In a very productive year on my food agenda, I dare not complain. In 2013 yardening (that's turning your yard into a garden with a Y) has been proven to satisfy my chewing muscles. Now, how do I store and eat all of this abundance? There shall be no waste in this household. I aim to starve the compost pile and put the worms on a diet. This is my 'Zero Waste Week pledge!
Although I have been a near zero waster for all of my conscious life, I find there is some possibility of refining the art of home foods management. My inspiration is kept current by reading the writings of Rachelle Strauss, aka, Mrs green at My Zero Waste blog. She is a diligent router of all manner of wasteful behavior and a positive influence on the path to personal or corporate responsibility. Her honest and thorough posts, her family videos and tips incite readers to reduce, use, re-use or recycle all that is bought.
The annual event of ' Zero Waste Week' is coming up in September and I am ready to join the fray. Not exactly a frenzy as I live in a far off rural community, but accessible by medium low tech laptop plunking..by the second of next month, I should have enough photos and how-to's to satisfy the do-it-yourself saver of precious nutritional resources. Please follow the recycled brick path to my yarden and climb the wooden stairs to the kitchen for a peak at how a french born writer remains dedicated to some modicum of preservation.
Mind set at zero: no cement block necessary to keep freezer door locked, no double stacking canned goods or jars of preserves in the gluttonous cupboards. I am saving for a food dryer < next year>.
Meanwhile back at our humble home;
dried foods take much less space than canned goods, so, I thread a needle with strong cotton and pass it through the goodies..usually in the center because it is unnerving to have to pick up your gardening efforts from the floor, no matter how clean it is..and a pitiful picture of me on all fours blowing dust before the project is completely ruined. 'True Grit' is a movie, not a crunchy food alternative.
Washed and towel dried mushrooms Agarics, boletus, chanterelles or morels, or cleaned, cubed fruit, apple slices, pears, apricots, plums or veges such as peppers, carrots, rutabaga, winter squash, all keep well when sliced thin enough to dry in a day or two for good measure. Hang in convenient area, away from walking patterns ( our basement has adequate ventilation, so I can suspend my scrumptious garlands from the beams with strong nails, of course) and set a fan on high, till the poor veges and fruits of the land are reduced to shriveling remnants of their former beauty.
To store the winter treats, I loosely roll some around in a bowl of cinnamon sugar for snacks, or simply stack the thinly sliced yellow or green squash in clean, dry glass jars, store in darkest corners of shelves to add to soups, sauces or use as dip chips..mmm!
For my flop of the day, I confess that tomatoes have not been my most successful drying experiment; they slid off, squished together and ultimately ran away with molds and mildews prior to joining some other failed trial in the very forgiving compost area. Someone has to feed the beneficial nematodes?
Reminder to self—save for food dryer-- <or make one out of wood slats and nylon screen, plus fan>. Plan to shrink a few exotics when on sale..kiwis, pineapples, bananas, seedless grapes, mangoes, papayas, quince..I think I hear the strawberries squirming in their patch out back!
I am definitely no joiner, but this is something I can use to sharpen my ecological muscles.
Zero Waste Week, Sept 2-8 2013.wherever you are..on facebook or at myzerowaste.com