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.
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.
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.