You’ve all encountered it. It might have been a quick scan while waiting in the checkout line, or something to reach over while jotting down a special request in the order book, or maybe even a longer, curious muse while refilling your shampoo. Whether a glance, browse, or even touch, you have come into contact with it at least once every visit to the store: the half-price table.
Home to bruised apples, wilting kale, and other second string produce, the half-price table is in your face and…yet somehow still overlooked. We all know it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover. But when one cover is just so much prettier than the other, it’s – understandably – not so easy to maintain this motto. However, the sympathy gets a little lost when we have to face these facts:
- $1 trillion is lost every year in the US because of wasted food
- The leading contributor of methane emissions is food waste in landfills
- 20 pounds of food, per person, per month gets wasted
- yet still…1 in 7 Americans does not have enough food to eat
On a local level, our neighborhoods are certainly representative of these statistics, and likely even more severe. On a personal level, food wasted inside the coop impacts the success of the coop as a whole and is a determinant for increased prices.
So what can you do to help? Give a second chance! It may not look like the pick of the litter, but hidden under the flesh of these fruits and veggies are an abundance of useful – and tasty – nutrients and chemicals that are far from reaching their shelf life.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your food:
Gardening. Pouches of organic seeds are up to $12 a pop at some locations. Inedible fruits and veggies still have their roots, which means that for under $1 you can walk away with a seed pouch that’s as natural as it gets. Replant these seeds in your garden and get back a multiplied yield fit for a summer BBQ. Here are some crowd pleasers:
- Potatoes (Yes, even the ones with the eyes!)
DIY Household Cleaners. The peels from citrus like lemons and oranges – while inedible – can always be used as a toxin-free, always fresh way to keep the kitchen clean. Adding/rubbing the rinds (even when the flesh is spoiled) acts as a great defense against grease and build-up. Grab some lemons and concoct these for a thorough spring-cleaning:
- Lemon-scented vinegar all-purpose cleaner
- Polisher for a blackened coffee pot
- Air freshener for an odorous garbage disposal
*BONUS: freeze dry rinds for future lemon zest recipes!
Pest Control. You can’t get more eco-friendly than using vegetables to rid your place of ants, moths, mites, wasps, or silverfish. Cucumbers feeling a bit mushy? A spot or two of mold on the skin? Placing slices of cucumber skin, both with and without the flesh intact, around entrances and cracks in your house can help alleviate the problem before it becomes an infestation. Replace as needed.
Recipes. That’s’ right – some stuff you can still eat! While everyone knows the trick that aging bananas are the best for breads and muffins, there are other cooking hacks that can lead to delicious meals. The easiest solution: juice those fruits and veggies, especially apples. Also, with greens – and especially leafy greens – its often the “meat” we’re after, tossing perfectly good tops and stalks out without a second thought. While the half- price table might sport some wilting leaves, savor these plants for their other healthy, edible uses:
Think of all the time and money you’ll save with these hacks, using ingredients that were almost considered trash. Suddenly, that discount table is looking more like a treasure chest…