park for exercise and came across a woman walking for exercise….carrying a bottle of Pepsi. Sigh.

      • Raw garlic works best. As for fake sweeteners – I’d forgotten that. If I cook with sugar – and I do – I at least use real stuff. I don’t like the really sweet sodas so I don’t drink much of it.

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