Zero waste food challenge, day five

Filed in Blog by on October 17, 2008 20 Comments
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zero waste food challengeI have to say that yesterday was pretty uneventful. I’d made so many things with the leftovers, that we had meals of leftovers from the leftovers to use (if you catch my drift!).

This using up food lark is a bit like feeding the five thousand; more food just keeps appearing. It’s stretching my resourcefulness and ingenuity too, which I rather like.
Yesterday was pretty much a day off cooking for me – now there’s something to think about! Mr Green was back on his ‘let’s do the freezer’ idea with suggestions of ‘you could batch make chicken casserole, fish pie and soups, freeze them in individual portions, write a menu for the week and take each one out to defrost the night before.’

Well you know, that sounds like a great idea. A fabulous idea in fact, but I’m just well, not that organised.

Let’s say that it’s a long term goal, which I shall baby step my way towards over the next few weeks.

Yesterday we had rice pudding and fresh fruit for breakfast, with smoothies. It will be the same again today.

Little Miss Green was out for lunch and Mr Green grabbed a sandwich out, as we were later home than anticipated. I, however, was a good zero food waster and hung on until we got back to fry up some veggies and rice for lunch.

For tea, Mr Green had left over curry and gobi aloo and Little Miss Green tucked into chicken casserole which went down a treat.

There is still more cauliflower soup left for her today and she’s been asking me for steak, chips and salad after seeing it on a packet of sauce mix that I refused to buy. This will work out perfectly because there is half a bag of salad that needs using up.

I’m not sure what else we have in the fridges, I’ll take a look later, but it’s definitely slim on the ‘must use by today’ front.

I’ve noticed that our container in the kitchen for compost is needing emptying less frequently. This isn’t because we are eating less fruit and veg, it’s because I’m not throwing old things out. So there’s another bonus to think about on a wet, boggy day when we don’t have to fight our way down the garden to find the compost bin!


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (20)

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  1. I know what you mean about sliding your way to the compost on the cold, wet days. Mind you, I’ve noticed a big reduction in food waste going in the bin here since we got the hens. They love the plate scrapings that we used to chuck out.

  2. Naomi says:

    I don’t like going out to the compost bin all that often so I keep my indoor compost bin in the freezer. I was only going out every few days and the fruit flies were taking over so this was a great solution.

  3. Poppy says:

    I have a covered box made from the bottoms of a 4pt milk container and a 6pt container. Seems to do the job for us and I don’t mind the trips to empty it. I’m always fascinated by the huge numbers of worms. We have to bang the lid before we open it or all the ones that have gathered around the edge fall out…………. oops is that too much information for those that don’t like them. Sorry πŸ™ πŸ˜‰

  4. Naomi, that is a GREAT idea! I forgot to put my compost bin near the house before we seeded the back yard, and now I hate to walk over the newly sprouting grass to dump stuff into the compost bin. I think I’ll put my small container in the freezer for now and just take it out every now and then.

  5. Mrs G – you’re doing so brilliantly. I can sense your relief over the compost bin too, as I’ve seen how far you’ve got to walk. It might as well be in the next village, LOL. As the ladies say, it’s really helpful if you can keep it close, and that’s at least one advantage of my small garden, where my bin is about 10 steps away from my kitchen door. But even then, I often land Mr A with the job. Naomi’s freezer antics reminded me of when I stored all my compost stuff in the fridge when I was on hols, before bringing it all over to your house. With my lack of freezing skills, maybe I’ve at last found a great use for my freezer beyond storing frozen peas. LOL Anyway, have a great weekend ;-D

  6. It is amazing how hard it is to eat all the food you’ve bought.

    Our dinner last night used up two different bags of lettuce, plus a very strange yet decorative squash from a neighbor.

    We’ve almost have used up the peanut dipping sauce from a dinner last week. It was getting kind of hard, so I heated it up and stirred some milk into it. It was runnier than before, but it drizzled nicely over rice, gyoza and squash.

    I don’t think of myself as overbuying, yet I’m still wasting a small amount of food.

    -Katy Wolk-Stanley

    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Sarah, we have considered hens too, but I’m just not enamoured with the idea. I wouldn’t know where to put them in winter as the ground is so boggy I would be concerned about their health. I’ve heard they are great for food waste though.

    Naomi – I had never considered putting this in the freezer, that’s an awesome idea – thank you!

    Poppy, we seem to attract rats, flies and wasps in ours, not cute worms πŸ™ So Mrs A and Kristen, I considered the compost bin nearer to the house, but I’m not sure I would want to with that lot in there!

