Kitchen Cupboard Spring Cleaning Challenge (and Vegetable Dip Recipe)

It’s spring.  At last!  Hooray!

Purple Crocus - Art of Natural Living

Purple Crocus

And what do we associate with spring?  Spring Cleaning!

Now in the interest of full disclosure I have never spring-cleaned in my life, unless you count the garden, but it could happen.  This year, however,  I AM going to do some spring cleaning of a different sort–I am cleaning out my kitchen cupboards (and freezer, and…)!

Now admittedly every time the boy scouts come by on a food drive, I go through my canned goods and send them off with any extras.  But if a canned good is expired, it won’t be accepted (though it may still be safe).  Glass? Nuh-uh.  A half full (25 lb) bag of rye flour?  No.  Frozen beef liver from the quarter of beef?  Yah, right.

So despite my best intentions, we have a food backlog.

Food filling landfills faster than disposable diapers?

Did you know that today Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food?  That’s 20 pounds a month per person.  According to the EPA “food is now the single largest type of waste going to our municipal landfills and incinerators – more than 33 million tons of food ends up in landfills or are combusted each year.“ Even worse, food discarded in the trash ends up in landfills where, as decomposing organic matter, it produces methane and contributes to global warming.

To avoid becoming part of these statistics (and to save some real cash), the EPA recommends you try the following:

  • limiting food purchases to what you can realistically eat
  • finishing leftovers before buying more food
  • freezing or preserving appropriate food items before they go bad
  • donating food to those in need
  • composting food scraps

Of course I have an idea of my own.

Striped Squill

Striped Squill

The Kitchen Cupboard Spring Cleaning Challenge

During the month of May, I pledge to make something with an old, unloved food at least every other day.  May is an especially good time to clean out old food because CSAs have not yet begun and the regular winter recipes have gotten, yes I admit, boring.

I now declare May…  Kitchen Cupboard Spring Cleaning Month.

Want to join me?  Just comment on your efforts (with a link if you want to share notes) in any of my May posts!

My first leftover: Hearts of Palm Dip, based on this recipe,  If you don’t have hearts of palm in your pantry, you can substitute artichoke hearts, spinach or a combination–or maybe even get creative (Swiss Chard, anyone?)!

Hot Vegetable Dip - Art of Natural Living

Hot Vegetable Dip

Hot Hearts of Palm Dip

Ingredients  

  • 2 (14.25 ounce) cans hearts of palm, drained (or artichokes or spinach or combination)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large shallot, chopped or about 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 c lite sour cream
  • 1 c lite mayonnaise

Directions

1.  Chop hearts of palm (or artichokes or spinach) coarsely.

Hearts of Palm - Art of Natural Living

Chop Hearts of Palm

2.  Mix with other ingredients in a greased medium casserole.

Hot Veggie Dip Ingredients - Art of Natural Living

Hot Veggie Dip Ingredients

3.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until hot through and starting to brown.

4.  Served hot with vegetable dippers, pita quarters, chips or crackers

My kids thought this was a great dinner add-on and told me I could do it again any time. To make things even better, I managed to use up a package of pita bread in the freezer that was starting to dry out.  Two “old” foods and happy kids–I am psyched!

Budding Daffodil Leaves

Budding Daffodil Leaves

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17 thoughts on “Kitchen Cupboard Spring Cleaning Challenge (and Vegetable Dip Recipe)

  1. Karis

    You motivated me to use up the cranberries I froze last fall. I made a cranberry-apple tart that was quite tasty. One item down, many more to go!

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  4. Tammy

    It is something that needs to occur and not just in my kitchen. All those creams and lotions in the bathrooms need to be organized and in some cases, ridded also.

  5. Claire

    What a great idea, and you know it’s a spooky kind of coincidence as my partner sorted through some cans and jars and found a number of things well and truly out of date, but will get used somehow or other!
    And now I’m looking forward to seeing what is next on the challenge, mind you I did giggle and the Swiss Chard mention 🙂

    1. Inger

      Ah yes, I try never to miss a potential opportunity to get rid of a little excess Swiss Chard ;-). If you end up doing something fun (or not fun, even) with any of your old food discoveries feel free to take credit for it in one of a future post comment!

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