Friday, July 22, 2011

Do You Want To Waste That Food? Store Food Correctly. Hot Dog. Cargo Trailer Cushions.

How to Avoid Food Waste in Your Home

"The FAO report found that people in rich countries generally buy more food than they need, then end up throwing away the excess. They noted that "generally speaking, consumers fail to plan their food purchases properly … that means they often throw food away when 'best-before' dates expired.

I've long stated that planning your meals is important for a number of reasons, one of which is reducing the amount of food that will go to waste, since you'll only buy what you need each time you visit the store.

It will also go a long way to help you raise the nutritional content of your meals, as lack of planning combined with time constraints tend to be the number one reason for poor eating habits.

I recommend buying your food locally, preferably from a small organic farming operation you can visit and inspect for yourself. Not only will this guarantee you the freshest foods, giving you a few extra days of leeway before they spoil, this practice is also the most environmentally friendly, leaving the tiniest carbon footprint.

The solution to waste is NOT to load up on more processed or canned foods simply because you can store them until the end of time. Their extreme shelf life comes at a high price, as they are often loaded with chemical preservatives. Remember, the fresher your foods are to start with, the longer they'll be safe to eat, so choose small amounts of the freshest foods you can find and eat them as soon as possible."
More at:


Store Your Food Correctly to Maximize Its Shelf Life

"A lot of people have become so far removed from natural foods that they will eye every minor imperfection with suspicion. But these surface imperfections, like small "bruises" on fruits for example, or a minute speck of mold on a piece of cheese, or a bit of wilting, is not what will make you sick. They can be cut off and the food will still be fine to eat.
The danger of spoiled food comes from bacteria you can't see, smell or taste. The vast majority of the food recalls in recent years have actually been processed foods and pre-packaged produce. Due to preservatives and packaging methods used, these foods may have looked pristine, but were still contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.
That said, if you know how to store your produce, you can make your food stay crisp and fresh longer, without adding unsavory chemicals to your diet.
First, you'll want to make sure your fridge is kept cold enough -- below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius. This will ensure food safety. Also leave enough space in your fridge for cold air to circulate. If your refrigerator is too tightly packed, your food will spoil faster.
Next, you'll want to properly store each individual food. The Mint Life article offers instructions for storing a long list of produce.
To best preserve beets, for example, you would remove the green tops and refrigerate the beets and the greens in separate plastic bags, while corn should be refrigerated while still in the husk to stay fresh the longest.
Citrus fruits, on the other hand, can last up to two weeks right on the counter, while garlic and onions need to be stored in a dark, cool pantry, where they will stay fresh for up to four months.
Herbs can be notoriously tricky to keep from wilting, but if you keep them in an air-tight container wrapped in a moistened paper towel, they'll maintain their freshness for up to ten days in your fridge. The life of leafy greens can also be extended by as much as three extra days if you don't wash them before putting them in your fridge. 
Also keep in mind that apples, pears, and bananas release natural ripening agents that will hasten the demise of any other produce placed in their vicinity. For guidelines for even more foods, please see the source article."

You Simply MUST Do This With Your Produce

"Oxygen, in most cases, is not food's friend as it accelerates food decay. A simple way you can protect most of your produce from the damaging effects of oxygen in the air is to make sure you "vacuum pack" your produce.
You can easily do this using the bag at the grocery produce section to store your vegetables, and then put the bag against your chest and use your arm to squeeze the produce against your chest and force all the air out of the bag. Or lay it on the counter, folding over starting at the food end, and that will get the air out.  Once the air is removed you can seal it with a twist tie and thus minimize exposure to oxygen.
This simple technique can easily double or triple the normal shelf life of your vegetables by keeping oxygen away from them."
"Produce bags are designed to be somewhat permeable, it's not like putting them in a Ziplock bag. The problem with Ziplock bags is they trap moisture, you can use them if you wrap the veggies in a paper towel. Works well for herbs too."

Cutting food waste to feed the world

Photo: ©Jonathan Bloom
Over a billion tons squandered each year.  About one third of food produced for humans is lost or wasted.
11 May 2011, Rome - Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted, according to an FAO-commissioned study.
The document, Global Food Losses and Food Waste, was commissioned by FAO from the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) for Save Food!, an international congress being held in Düsseldorf 16-17 May at the trade fair of the international packaging industry Interpack2011.
Other key findings include:
  • Industrialized and developing countries dissipate roughly the same quantities of food — respectively 670 and 630 million tons.
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons).
  • Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.
  • The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world's annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tons in 2009/2010).

Losses and waste
The report distinguishes between food loss and food waste. Food losses — occurring at the production, harvest, post-harvest and processing phases — are most important in developing countries, due to poor infrastructure, low levels of technology and low investment in the food production systems.
Food waste is more a problem in industrialized countries, most often caused by both retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible foodstuffs into the trash. Per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia each throw away only 6-11 kg a year.
Total per capita food production for human consumption is about 900 kg a year in rich countries, almost twice the 460 kg a year produced in the poorest regions. In developing countries 40 percent of losses occur at post-harvest and processing levels while in industrialized countries more than 40 percent of losses happen at retail and consumer levels.

Food losses during harvest and in storage translate into lost income for small farmers and into higher prices for poor consumers, the report noted. Reducing losses could therefore have an "immediate and significant" impact on their livelihoods and food security. More at:

Vinegar Wash for Fruit and vegetables:

Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly.  Research has shown that vinegar helps kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables. (
Your veggies and fruits stay fresher longer too, as there are no bacteria to make them spoil.



This is Elliot, an English Bulldog, and this is an "un-posed" picture (trust me, you couldn't actually make Elliot do anything) of said pooch trying to beat the TEXAS heat after his owners emptied their cooler in the driveway in Lamesa, TEXAS.
One picture is worth a thousand words......



Ray arrived early, as he was hoping it would be a bit cooler.  He started on the outside front of the cargo trailer, trying to remove some places where a previous owner had 'sagged' their paint job.  It is just on the front, but that is in the full sun now that the 5 dead pine trees have been felled.
It started out a little cloudy, but once the sun came out, I told him to quit.  We are going to have to make some shade around there.  Ray doesn't seem to mind working out there in the bright sun, but I don't want him to get cataracts.

cutting-foam-for-dinette After measuring very carefully, Jay and I cut the foam for the dinette cushions.

The foam had been acquired from a loveseat that was discarded because it had one little rip in the back.  I would have got my invisible reweaving kit going on that!

It was upholstered in beige ultra-suede, but we had to take the cushion covers off to cut it to the sizes we need.  The foam was like new, and we cut it with my electric carving knife.  The batting was glued on, and it will help when I re-cover them later.

Foam in position, not covered yet

The cushions fit so tightly that the joins cannot be felt when laying on them.
Now they have to be covered.

Until we had the cushions in place, I could not buy the table pole, as I wouldn't know what length to buy. With cushion this thick, it will have to be a taller pole.

We are also going to have to make some shade over the outside work tables, as every time we came in the workshop to get something, the sun had made us blind.  Even wearing sunglasses didn't help.
The prescription for my new glasses had expired, I had put it off too long.  Now I will have to get my eyes tested again.

Maybe 'transition' glasses should be the order for the day.

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