Food waste Friday

Filed in Blog by on April 24, 2009 23 Comments
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food-waste-fridayI think I’ve stolen a title from Kristen at the frugal Girl, but I like it, I like her and hopefully she likes us all so she won’t mind. And it is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery!

You might remember I began the week with an emergency food waste week. After having to throw out my personal food waste mountain into the compost heap, I was determined to do better.

Well I did do better. Not perfect, but good enough for my first week of getting back into the swing of things.

Nothing ended up in landfill, but 1/2 a bag of rocket was composted (we blame the great British weather for that. On Sunday we were in vest and shorts and by the evening we had to throw a few oak logs on the fire and couldn’t get warm enough).

There was also some fodder for the birds – some cheese bread that got left and went hard, ditto a bit of bread and some fruit cake.

Salad is a difficult one. Mr Green is mr salad, but you know how it is; once it’s opened, it needs using. If you’re not in the mood to masitcate like a rabbit then it’s gone yellow by the next day.

With regards to the cake and bread, that simply requires better management. I need to make friends with my freezer, keep an eye on the baking tins to keep accounts of what is in there and offer cake for pudding every day until it’s gone!

Overall, I’m pleased. I’ve got back into the habit of planning meals around the ‘fridge contents and I’m looking forward to an even better result next week.

How about you? Are you managing to reduce your food waste? What issues do you face?

If you’ve blogged about food waste this week, why not pop along to Kristen’s blog and join in with her Mr Linky merriment on her Food waste Friday slot? In exchange for your troubles, you’ll get pride of place on her blogroll for a week!

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 (23)

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  1. Just a thought with the cake, could you not cut into portions then freezez so many as individual slices which can be got out and thawed fairly quickly.

    This also works treat with muffins.

    I do this when I have baking session then variety of cake can be brought into the equation.

  2. John Costigane says:

    Kristen’s attitude is amazing, Mrs Green, and should help a lot of families. Growing your own salad can be a useful way and I intend to investigate the possibilities, outdoor and indoor.

    The beauty of a group of use growing our own is that we can jointly deveop best practice for ourselves and others. In future years becoming more perfect in our techniques.

    Maybe you should run a competition, serious and jokey, to encourage full participation.

  3. You most certainly may borrow my Food Waste Friday title! lol

    I have the post up now, so you can leave a link to your food waste photo. I’m just a little late today!

  4. Carole Blake says:

    I’ve got quite a busy week next week, there’s something on every day after work, commitments etc, but if I have a big rummage around in my freezer, I reckon I can probably live off what is in there, even with me being veggie.

    So that’ll be my target for next week. To try and clear up some stuff that’s probably been in there for several months already, if I can figure out exactly what it is, my freezer labelling skills not being too good!


  5. Karin says:

    Have you thought of growing rocket? It is easy to grow and can be grown in a pot or tub if necessary. I think it has a long growing season, too, which is why it is suddenly so popular. Growing it yourself, small amounts at time, should increase the likelihood of eating it before it’s past its best.

    I don’t like rocket, it’s too strong for my taste, but I have been growing lettuce in tubs for a few years now. They do need regular watering.

  6. Poppy says:

    We did a food waste Thursday. The chips that didn’t get eaten on Wednesday along with the remains of a pizza that DH had on a works lunch!

  7. Compostwoman says:

    We bake cake, bread etc, then slice and freeze so as to only remove and eat what is needed……

    But yes salad ( even if you GYO), goes yellow…..

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: it’s a really good idea, Maisie and another one to add to my list – there is a theme her of organising my freezer and my life. Thank you for the idea. How long does a large muffin take to defrost?

    @John Costigane: Hi John, we have attempted salad in the past, but get a lot of cats and have very tough, clumpy, clay soil. It’s never been successful, plus our ground is in such bad condition with weeds, we lose everything.
    Large pots are probably the ideal, but then I feel bad about all the water they need.

    @Kristen @TheFrugalGirl: Thanks Kristen – I’ve add our link to your site and it’s lovely to read the other comments and see how some of your other readers are doing too. You had a great week with zero waste – well done!

    @Carole Blake: That’s a great idea, Carole. I’m on a declutter mission and will be trying to live off things found lurking in the cupboards.

    @Karin: Hi Karin; yep, I think I covered this in my comment to John. We should grow lambs lettuce too as it’s an all-year round crop. Maybe I should just get some pots and get on with it instead of procrastinating. We have all the herbs in place – we like herbs in salad, but no leaves!

    @Poppy: I bet hubby loved his lunch Poppy and was the envy of his friends LOL!

    @Compostwoman: Another lovely organised woman; just like Maisie – thanks Compostwoman, that is what I should do too.
    Which salad leaves do you grow?

  9. I take muffins and slices of cakes out in the morning and put in the lunch box its is defrosted by lunchtime approx 4 hours later.

    The only thing that wouldn’t freeze very well is a cake with glace icing on, butter cream freezes fine.

  10. Watch me blush as I tell you of the quarter loaf of bread that I “discovered” in my kitchen last week. I hadn’t been well over the recent school holidays and food\kitchen organisation was the last thing on my mind. The warm weather caught us out and Mr A mentioned that some slices of bread had started to go mouldy. Being guardian of all things that end in Bin (including Bokashi Bin) I asked him to put it aside for me to check later. Problem was, I then forgot, fell asleep, Meanwhile it fell behind one of the baskets in the kitchen. It was out of sight-out-of-mind. And honestly when I was sorting out the kitchen, it wasn’t a few slices of bread I discovered it was a bag of mould. Not even the Bokashi can deal with that…so sadly it’s the first item of food sent to landfill in ages.

