A beautiful life is never perfect – I have this sign hanging in my dining room. And it is a good reminder for me, especially when seeing all the “beautiful” posts on social media, to realize that behind all those pretty photos might be an imperfect (but still beautiful in its own way) life.
This photo of cutting a cabbage in my garden got lots of positive response when we posted it on social media. But what the eye couldn’t see when I was cutting it, was the spot hidden underneath the cabbage that I had to cut off before we could eat it. Much would go to waste if I only prepared the “perfect” produce from our garden. Just because it might be misshapen, have a blemish or two, (or heaven forbid – an insect) doesn’t mean it should go to waste. It still has the same nourishing health benefits. All you need to do is ignore the shape, cut out the blemish or if needed, wash with a little vinegar and salt (see page 66 for our Insect Vegetable Wash recipe).
Waste also comes in many other forms. It’s estimated that 25-40% of food grown in the United States will never be consumed. It’s not just passing over the “blemished” produce in our gardens, at the farmers markets, in our CSA boxes or at the grocery store. We are all contributing to food waste without even realizing it. Here are some tips to help reduce food waste in our homes.
- Organize Your Refrigerator and Keep it Clean – I need to work on this. I find leftovers hidden behind things that I end up tossing. It’s easier to see things when your fridge is not “overstocked”.
- Meal Plan – Buy and make what you will eat that week. Meal plan according to the portions you will eat. Some meals are best eaten when prepared and don’t keep well as leftovers. And it’s very disappointing to be scraping half-eaten food off plates.
- Preserve It – Can, freeze and dehydrate produce when it’s in season. Buy in bulk or when it’s on sale. Many times I buy “seconds” that aren’t picture perfect to make my salsa. It saves money and is just as nutritious.
- Use All the Scraps – Celery tops, stalks of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage cores are some of the kitchen scraps that can be chopped and added to your stock and broth.
- Compost It – Save fruit and vegetable peels, potato skins, coffee grounds, egg shells, and remaining kitchen scraps (not meat) to make compost that adds nutrients back into your garden soil.