As the supermarket shelves empty due to panic stockpiling, now is not a bad time to think about how you buy, use and dispose of food. In the current circumstances, buying what you don't need/more than you need may be depriving someone else who does actually need it. My mother, for example, could not find bread nor eggs, forcing her to repeatedly venture to the supermarkets in search of them, putting herself at risk (she is elderly and has a heart condition, so is in the top 1% of people at risk of dying from COVID-19).
The people who can help her with her shopping either do not have the transport to do so or, by the time they finish work and can go to the shops, the shelves are empty. Online delivery is not an option as all the slots here have been booked into next month by people stockpiling. She is not the worst off. She is still mobile. Some people are not. Some people have even more serious conditions that put them at even more risk. Many supermarkets here in the UK have started rationing certain products and/or introducing shopping slots for the elderly and disabled, but still the shelves are empty of certain necessities.
Please people, stop stockpiling and have a thought for others!
In addition, did you know that around one third of the food produced around the world goes to waste? Did you know that this waste accounts for something like 8-10% of the world's greenhouse gases, so is seriously damaging our environment and our future?
Apart from buying less, I have a few suggestions:
- Keep an eye on what you have in your fridge and kitchen and try to use it before it goes off. There are eco friendly devices that can help keep vegetables etc. fresher for longer and there are Apps that help you to plan recipes around what you already have.
- For those of you in areas where supermarkets, local convenience stores, restaurants, cafes, bakeries etc. etc. are still operating, there may be Apps that allow you to buy unsold food that is still fresh, but would otherwise be thrown away, at discounted prices. You save money, you help to save the environment, and you might just be helping to save businesses that are really struggling to survive right now. It is better for them to get something, rather than nothing, for unsold food. Apps in the UK (might be available elsewhere, I'm not sure), include Karma and Too Good to Go.
- Go through your freezer and larder. Is there stuff lurking in there that you could use for your next meal? Get creative with recipes so you don't automatically have to go and buy more food. Think about what you could donate to a food bank or similar charity. There are also Apps where you can give unwanted food to your neighbours.
- Talking of the freezer, it's very easy to freeze bread, fruit and all sorts of things before they go off so they can be consumed later. Do be mindful though of food safety and don't refreeze stuff that it's not safe to do.
- If you have time on your hands, which many of us do, or are looking for ways to keep young ones occupied, think about using some of your foodstuffs to make jams, chutneys etc. Over ripe bananas are perfect for making banana cake/bread and I recently made up a few jars of chutney from courgettes and tomatoes I knew I wouldn't get through. If you put them in nice jars and label them, these can make great homemade gifts.
- Is bread scarce at your supermarket? Think about baking your own, especially if you have that "unwanted gift" of a breadmaker sitting around. I bet if you baked it yourself, you would be more reluctant to throw it away!
- Inevitably, you will have some scraps to throw away, such as peelings, egg shells, used tea bags and coffee grounds. If your local council has a food waste collection scheme, please use it. If you have a garden, try composting (could save you money too, as well as reducing the environmentally damaging peat based compost you might be buying).
I am slowing working through my cupboards and freezer. I am actually astounded by how often I think, "I have nothing to eat.. better pop to the shops," when actually I have lots of food. Previous guests leave so much behind. Don't throw it away! Think of how you might use it, or give it to someone who will.
@Helen427 I chop the stems and leaves from veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, etc that I'm not going to be using in that days meal into small pieces and place them in a bowl or bag that I keep in the freezer for them. They are then used when I make soups, stews or some sauces. I almost never peel veggies like potatoes and carrots, I actually like the skins. To me they add flavor and texture.
I freeze the butt ends of bread loaves and use them when I need bread crumbs or bread pudding, rarely does bread get wasted in our house.
We still throw stuff out and more recently I've been trying to find ways to waste less.
I always freeze some bread (including the ends). As a single person, it's hard for me to get through a whole loaf. The bread is perfect fine toasted straight from the freezer. I also saw a documentary once where they said that freezing breaks down some of the carbs, so it's one way to reduce the carbs in your diet if you eat a lot of bread.
I also throw my overripe bananas in their skins, straight into the freezer.
They are already wrapped!
Use them in banana bread, muffins, fruit smoothies and the big hit with my grandkids, is banana pancakes with cinnamon and nutmeg in the batter.
@Huma0, excellent topic, thanks for posting. Yes to composting, yes to bread-baking, I do both anyway. Sourdough is really easy if you can get (or make) a starter. Pickled vegetables is a great way to use up leftover veggies - onions, cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes, cauliflower. Just slice them thinly and pickle them in apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt (plus whatever spices e.g. cumin seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, etc.). I always have a big jar in my fridge. Similarly, sauerkraut. Veggie tops and skins that would otherwise be thrown away can be used to make stock.
Re dogs and vegetables, I feed my dog brown rice, lentils and lots of cooked veggies (potato, sweet potato, carrots, cauli, kale, peas, zucchini). I cook up a big batch every 3-4 days and feed it to her with eggs or sardines. She loves it and is super healthy (15 and no sign of slowing down!).
Oh and on the window box topic, I'm getting my son (who is currently in quarantine with me for 2 weeks, having just flown back from the UK) to make me exactly that! Herbs just outside my kitchen window, yes!
@Huma0cats are a whole different ballgame to dogs and are pretty much carniverous. I would just be inclined to feed them raw meat and fish - you can maybe get some cheap offcuts. My dog started having some health issues a couple of years ago, which the vet couldn't figure out. I decided to get her off the commercial dog food and voila! Her health issues cleared up within about 2 days. That stuff is nasty! (even the 'good' varieties). I'm sure there are people who think dogs shouldn't eat rice and lentils, but dogs have been hanging around humans for so long, I reckon they can eat pretty much anything humans eat (with a few obvious exceptions). And anything's gotta be better than dog food. I would give her meat, but I don't eat meat myself so decided to go the pescatarian with her, and she is doing very well.
