Thursday, November 29, 2012

Food Efficiency

These days, it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of our goals. Around here, it's as easy for us as anyone else. Usually, this is signified by an upset in blog posts. When this happens, I flip through my "big binder of homesteading knowledge". It reminds me what I want to learn more about, my goals and where I'm headed. Today, I landed on a link I'd written down, with no explanation of why I was writing it down. It led to a very good article on improving efficiency by ten percent on the small farm. In it was a point on food waste that I'd like to share with you...

"According to the David Suzuki Foundation, close to half of all food produced worldwide is wasted; discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens. In the U.S. — and we can assume Canadian figures are similar — about $600 worth of food is tossed each year. Therefore, if we can prevent the waste of just five dollars’ worth of food each month, we will have reduced food waste by ten percent.
When buying in bulk consider how much food, teetering near its best before date your family can consume. Freezing extra meat is easy; freezing extra vegetables takes a little effort but what can be done with a case of on-the-verge-of-over ripe mangos? Mango jam? Mango themed party?
Plan ahead, work out your menu for a week and make a shopping list, say the experts. Also try not to shop when tired, hungry or fighting with your spouse, prime triggers for overspending and impulse purchases. Watch those “best before” dates. And know what’s in your fridge.
Wrap bread and baked goods well to keep them fresh but don’t choke the life out of produce with tight plastic wrap. It keeps the moisture in and condenses it into tiny drops of water that dampen and eventually decay the produce. Don’t wash fruit and veggies until just before you use them. Chopping, dicing and even de-stemming gives microorganisms a place to grow.
Organize your menu to eat the most perishable produce first. Berries before apples, fresh fruit and vegetables before frozen, etc.
Ethylene is a colourless, odourless, gaseous hormone that all fruits and veggies release. It hastens the ripening process. High emitters include apples, apricots, avocados, unripe bananas, cantaloupe, figs, honeydews, nectarines, peaches, plums and tomatoes.
On the other hand, ripe bananas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, kiwi, lettuce (and other leafy greens), parsley, peas, peppers, summer squash, sweet potatoes and water melon are ethylene sensitive. If you use your fridge’s two crispers to keep the emitters away from the ethylene sensitive, you’ll keep the ethylene sensitive in prime condition for a longer time.
Freeze bread crusts and stale cheese and use later for crumbs and sauces. Throw leftover wine into gravies and ripe fruits into smoothies. Make your own stock with leftover meats and vegetables. Make a weekly date to clean out the fridge. And, when you shop, remember that a bargain is not a bargain if half of it rots before you can eat it."
(Taken from

A very good reminder that we have all forgotten from time to time. Especially in this season of holidays and get-togethers.
What ideas do you have for being more efficient with food?