Friday, March 18, 2011
Food Waste Friday: How Many Pickles Do We Need?
I often enjoy reading the posts from The Frugal Girl, who includes a regular column called Food Waste Fridays in which she chronicles her food waste for the week, often in the form of tiny pieces of lunch meat or a half an onion that she forgot to use. Other bloggers have followed suit, and it is fun to cheer their efforts to use all available food.
I have never tried to do that with this blog, partly because I don't like a regular schedule of column topics, but mostly because I don't clean out my fridge that often. (Hey, at least I'm honest!) But yesterday I cleaned out the canning pantry, and I had to share with you the massive amount of waste I am about to send to compost.
Apparently, in 2005, I had a bumper crop of cucumbers, most of which I preserved in the form of dill pickles. I do remember making a lot of dill pickles early in our garden expansion efforts, but clearly I way overshot the mark, especially considering that I'm the only one in the house that eats dill pickles, and I go through maybe two jars in a good year. Seriously, there are enough dill pickles here to feed an army of pregnant women in a bad 1960s sitcom, and, since I preserved them as spears rather than whole pickles, they are sure to be mushy as all get-out. While they technically might be OK to eat (the seals are all still good), the quality is sure to be marginal, and I'm ready to let them go.
Sigh. OK, I learned my lesson. I know now that two jars of dill pickles per year are the max (I have two jars from 2010 in the canning pantry right now); the rest of the cucumber excess needs to be made into bread and butter pickles (a favorite of both families, so a good gift any time of year) and cucumber relish (the base of tartar sauce). Last year, that is just what I did, along with eating so many cucumbers fresh that I actually got sick of them, which is hard for me to do.
Anyway, there is your bonus lesson for the week: when you are setting your canning goals, lean toward products with multiple uses, like canned fruit (pies, cobblers, yogurt toppings). Hold back on those single-use products. After all, there are only so many meals that are improved with a dill pickle spear.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 11:03 AM