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Monday, August 15, 2022

A Confirming Observation

For the last several months, I've been working hard to waste less of our food, both the purchased and garden-grown. I've been trimming less off of vegetables and fruits, skipped the peeling of carrots and potatoes, used all but the thin papery skin and the actual root fibers/threads on onions, cut closer to the cores on apples, and basically trying to find ways to use all of the safe to eat portions of the fruits and vegetables that come into my kitchen. I'm also saving meat fat, and some of our cooking liquids, such as the starchy pasta cooking water, liquid from canned vegetables and drained frozen fruit, cooking liquid from veggies, and the liquid in which fruits, vegetables, and pickles are canned. 

Despite doing all of the above, I wasn't sure if my efforts would be measurable.

So here's the interesting thing. On Sunday, my husband looked into the kitchen compost bucket and said that we're not putting as much into the bucket as we used to. He normally takes the kitchen bucket out to the composter in the backyard once per week. On Sunday, he commented that the bucket was only half full and could go another 4 to 6 days before needing to be dumped. He also said that it's been like this all summer. I take this as confirmation that we are indeed wasting less food in our house.

I have dual motives for my goal of wasting less food in my house. One, we want to offset the price increases and shrinking packages of purchased food. And secondly, if, as many experts have been warning, there is to be a food shortage coming, wasting less food spares more to go around for all of us.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. How about you? Are you trying to waste less in order to compensate for higher grocery or other costs?


  1. Absolutely we're wasting less! In our previous home, we could dispose of a lot things right near our own home (composting, etc.) but in this home whatever I want to dispose of must go in the trash. Also, the area where I live got rid of our recycling center (what?) so now I'm even more mindful of what goes into the trash bin. I always save meat bone for broth, bacon grease for cooking with and a lot fewer cans of fruit and veggies. I have to throw away bones, fat from the meat that is inedible and veggie scraps but we aren't ever even close to filling up our trash bin each week.

    I have seen my grocery bill almost double lately which means higher prices but because of my frugal upbringing and frugal lifestyle I can afford to shop less and use what I have. I'm fortunate that I have a full freezer and full pantry along with that little extra pantry I created during covid that allows me to buy less now. Along with a shrinking family size, we can go a long ways. I feel for those are struggling right now and wish I could share our bounty.


    1. Hi Alice,
      that must have been frustrating adjustment to not have recycling close by. But it sounds like you're managing quite well. Good job!

  2. You do indeed work very hard to minimize your food waste, so I'm glad that you and your family can see some of the results from it. We are on a different level here where our main goal is not to let anything go bad before we use it. However, we do save bacon grease, make broth from bones, and freeze anything extra for later use. But even with that, things get away from us sometimes-especially when we're very busy or stressed.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I can totally relate. When we're extra busy or a lot of stressful stuff is happening or a major holiday, it is so easy for bits of this and that to slip by me and become spoiled. I think you balance living life and minimizing food waste very well.

  3. I think we're at about the same level. I've unofficially followed The Frugal Girl and her food waste posts for years and that was helpful for me to be more aware of food waste. I just froze a banana this morning, since I won't get it eaten before it goes bad. Feeling a little grumpy because my son went to put a slice of ham lunchmeat on his sandwich and it had turned green. I'm in a very busy phase of life so I do sometimes have time to take it back to the store for a refund. Anyway, good for you, Lili, with your food saves!

    1. Meant to say not have time, not sometimes. Autocorrect strikes again.

    2. Hi Kris,
      Ugh, spoiled lunchmeat. In the ideal world, you would have time and energy to take back the product. But life is never ideal. It's just a shame. You could freeze it for now and take it back the next time you shop there. Good save on freezing the banana!

  4. I have also been trying to cut back food waste at our house. My meals always begin with a search in the fridge to see what needs to be used up. Some meals are better than others :) I do have a question - my husband helps prepare and serve a breakfast every year for the police officers in our area. He came back with a large bag - maybe 2 gallons worth of pasteurized eggs - There isn't an expiration date because the box was thrown away. Does anyone know how long they keep in the fridge and how would I freeze it? Just wondering if anyone has had experience with this - Lili - you are such a great resource. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      About the pasteurized eggs, so this is a liquid product? If it were me, I'd portion the eggs out into 2 and 3 egg amounts in freezer containers and just keep them frozen. Each egg's worth should be about 1/4 cup. To use, thaw in the fridge overnight and measure out 1/4 cup per egg needed. Eggs that have been frozen then thawed will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.
      Best of luck with this Ruthie!

  5. Good for you, Lili! I too will go to great lengths to do what I can to avoid food waste. I just figure it makes sense, as well as cents...! Case in point, I recently volunteered to bring home a huge amount of shredded iceberg lettuce (that nobody else wanted) from work when there was some sort of event catering mix-up. My husband and I enjoyed several salads, but the amount was way more than even he and I could handle in salads before it was going to start turning brown. So I used the rest of it as a substitute for napa cabbage in a Thai-inspired, rice noodle stir-fry. With a savory peanut sauce that I improvised, it was really quite tasty. Just need to get creative sometimes...!

    1. Great job on saving that lettuce! The Thai-inspired stir fry with the lettuce sounds delicious.


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