reducing our grocery waste

Last week, I mentioned that we’ve been shamefully wasting bags of organic lettuce from our awesome CSA. I’ll be honest, I was nervous for the next basket.

And then, I was completely amazed. We brought home:

  • a pint of radishes
  • a pint of snap peas
  • a head of lettuce
  • a dozen green onions
  • two bunches of rainbow chard
  • a bunch of kale
  • two enormous turnips with their greens
  • two bunches of cilantro
  • two heads of bok choy

That’s an insane amount of organic produce for two people, especially since the cost averages around $30 per week. We’ve been far more diligent this weekend, putting greens to use before they wilt. Salsa. Swiss chard & potato soup. Fried rice with bok choy. Salads.

This is when my overly organizational mind comes in handy. While we prepare one meal for dinner, another is simmering on the back burner to be portioned out for lunch. Thank goodness something this week is giving us a feeling of accomplishment!

I’ve also learned some really great tactics for preserving food a bit longer. Try these before just dropping those greens in the crisper:

  1. Like fresh herbs, lettuces really appreciate having a bit of moisture. Wrap herbs in a damp paper towel before placing them in a storage bag & putting them in the fridge. With lettuce, try putting a quick seam & drawstring on a dish towel to form a little sack. Lightly dampen the towel, then fill it with washed, ready-to-eat lettuce & store in the crisper. I learned this trick form my (endlessly helpful) Grow Great Grub, but here‘s another online how-to.
  2. Save the greens from your root veggies! There are many times when I’ve just lopped the greens off of turnips, rinsed the roots & thrown them in the crisper. And then I wonder why they quickly get sponger… Learn from my mistake. Cut of the greens, wash & store like your lettuces. Then, put the roots in a cool dry place (where you store your potatoes). Both will keep longer. Two for one!
  3. I apply this to radishes, too. Wash the green, prep the veggies for eating. I find that if everything is ready to eat, I’m more likely to reach in & grab peas or radishes to snack on than grab a spoon & attack the jar of peanut butter. (Okay, so that’s mostly true.)
  4. All those wilted or stringy bits that get cut off go straight to the compost!

So, we’re doing it. This week, we’re making a simpler diet our focus & really dedicating ourselves to creating compost & good meals more than we create food waste. It feels great, as do I since I’ve begun cutting back on dairy. I can’t say I’m vegan by any means, & I’ve let myself have a bit of dairy each day (no more than one serving). Can’t wait to share more of this lifestyle change with you this week. A preview: Is honey vegan? What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance? Does this mean I can never have any dairy?


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being conscious and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to reducing our grocery waste

  1. Sara Daehn says:

    Cut out ALL dairy, wait at least 3-5 weeks and you’ll feel even better!

    • meganbetz says:

      I was vegan for a while & felt great, but I love cheese. I avoid a lot of dairy because I just don’t really like milk–never have. I’m the awkward kid that drained it off the spoon before eating her cereal.

      I want to finish up the cheese we have before it goes bad, then we’re just not going to buy more for a while. I also want to try nut-based cheeses that I have recipes for in an awesome vegan cookbook. Looking forward to making it an adventure rather than a restraint, but giving myself flexibility to enjoy dairy from time to time.

  2. Pingback: more on food preservation | francofile

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