    On the subject of salad Mrs G, have you tried Cut-and-come again lettuce? We’re giving it a go this year. Hopefully it will be a success. We grow our salad leaves in pots and find the water butt comes in handy to help justify the regular watering they need. 😀

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Thanks for the tip, maisie – I’m very unlikely to make glace icing, so no worries with that!

    @Almost Mrs Average: Uh oh, mrs A – it’s horrible when something like that happens!
    In your honour, Mrs A, I planted some salad yesterday in a large container. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

  12. Carole Blake says:

    @Mrs Green: Regarding things needing water, there’s always a bit of cold water to run off before the hot water comes through. I collect this in a small watering can I have for all my indoor stuff, including my cut and come again stuff (which has grown wonderfully even with regular snipping).


  13. greenlady says:

    Can’t really add much to what the others have said. Containers are good for growing salad and you can even do this indoors. Best to sow a little at a time to have a continuous supply. As has been mentioned, there are all kinds of oddments of water that you can save up and use to water plants with – including washing up water, and also any water that you’ve used to cook veg in assuming you are not already using it for stock !

    I pretty much gave up buying bagged salad leaves years ago. I have the going off problem too as well as the packaging and other issues. Best to buy individual heads of different types of lettuce etc, they will keep better. Also salad does encompass a really wide range of veg/fruit/legumes etc raw and cooked, so sometimes its an idea to step away from the ” bowl of leaves ” concept ( tempting and tasty though this is ) and experiment 😀

    I also go with the divide up and freeze in portions way of thinking for baked goods. I actually need to declutter my freezer so I can start doing that again properly ! as well as saving waste it stops me from being such a greedy bugger too 😛

  14. Carole Blake says:

    @Mrs Green: Well, I had only one son to cook for tonight, but remembering my challenge to myself, I investigated the freezer and was (eventually) able to identify one portion of chilli con carne (made with meat so he could have that!) and one portion of vegetable stew which I could have. I did DS some rice as well.

    I also found some frozen soup which I can take to school tomorrow for lunch!!

    Wonder what we’ll have for dinner tomorrow? Freezer dinners are always such a surprise lol.


  15. rosie crawford says:

    re: fridge/freezer contents
    Amazed people don’t know what’s in stock. It’s easy. On the front of the fridge/freezer have a list of the contents.
    FRESH ( include dairy & all fresh veg)
    FREEZER (list in 4 colums) for each drawer as follows:
    no.of containers, type of container, no of meals, food
    1 square blue 4 chilli con carne (1 square blue container with 4 ptns of chilli con carne)
    when you’ve used something add it to the ‘TO BUY’ or ‘TO MAKE’ list (on the same sheet)
    I refresh the list weekly. It makes meal planning a doddle.

  16. Deb from Boston says:

    I’m a little late to chime in since I’ve been away chaperoning daughter #2’s girls crew team. Prior to the trip I told DD that I wouldn’t be cooking since we should finish up food in the fridge so not to spoil – she interpreted that to mean that we had to eat up all the ice cream in the freezer!

  17. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole Blake: That;s a good idea, Carole. We have a lot of chlorine in the water here, so I’d need to let it stand, but there is no reason why I couldn’t do that. your plants obviously grow ok with tap water? I’ve noticed a big difference between tap and rain.
    So glad the cut and come again salad is working for you 🙂

    @rosie crawford: you sound very organised Rosie; and I’m not as organised as that. I can see a system like the one you talk about would make things very easy, but it relies on all members of the household using it; I’m not sure that would happen. I have enough trouble getting them to put things in the right landfill waste box!
    Glad it works for you though; it’s something I aspire too 🙂

    @Deb from Boston: Sounds like your daughter enjoyed an ice cream fest then, Deb! Talk about taking you at your word LOL!

  18. Carole says:

    @Mrs Green: The other thing I do re watering plants is to use some of the used water from my tropical fish tank. When I do waterchanges, I fill up a big bucket with the used stuff and water all my houseplants with it. It has nitrates in it as the end product of the biological cycle that goes on in mature fish tanks and it a good plant food.


  19. Mrs Green says:

    Oh, great idea, Carole. I used to keep tropical fish – haven’t done so for some years now, but every now and then I get tempted to do it all again.
    How often do you have to do a water change?

  20. Carole says:

    @Mrs Green: Hi Mrs G, been away for the long weekend so just catching up!

    I do a 30% water change every two to three weeks depending on what my nitrate readings are. I’ve had this set up running for over three years now and everything is well settled.


  21. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole: Thanks for the info, Carole; that sounds pretty stress free. It’s good when the eco system supports itself.
    Do you leave lights and filtration on all night?

  22. Carole says:

    @Mrs Green: Hi again Mrs G,

    The lights are on a timer to prevent the tank having more than 10-11 hours of electric light a day. More than that will promote excessive algal growth (ie, the tank ends up looking very environmental [GREEN!] but I can’t see my fish).

    The filtration has to be on at all times as if it’s switched off, the lack of oxygen to the microbes that are dealing with fish waste would cause them to start to die off with negative consequences to the tank occupants!
    Filters are not needed in aquaria that have heavy planting and very light stocking, which is when they are more like an underwater garden with a few small ornamental fish for interest, rather than the other way around, with more fish than plants.

    I run two filters (one for backup) and two heaters (again, one for back up, but I have some very nice fish that are like real pets to me (people laugh when they hear me talking to them when I’m feeding them) and I would hate anything to happen to any of them due to an equipment break down. As it is, I used to love thunderstorms, but now if we have one I’m panicking because I’m worrying about powercuts etc.


  23. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole: Hi Carole – great explanations and ideas; thanks. I love that your fish are your pets. I broke down in tears when my first goldfish died! So I know how soon they develop their personalities …

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