    Katy, you have hit the nail on the head with your comment “I don’t think of myself as overbuying, yet I’m still wasting a small amount of food”. That is what I am learning too. You don’t need to worry about putting your address in your comment; if you click on your name it automatically goes to your site πŸ˜‰

  8. Hi Mrs G,
    We have a fairly large garden and we’ve made a moveable but enclosed pen for our 3 – it’s 8′ long by 5′ wide by 5′ high. They’ll make the bit they’re on into a mud/bog garden and then in a couple of months we’ll shift them to be closer to the house for the worst of winter. They do have access to their house through the day and they can get underneath it too – for a bit of protection from the weather.
    Then in Spring they can move to a the veg patch behind the shed and I can reseed the parts of the grass they’ve scratched up for us and fertilised nicely. Then when the garlic is pulled they’ll go on that veg patch. And so on, moving them regularly.
    They seem to eat most things, including any slugs we can find, and the eggs they’re laying are just delicious.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Sarah, moving them around is definiately the answer isn’t it. How long does the ground take to recover that they have turned to mud? Does grass regrow, for example, or do you have to put more seed down?
    My friend’s chickens, don’t like slugs LOL! That’s what I want them for most of all (that and eating scraps and laying eggs of course πŸ˜‰ )

  10. Seeing as they’re still on the first patch, I have no idea how long it will take for the grass to recover. And as they’re currently on a bit that I want to convert into a veg bed next spring, I won’t be finding out! When they move they’ll be going onto an overgrown veg patch that I’ve not cleared yet, so again it doesn’t matter how much mess they make.

    However, the (ahem) *lawn* that was churned into mud by children is taking 3-4 weeks to show improvement and should be ok to be unfenced in another couple of weeks – but I think I might well leave it fenced off and out of bounds over the winter and release it in spring.

  11. Oh, they will be in a grass patch at some point and I’m expecting to have to level and reseed that one when they’re done.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Oh that’s ideal – using the chickens to prepare your veg patch. I hadn’t thought about that as a possibility. I wonder how long you leave them in one place before they need moving?
    Sounds like you are having fun learning about your new friends πŸ™‚

  13. We’re having loads of fun with them.

    They’ve been where they are for 2 weeks and almost all the grass is gone and they’re scratching in mud now. So we’re going to lay down some straw and shavings and we give them fresh stuff every day – veg peelings, weeds etc. But they’ll need moving sometime during Nov I think and that ties in with it getting cold and horrid and my not wanting to go right to the end of the garden to see to them, so they’ll be coming closer to the house.

  14. Mrs Green says:

    Blimey – it doesn’t take them long, does it? It looks like they might need moving monthly then and I can’t see grass recovering in that sort of time.
    Just keep the chickens in the kitchen, they’ll be warm and cosy then πŸ˜€

  15. The time of year doesn’t help as the grass isn’t actively growing – they do make a mess though. I’ll keep you posted as the year turns!

  16. Hi Mrs Green,

    Fin Carre chocolate bars from Lidl provide Zero Waste alternatives. They have Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Nut and Edel Bitter (dark) chocolate. Wrapping is paper/card with inner tinfoil.

    I spoke to the staff about their unique products. It seems to be a new range and I intend to fully support their Zero Waste Chocolate. It is good to enjoy it again after a long absence.

  17. Mrs Green says:

    Hey John, great to see you again and thanks for the heads up on the new arrivals at Lidls. We’ll take a look next time we are in there and see if they have arrived South of the border πŸ™‚

  18. Hi Mrs Green,

    Anna’s business is still keeping me busy. Hopefully by December the biggest part will be completed.

    Lidl produced 2 new bars when I visited today, Whole Nut and Fruit & Nut 200g chocolate. The only problem was that tinfoil had been replaced by the aluminium/plastic/paper combination.

    I immediately phoned for clarification because there is nothing worse than a mixture of good and bad packaging. A letter came regarding Christmas chocolates with further consideration required by them. Patience will be needed while both matters are settled. The Zero Waste position was made clear to them in that our support would cease immediately if they made the wrong decision.


  19. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks for popping back in amidst all your busyness. What a shame about the packaging combination you found today. I find it odd that if they get one product well packaged, they don’t just do it for the rest. But then I guess I know little about marketing and what is involved in that.
    Let us know what their response is and best of luck with sorting Anna’s affairs. πŸ™‚

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