Friday 17 November 2017

What Would You Waste Less If Times Were Hard?

Of course none of it is really waste!

But when you grow your own and cook most of your meals from scratch it can certainly create some waste! Below are two buckets of "waste" that I created between Sunday and Wednesday! 

This all gets added to the compost pile and in time will really help to improve my soil. 
Because I grow so much veg I can be a little more wasteful with some of the veg, for example we eat a lot of Swiss Chard at this time of year (two times a week) but I never use the stems! We've got so much growing, it just doesn't seen worth it. 

 In the buckets above there are the leaves and peelings from cleriac, carrots, beets, chard, courgette (last one), shallots, onions and gone over apples.

If times were hard, very little of those buckets would be heading to the compost pile. Everything would be used, veg would be scrubbed before being peeled, leaves would be saved and I'd make lots of stock each time. This is potentially something I should be doing away, but there are only so many hours in the day.

The cooked peeling would then be strained, the stock saved for human consumption and the cooked peelings would be given to the chickens or other livestock. Although not with the current laws of course!

So if times were much harder what would you waste less of?

What potential food source do you throw away?


  1. I wish I lived closer - I prefer the stems of chard to the leaves!

  2. (We chard stem eaters too!). That's a difficult question because growing your own inevitably produces a surplus in some crops if not all, and sometimes gluts. As you point out, nothing is really wasted and is part of the cycle. Your bucket contents would go in the compost. When I pick chard or kale etc for dinner, I'll also cut some for the hens and pigs.

  3. We got a wormery for our kitchen waste, but in truth as our garden is not big enough to grow veg, we have very little worm food.

  4. I suppose I "waste" a lot of my vegetables too--but like you said, there's so much and really, it's not wasted in a compost pile!!
    I waste a lot of asparagus--not a fan of the stems. Love the tips, though!!!

  5. Would the chickens now eat the stems raw? Ours would and then it's not illegal if you take the leaves off outside. Our biggest waste is off the children's plates but there's not much I can do about that. The dogs do help a lot with it though :)

  6. We don't waste any food. Even the contents of food jars end up being fed to the pigs when we have them. The birds get any old bread and the dogs and cat get any leftovers.

  7. I think of this often especially when I buy from the pay by the pound for most things but usually 1/4 is thrown out through peelings etc. When you think of throwing away 25% of your income kind of puts it in perspective.

  8. I take as much excess as possible off outside and put all into a big old saucepan that David stews up on the field kitchen for the hens. I have learnt not to bring stuff into the kitchen until I've ascertained if there will be enough stuff to "brew up" outside. I'm lucky to have bags and bags of gash flour direct from an old water mill that I add to the "stew" Anything else goes to the rabbits or the compost heap. (The dogs are happy to have cooked veggie waste too)

  9. Silver Beet (chard) stems are delicious. Steam the greens and then steamd the stems and serve in a white sauce (flavoured with cheese or nutmeg) and you get 2 very different veg for the one lot of picking.

  10. Chard stems taste of earth, and should be either composted or given to horses. Full stop.

  11. Rabbit meat is popular just now, so batches of quick growing rabbits could be raised through out the year in a relatively small space, fed on veg trimmings picked straight from the garden. According to my mother, rabbits & geese fed this way were the mainstay of garden-based meat production in war time (especially when there wasn't room for a pig).
    At our local farmers market there is someone who makes pickles & preserves from gluts of veg & will take surpluses off the hands of others. Maybe there is a deal to be done with someone similar in other areas.

    1. I recently heard someone describe waste or left-over veg as 'posh compost' :)

  12. Excellent question Kev; something I think about a lot. In fact it's a goal for us, because once Dan "retires" there won't be much income to live on. The only real waste we have is from stuff we buy: packaging, wrapping, broken parts. Nothing we produce here is ever, ever wasted, just like you point out. The key is in learning to be content with what we've got, and I'm finding that that goal is one to be worked toward slowly but steadily.

  13. I concure with Spade and Dagger above. Those buckets would feed a dozen rabbits and you'd be far better off feeding them any surplus. Plus of course they compost the food for you.....

  14. I'm sure my compost heap would be worse off if I had more time- the carrot leaves would become pesto rather than wilting in the fridge and I'd make stock from the peelings, like you. Or crisps. I remember a recipe years ago (Shirley Goode??) where you make the scrubbed potato/root veg peel into crisps. Might need to look that up!
    In the meantime, I was trying to find a French chard stem tart to link to, because I'm sure in southern France they throw away the chard leaves and make a sweet tart with the stems. I couldn't find it, but did find this
    I like the sound of the dip. I generally just cook the stems for a couple of minutes before adding the leaves- I like the colours when it's red or rainbow chard.

  15. I do my veg prep in the polytunnel straight after picking and rinse things off for us in the sink outside it, giving everything a second check for quality. So all our trimmings can go to the chickens, things they don't eat go straight onto the compost and then everything that is brought inside is used. So we don't have kitchen waste at all.

    Potato, parsnip, beetroot or carrot peelings can either be used in soups (well washed of course), or washed, dried rubbed with olive oil and paprika or salt and roasted as 'crisps'. They are delicious :-)


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