Trash to Table
Examples of Thinking Beyond the Date
First, let’s look at an article from a website called “Stuff You Don’t Want” (http://stuffyoudontwant.com) that helps people find alternate lives for things that are no longer useful to them. The writer decided to venture out of her comfort zone and try eating “expired” food for a change. She tried one “expired” food item every day for a week, using the pages of EatByDate as a guide, and then lived to write an interesting and informative journal about her personal experience with food dates. She began her journey adhering to all printed labels and ended the week on a much different note (a high one, we might add). Her office mates even devoured every last cookie, pictured above, that were baked and labeled with what she called “vintage” spices.
Next, let’s go a little larger scale and check out what appears to be a gourmet restaurant that is taking trash from other places (think vegetable fiber from a juice bar, cucumber butts from a pickle factory) and turning this perfectly good food into five-star fare at a true farm to table restaurant. This video takes a few minutes but it is PBS newsworthy and quite mouthwatering to boot.
Finally, let’s go back into your own private kitchen. Got a carton of milk that when you open the lid hits you with a nasty sour smell? Instead of heading for the trash can, try heading for the griddle. Sour milk actually makes a wonderful substitute for buttermilk in your favorite pancake recipe. Incredibly, the sour taste disappears when cooked and there’s not a bit of bitter flavor in your resulting pancakes! You can also substitute sour milk for buttermilk in waffle and many other baked good recipes.
Of course, you can only eat so many pancakes, so it’s always good to plan ahead. If you know you’re not going to use all of your milk before it turns sour then put it into the freezer. It will probably separate a bit when thawed, but it’s still perfectly fine. If you’ve got a lot of milk that smells sour, then make large batches of pancakes or other baked goods and freeze them, after cooling, in an airtight container. Baked goods freeze well, so just pop your frozen homemade goods into the toaster or oven whenever you need a quick breakfast.
Note: If you completely forgot about your milk and it’s become a thick, lumpy mess surrounded by a thin, bitter liquid… then it’s actually time to throw it out! There’s always a point of no return :(.