My Food Confession – Waste Not

As you know, the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. My obsession with food waste originates in my childhood. Being the youngest of five, it wasn’t unusual for my PB&J to be made with the heels of the bread. Ask my mother to remove crusts? Seriously?! We had respect for the food that my father worked two jobs to provide and the efforts it took for my mother to put on the table. What I attribute to a financial necessity was also traditional cooking methods of showing respect for food by not being wasteful. Saying Grace was a dinner ritual, but it also took time to be mindful and thankful. And then it was every man for himself…

Right now I have bits of tomatoes in the refrigerator from summer BLTs and salads. I am grateful for my neighbor’s bumper crop of tomatoes, but they are looking a little soft and wrinkled. Canning tomatoes in the summer heat doesn’t sound appealing. Making and freezing tomato sauce is an option. Or I can make a tomato chutney.

Tomato Chutney

tomato_chutney

Use all those tomato bits, soft and wrinkled toms to make a fancy “catsup”. If you don’t the 4-5 tomatoes for the recipe, supplement canned diced tomatoes. Tomato chutney will add a new flavor profile to your summer burgers. Add a blue cheese mayo and you have a burger that rivals the finest steakhouse. Tomato Chutney recipe

Chicken Stock in a Crockpot
Buying a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store saves a lot of time and is great in the summer months when you don’t want to cook. Stretch that chicken into another meal by making stock with the carcass. Put the carcass, a carrot, celery rib or leaves, 1/2 peeled onion, and 4 black peppercorns into the crockpot and cover with water. Cook on “low” overnight. Remove all the bits in the morning and strain through a cheesecloth. Yields 4 cups of beautiful stock.

Pickled Cucumbers
Leftover pickle juice? Peel and slice cucumbers and add to the reserved pickle juice. A yummy addition to salads and sandwiches.

Storing Ginger
Leftover ginger from your tomato chutney? Peel and slice the remainder and store in sherry in the refrigerator. It will keep nearly indefinitely in the refrigerator, and the ginger-flavored sherry can be used in stir fries, cocktails, and sauces.

ginger

An estimated 70 billion pounds of food is going to waste each year. To become part of the solution, see www.FeedingAmerica.org

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