First published in Franklin Journal
We have often heard that there are some things in life which are certain – for instance, death and taxes. So far, I’ve been able to keep morning coffee on the list. In a large way, I think we can safely add boredom with many world topics. Perhaps, it is because we don’t understand an issue, we’re too busy or otherwise distracted. Often it’s because there isn’t a fresh perspective that grabs our attention.
Food often needs a fresh perspective. We look in the fridge and the food looks like yesterday’s news. We are certain “there’s nothing to eat” in spite of the fact, the shelves are full. We buy something new, pushing current residents to the back. Some selections do seem to be residents, don’t they? Eventually, we run out of space and have to remove a few things. I know some people (Yes, my son, I’m looking at you) will find what appears from afar, to be a lovely tree growing in the back, but instead is something now unforgivably clothed in mold. Or yes, that over-a-year old container of yogurt that you thought you wanted, but really, you wanted something else. We’ve gone from edible food to wasted food.
Food waste is food at the grower or consumer level that is thrown away or composted, but could have been eaten. Yes, composting is better than throwing it in the trash, but it’s not the whole answer and past time to consider composting as a way of feeling less guilty about wasting food.
Wasted food leaves someone else hungry, adds to our carbon footprint, and represents wasted resources. It costs as much for what you throw away, as what you keep. I could give the impression I never waste food, but that would not be true. Even best intentions, sometimes fall short. I could make us feel guilty, but it doesn’t change behavior and there’s too much guilt associated with food. It’s ruining our enjoyment. I could list copious details on how to avoid wasting food, but you can pick up “Waste Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food” (Dana Gunders). It’s a good guide with checklists, recipes, infographics, using a refrigerator resourcefully, and other habits we can use to reduce household food waste.
So instead, to inspire less household food wasting, I present the lowly egg. In America, we waste about 5 billion eggs yearly, through production, processing, distribution and in households. Eggs are more plentiful at times than at others, but generally, they are readily available, comparably inexpensive and are in nearly every frig.
Alternatives to wasting eggs:
- Buy what we know we’ll use based on typical usage or events in life. Typically, I use a dozen a week, but during holiday time, I buy a whole lot more and plan that into my buying.
- When covered with a bit of water, the odd egg yolk or white that’s left from other food creations can be refrigerated in a small container to be added to an upcoming creation within 4 days.
- Reaching the expiration date? Don’t throw them out! Hard boil eggs make into deviled eggs for a quick, old-fashioned appetizer, egg salad, or our family favorite, eating them right out of the shell with a bit of salt and pepper. Unpeeled, hard boiled eggs will frig store nicely for 7-10 days.
- Freeze eggs in ice cube trays – separated or not – and use up to a year later in baking. Remove from shell. If not separating the white from the yolk, beat egg, pour into the tray and freeze.
- Omelets are perfect for using up leftovers. Chop and dice those odds and ends of veggies (See what I did there to ward off other food waste?). Add some seasonings. Maybe some meat. A little cheese. And bam! We have dinner!
- Soufflés and quiche come to mind for the daring cook. Less daring would be scrambled, as with omelets, toss in odds and ends of chopped veggies, meats and/or cheese. Add toast and coffee. Give me a call, I’ll be right there!
- Food has best flavor when shared. Give away what turns out to be excess or even better, invite people over and have an egg cooking blast!
Take what you’ll eat, eat what you take. Appreciating food is a great thing! Please, waste less of it.