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Aug 4, 2012 08:45 PM

"lost" food!?! Nothing goes to waste.

Though usually only cooking for 1, I just CANNOT toss chicken/turkey bonew without making stock... few ingredients, little work and pretty much FREE, cuz was just gonna get tossed anyway.

Was making a BIG batch of REAL lemon-ade for a trip to the beach. Started thinking... wish I had a need for lemon zest, cuz was tossing after juicing. Then had a stroke of genius/insanity. Hauled out rarely used apple peeler/corer... given to me by SIL who used to to Pampered chef demos. Stuck the lemons on, moved the corer part out of the way, and ended up with a HEAP of strings of zest before juicing. I let them sit out on paper plate to dry totally. Then ground up and made lemon-pepper that wasn't loaded with salt. And ended up with a lot of ground lemon rind for other things.

Decided to make chili one time. NOT a big fan of hot but was at a place called Produce Junction. It's a no-frills, semi-bulk place with nice fruit and veggies at great prices... lemons from above... 6 for $1! Picked up a bag of jalapenos... 1lb/$2... that's a LOT of jalapenos! Probably only used 1-2 in the chili and realized rest were just gonna go bad before I wanted anything spicy?? Hauled out my cheap-o dehydrator! Cut stems off, and halved length-wise. Put in dehydrator until CRISPY!! Then ground up in food processor to make jalapeno powder. WARNING! When grinding, drape a damp towel over the top of food processor and give it PLENTY of time to settle after it's pulverized... unless you like to cough and sneeze forever! I use it in place of cayenne when I make a rub or spice blend.

Used to have a local supermarket that always had an area for reduced produce. Never anything nasty... just not "perfect" any more. Bought a BIG bag of large white mushrooms... like kind for stuffing. After cooking some, had a MESS left over. Dehydrated them in thick slices. Tho not a total fail... not crazy about result... a little rubbery when reconstituted. If I had it to do over, woulda sliced/chopped, sauted in nice olive oil and butter and froze to be dumped into something later.

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  1. I hate to waste food as well-just seems wrong to me. I shop from the reduced aisle in produce as well-bargains galore! I like to saute the mushrooms with olive oil and either lots of garlic or thyme and then freeze in small containers. It's great for making a quick meal on a busy evening. My garden gives me plenty of tomatoes so I put them in the oven on shallow pans at a low temp, add lots of garlic and olive oil, cook until I like the consistancy and freeze them for pizza in the winter. Bonus-the skins come off when they cool down so that saves a very tedious step of blanching to peel skins off.

    1. Just so you know, you can make a phenomenal lemonade using the whole lemon (plus one lemon goes a lot further when you use it whole than when you just juice it). Cut it into pieces and throw it in the food processor, breaking it up pretty well. Sprinkle on your sugar and then process again, using the sugar to really break it all up. Then add some water, check for sweetness and add sugar as needed, and finish with one more thorough time in the processor. Drain in a wire mesh colander, mashing the liquid out, and top off with either still or sparkling water to taste (what comes out of the processor is a strongly flavored concentrate). This also works with other citrus.

      2 Replies
      1. re: katecm

        Your method sounds really intriguing. My only concern would be the bitterness of the pith - does this come through in the finished product?

        1. re: sandylc

          I'd say tart rather than bitter. You end up with a very pure lemon flavor, and it's actually also quite beautiful, a soft yellow color.

      2. I hate to waste food as well. You offered up a couple of really good ideas.

        I had to laugh at your warning for grinding hot peppers. I once put some jalapeno and serrano seeds/ribs in the garbage disposal and when I turned it on.......well, let's just say I think I now know what it feels like to be pepper sprayed!

        1. Apple peeler/corer only took off zest... left all the white on the lemon and they were easy to juice.

          Stopped into local bakery today... don't go there often. They had packages of 6 bagels for $2.25... normally $.70 each! Couldn't have been baked any later than this morning. Gonna make batch of bagel chip snacks... VERY thinly sliced, liberally coated with mealted butter and olive oil, heavy on seasoning salt and into oven till crispy.

          1. Gosh, this is a good post, don't know why more folks did not contribute.

            I too am trying to find ways to use everything up, although I must admit I was wasting a lot of food due to ignorance & laziness. I am retired now & have absolutely no excuse to waste a darn thing!!

            Been watching the products I buy on a weekly basis to either cut down on or make my own here at home. I do buy a lot of canned tomatoes, but can't see that canning my own would save any money, fresh produce stays quite pricey & I have had no luck in growing my own.

            Am trying to learn all about dehydrating, thinking I could save some money on buying on sale & then either drying or freezing.

            Wanted to make gifts in jars soup this year for presents & decided to get a couple of those jars of mirepoix (dry celery, onions & carrots) to put a couple spoons in each jar. Well, at almost six dollars a jar, that would not work. Thought I could dry my own veggies & come out way better. Must find info about drying, don't want to poison anyone!

            Heard about saving onion tops, veggie peelings, food bones, etc to make stock. I did that & did not care for the end result.

            Was thinking about freezing extra rice for stir fries, don't know if that will work. Frozen veggies don't really work for wok cooking, too mushy, very disappointed about that. I planning to freeze my veggies & then pull out for a quick meal.

            As you can see, I have come up with some dead ends, but will keep trudging on.

            Oh well, am hoping this post might be revised & we can share some more ways to using it all up.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cstout

              I'm trying to be better about using everything rather than throwing it away. I throw out and compost a lot. One thing we learned the hard way--don't freeze jalapeƱos and other hot peppers. Those suckers get hotter over time!

              1. re: Njchicaa

                Jalapenos - getting hotter even if seeds & membranes are removed?

                1. re: cstout

                  I don't know. I froze a bunch of them whole and then set everyone's mouths on fire a couple of months later with salsa that I made with them.