@Kath9 interesting. I have been advised though not to give my cats raw meat. Apparently domestic cats constitutions can't cope with it these days. I know they could hunt and eat raw meat that way anyway, but the vet stresses that it's especially important to regularly give them worming medicine if they are outdoor cats who hunt (mine very rarely catch anything by the way, but it does sometimes happen).
Here's a confession,
my beloved Lyrah developed a mystery condition (blood panel, sonogram etc) that probably arose from her stubborn allegiance to one brand of dry cat food for the 1st 10 years of her life, after weeks of intense negotiating I found one dry food she finds marginally acceptable but we supplement it with fresh cooked meat, poultry & fish. I tried offering her a madly expensive raw food that included ethically sourced organic sheep's thymus gland. She was only willing to sample it if it was sauteed in butter
. I went to our local Halal market, it's our go to source for ethically raised meat & stocked up on chicken thighs for her, with a bit of lamb as well. She is sharing this bounty with my husband as I am a sad vegan. She 's a tall rangy cat who used to weigh 12-13 pounds and now hovers around 7 so I'm going to keep spoiling her.
Lyrah got an abscess last summer from a vile weed called fox-tail and I told her that if she cooperated with me we might avoid going to the vet and a course of antibiotics and her wearing a cone.
She let me open it up, wash it out with hydrogen peroxide, apply wound dressing, put on a gauze pad & then wrap up her neck with an elastic bandage. She sat on some old towels on my bed during the whole operation. I told her if she scratched at the dressing she'd be going to the vet, so she didn't, she let me change the dressing every day until the wound was healed over. She used a lot of bad language during the process but held still and just wanted a cuddle afterwards. I will be hunting the local wild life if it comes to it to keep her going.
My cat as a kitten screwed up her nose at tinned cat food so I made her own, or because it was more affordable than cat food she was feed tinned salmon...
I used to cook rice and then mix it with cooked mince, garlic, grated carrot, courgette and broccoli with a satchet of tomato soup.
Grated carrot is great for their teeth and garlic helps prevent worms & fleas which she rarely ever had. I also rarely gave her flea or worm treatment as she seemed to not get them
Along with a few titbits of steak and fresh fish through her years she was well loved and kept her health til she joined those over the rainbow.
She was hit by a car when young, pulled through it, thanks to Hills Science canned diet feed through a tube, and wormed her way around the vet's heart strings as she was his first jaw & hip operation.
When in confinement at the vet's she and the clinic cat became buddies and they both passed away within months of each other.
She lived til she was 16 years old.
@Helen427oh bless. I bet you miss her. I am dreading the day when I lose one of my kitties. They are all nearing eight/nine years old, so I guess are middle aged. I really hope they live well into their teens. A friend's cat lived to 22!
I will try out your recipe for homemade cat food sometime. Did you use beef, lamb or pork mince, or does it not matter? I know my cats would eat mince of any description, but I wonder how they would react to the other ingredients (I have also heard garlic prevents worms - didn't know about the fleas). Greedy Grigio has been known to steal avocado and asparagus, but they have never eaten veggies otherwise, unless it was in commercial cat food.
Sauteed in butter? Lyra is one gourmand of a cat! My niece's cat was seriously skinny and neglected when her parents got it from the shelter. She is much better now, but doesn't eat loads and is super fussy. They have tried all sorts of super fancy, crazily expensive cat food, but every few months, she decides to reject it and they try something new. I then get half a box of the stuff, which is a real treat for my kitties.
They are all so greedy and will just about any cat food they are given, although I try to buy them decent quality stuff. Unfortunately, Pinot is a little dumpling and has been overweight for a while. There is a couple a few doors down who seem to think she is their cat. I don't know what they feed her, but I fear it is their leftovers and I don't think that can be good for her health. I have tried and tried to reason with them, but it does no good. My ex-housemate lost her temper and shouted at them. That didn't work either...
One of our kids had a rotund kitty named Zoe who was the neighborhood mooch, my daughter in law put a tag on her collar stating "No extra feeding please, vet's orders" It seemed to help a little.
Alice cat, who was given to our youngest as a kitten without parental knowledge, is a round little plum of a cat. She prefers not to use the cat door but can ooze thru when she must (when the vacuum come out) She & Lyrah have a complex relationship but even tho she's technically Lucy's cat it is recognized that the girls have a bond and she stayed behind when Lucy moved out.
Alice has a collar with a bell, she started wearing it years ago after "The hummingbird incident"". The bird survived, but Alice was given a bell, a stern talking to and the threat that any repeat infraction would lead to even more bells.
Last summer, in despair over the pocket gopher invasion, I took the collar off of her, hoping she might decide to take up rodent hunting. Alice gave me a flat eared glare and put her paw on the collar and pulled it up to her chest. Chastened, I put it back on her. She has a tiny little meow and likes to use the bell for emphasis. Lyrah has a huge vocab of trills, mews and m'rowrs . She can say a clear "mom" which disconcerts those who already think cats are suspect creatures. There was a cat named Dusty in the Guinness book of records who lived to be 30 something so we can all hope, right?
I spent a good few minutes watching hilarious cat videos yesterday after our feckless leader's press conference, there's apparently a huge market for that kind of stuff, especially now, maybe you could market your foodini's antics? I'd sit thru the first part of a random ad to see him open that tin, for sure & I'll bet I'm not alone!