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The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 65 March 2009 
  • Greetings from the edi...
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  • Crossword
  • Storing Food A Better ...
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  • Storing Food A Better Way
    by Michelle Mook
    March 2009

    As the economy continues to worsen, we find ourselves looking for more ways to make ends meet.

    Lately I've been concerned about food wastage. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) calculates that 20 percent of this country's food goes to waste, representing an annual value of about $31 billion in lost resources:   Food Wastage Statistics

    Timothy Jones, an anthropologist at the UA Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, estimates an average family of four currently tosses out $590 per year, just in meat, fruits, vegetables and grain products:  Storing Fruits and Vegetables

    That's an awful lot of money in the garbage.

    In an effort to quit throwing my paycheck away, I've discovered that putting half of a paper towel into a bag of spicy sprouts kept them fresh and edible for over two full weeks. (I was surprised by these results, because I typically throw out packages sprouts after about six days, because they're usually slimy and wilted by then.)

    It turns out that many vegetables last more than long enough to be eaten when they're stored properly. I store green onions and asparagus upright in a shallow container of water in the fridge. I keep heads of leaf and romaine lettuce loosely wrapped in produce bags, with slightly damp paper towels wrapped around their stems.

    There are plenty of ways to make your other produce last, too. The University of Washington has released a great guide called Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home, aimed primarily at gardeners, that teaches you a lot about keeping produce fresh in various places in and around your house.

    Another important concept that needs to be embraced is that we should eat what we have while we have it, rather than letting it rot in our homes while we go out to eat. Ours is a rich country, and yet 33 million of us go to sleep hungry every night while the rest of don't eat the perfectly good food we already have:  Food Wastage Can and Should Be Reduced

    Take a look in your fridge. Is the spinach about to go bad? Take a moment and steam it, then throw it in a bag and freeze it instead of throwing it out. Is the cauliflower turning? Make refrigerator pickles with it.

    Relearn the art of inexpensive, nourishing, fridge-cleaning soups and stews. Invest in a crockpot, or dig yours out of storage.

    There is no reason for us to waste as much food as we do, especially now that we're realizing the value of the dollar.

    A Citizens Guide to Food Recovery

    Good luck lowering those food bills!
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