Waste Not Want Not

When someone gives you produce or any kind of goods for that matter, always be gracious and thank them. When our neighbor gave us tomatoes we were just that, gracious. I knew that there wasn’t enough to can, so we had a few fresh and the rest that were sitting there I decided to put into a pot and cook down a little and make some stewed tomatoes without too many spices. If I leave out some spices, I can add the tomatoes to just about anything later on.

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I just added a little pepper, garlic and onion. When it was cool, I then bagged it up into a freezer bag and froze it. Sometime in the near future if I decide to make an Italian dish, soup or anything that I might want tomatoes in I can just pull it from the freezer and add it to it. The tomatoes didn’t go to waste and it really didn’t take me that long to cut them up and freeze them.

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We have had food given to us in the past and I always think of creative ways to use it up. Once when we were given a box of rice krispies cereal my first instinct was to make krispie treats because other than me no one at the time was a cereal eater. Then I decided to crush them up and use it as a “shake n bake” for chicken breasts. I just added some spices to kick it up a little and it was actually pretty good.

This time of year some people have gardens that are overflowing with potatoes, tomatoes, etc and are willing to give produce away. If you are given some, and cant eat it all fresh, preserve it. There is absolutely no sense in throwing food away. I always think about the people that lived through the Great Depression and how some people went hungry. If they were lucky enough to live on a farm, they could produce their own food and usually those were the people that never felt hunger. They did a lot of canning and drying of their food to preserve it. I am not one hundred percent sure, but I think that people are getting back into canning more. The other day when I had to go to Wal Mart, I was in the canning aisle and it was really picked over. In Aldi the tomato paste was completely wiped out, none was on the shelf.

I hope that we will never have another depression, but I also hope that people will realize that we shouldn’t be so wasteful with our food. Even if we take small steps, like my tomatoes above, it will lead up to bigger things. If we make a casserole, eat half and freeze half for another meal. DON’T throw any of it away! I have been known to take leftovers of different meals and mix them into a soup or stew. You can always add water to something to make it a soup, or take some liquid out to make it a stew.

I have heard of more and more food pantries opening up and I have also heard of some pantries hurting and needing donations. I am not sure if we are hurting that bad or if some people just always have their hand out and can’t or won’t help themselves. Either way I can only hope that the food that the people get from the pantries doesn’t go to waste. I hope that they get creative with what they are given. I know of some that have truly been down because of a job loss, and I know that the pantry has helped them, but I just hope that they aren’t wasteful at the same time.

I am hoping that the old ways are coming back and people will grow their own food more and are finding ways to preserve them. I do think that if we preserve our own, we are more careful with waste. Do you think so?

I am interested in how others feel.

Beth

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2 thoughts on “Waste Not Want Not

  1. I try to preserve whatever is available in the garden. I also do things like seasoned pinto beans and red beans from store bought because they are cheaper than canned, but also taste better. Mushrooms as well….yes I purchase fresh mushrooms and can them in 1/2 pints. The last store bought ones I got, I noticed they were made in China. No Thanks.

    I have volunteered at the local food pantry in the past. You have three types of folks usually…..Those that are unemployed and come a few times (embarrassed I might add), the elderly/disabled whom we absolutely need to help and, well, those who are looking for handouts. 🙂 This pantry allows customers to “shop”. They are given a guideline depending on family size and it gives quantity suggestions by food type. For instance a family of 4-5 might be allowed 2 boxes of cereal, where as a family of 1-2 might be allowed 1 box. This way the family gets items they will use, No sense in giving someone a can of sauerkraut if they don’t like it. (just to move it off the shelf to “feed” them) Just because I think its great, doesn’t mean they will enjoy it. There was also an area of extra items–odd stuff– that was always free for the taking if someone could use it.

    Many pantries still pack for the patrons. The problem with this is that there are many well meaning folks who feel that flour, dry beans and rice are okay. What we found is the younger generation does not necessarily know how to prepare those items. We might have chicken in the freezer to give them, but they might only know how to prepare frozen chicken nuggets. While you really don’t want to promote packaged, processed items – it might be necessary to stock those items because many don’t have the knowledge. Many times folks come to a food pantry to supplement. They are not to the point of hunger that would require them to make big dietary changes. If a kid is used to Fruit Loops, oatmeal is not going to fly. (I prefer it)

    I know, I know. You have to pick your battles though. Its really a multi-faceted problem. Some pantries only have resources to put the food bandaid on the symptom and not fix the problem.

    Another pantry in another area allowed patrons to have free choice four months in a year’s time and then can request an additional three months which are prepacked.

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