I had an Epiphany while making PB&J Sandwiches for lunch. As I stood there staring at the pile of wasted bread crusts (the kids do not like to eat the crust), I thought this is almost two and a half slices of bread about to be thrown into the garbage. My mom always told us to eat our crusts, because it makes your hair curly. It was a saying passed down from her father who loved the crust best of all. “Back in my day…” untouched food on the plate usually elicited a comment like “eat your greens, there are starving kids in China.”Â Or something like “Waste not, want not.”
What I should have done, was cut the crust off before spreading the peanut butter and jelly and used it for croutons or bread crumbs. With stopping the waste on my mind, I saved the leftover half eaten bananas from breakfast and used them in a banana smoothie at snack time. I try to freeze extra fruit and vegetables before they go bad, especially blueberries and strawberries, which we use to make smoothies. Once I tried to compost from leftover food scraps, it ended in a fly-infested mess. Making a compost pile is not as easy as it sounds. Most of the time, I try to scale down recipes or try to turn a leftover into something else. Stephen refuses to eat leftovers and some leftovers are not as good the next day.
The teacher’s aide at Mason’s school uses up vegetables by throwing them in a pot for soup, or roasts them with some meat. My mom used to make her version of tootsie rolls from pie dough scraps. My brother told me about some friends of ours who continuously used the same enormous pickle jar by adding fresh mini cucumbers to the brine.Â Love Food Hate Waste is a site dedicated to helping the community become more mindful of what we throw away and how to use what we have. The Kitchn suggested using a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge. Every time they buy produce, they write it down. As it gets used up, erase it from the board. Also, write down any leftovers in the fridge.
A friend’s mom once asked me to help her make a menu using a list of food items. A college student at the time, I took great care to make sure every ounce of the food I picked would be used up. She laughed when she saw my final draft noting it looked boring. Where was the variety? I was thinking as a budget-minded college student, which is probably the mindset we should have when planning our meals. Planning meals around each other ensures we use every cent spent and it is less likely the food will go to waste. Every item has a purpose. It is just as important when making a shopping list to write down the exact amount of ingredients needed. Check the freezer, pantry and refrigerator first. Why spend the extra cash on something you already have. When planning a weekly menu keep in mind, if you like to eat out one or two nights a week, only plan dinners for five or six nights.
I learned a valuable lesson during our last move. 1. It is easy to stockpile goods and 2. There are at least four to six meals hidden away in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.