Monday, August 1, 2011

Who Moved My (Four Pounds of) Cheese?

This week (August 1-7), I'm participating in the Four Pounds of Cheese experiment.  In this week, participants are asked to keep a photo log of the food waste that is produced in their kitchens.  This doesn't include bones and other "inedibles" but instead focuses on the food that could have been used somehow.  The objective is, of course, to note how we all are (each differently) wasteful, which will hopefully help those of us joining in to modify our kitchen practices to reduce that food waste.
Now, here's the rub - compost.  No, I'm not asking you to rub it into your skin (see my earlier posts about honey if you want to rub something into your skin).  Technically, it's waste.  Not everyone does - or even has the ability to - compost.  I guess we don't truly compost, either - like I mentioned before, we just save ours to give to my mother-in-law, who actually takes the items we have saved and composts them for her garden.  We're more like vegetable scrap hoarders (are you reading this, TLC?  New series idea?).
But I digress.
While our compost is certainly utilized for another reason, it's the same stuff that's thrown out with the trash in other households.  So is it something I need to take a picture of, or since I find another use for it, does it count like the bones, peels, and eggshells (I throw the peels and eggshells into the compost bin, actually)?  I kind of want to not take pictures of it, but I also don't want to feel like I'm "cheating" (there's the Hermione Granger in me, coming out).
The good news is that while driving home yesterday from my field trip to the bookstore, I had an epiphany - I save my shrimp shells and other bits in the freezer to make a stock.  Why the heck haven't I done that with my veggies?  I've been tossing onion bits and carrot ends in the compost bin when I could be saving them to make a nice stock.  SHEESH!  So I'm going to start doing that - starting yesterday with my zucchini ends and a little bit of onion that didn't make it into the pot.
I'm also hoping that this will help bring us to the tipping point at which we run out of room in our two freezers (we have a fridge in the garage, which is called "the beer fridge") and HAVE to get a new upright freezer.  But that's another blog post.
Check back in a week (I mean, just about this post - I'll be posting between now and then... I hope!) to see what I've learned about food waste in my own kitchen!


  1. Thanks for spreading the word! And I love the idea of freezing the veggie scraps for stock. Too often, I find that I use the compost bin as a crutch--"Oh, we can just toss that into the compost bin" rather than actually eating it before it turns brown and mushy. I think (hope) this project will have a big impact. I know I am already being more mindful about our waste.

  2. Bravo! Wasting food is something that pains me greatly. I was taught to value food by a grandmother who knew what it meant to be hungry because food was in such short supply. Placing your kitchen scraps in the freezer waiting for room in your compost is a very wise thing to do. In addition to having a ready supply of "greens" for your compost, freezing the fruit and vegetable scraps prior to composting, helps them break down faster. Bravo again for a great post! I am getting ready to publish my next blog post which is about conserving and re-purposing food.