It’s spring. At last! Hooray!
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.
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 Hearts of Palm Dip
- 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
1. Chop hearts of palm (or artichokes or spinach) coarsely.
2. Mix with other ingredients in a greased medium casserole.
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!
- Pickled Asparagus for a Food Swap
- Super Simple Sugared Nuts