Spring Cleaning

Date posted: Monday 27 June 2016

by Vernita Kennen


When the grass greens up, lilacs appear and fade, and I can begin picking strawberries, I’m ready for spring cleaning. It’s time to wash the blankets, wash the rain-spattered windows (again), and run the self-cleaning oven when the windows can be open to help dissipate the aroma. It’s also time to clean out the refrigerator once again.


Refrigerators and cupboards do need cleaning but just what are we throwing away? Might we rather find a use for much of what we so easily discard? Are you one of those people who read a “best if used by” date and take it to mean toss out by that date? Do you dump milk down the drain if the expiration date has passed, even if the milk still smells and tastes fresh and sweet? 


I recently read that April 23 was the date in 2016 on which the amount of food produced so far this year is equal to the amount of food projected to be lost or wasted each calendar year in the American food system! This information is based on trends monitored by the International Food Policy Research Institute, which announced on April 23 that, "with 31 percent of the year behind us, we have reached the calendar equivalent of how much food is lost or wasted every year in the American food system."


While most of the food loss happens in the supermarket and at the dinner table, more than in the fields, the report noted that every lopsided apple of funky tomato that fails to meet certain visual standards is not only a waste of resources, by adds to the cost of food. The National Resources Defense Fund found that reducing food loss by 15 percent would save enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans each year - and at a time when one in six Americans is "food insecure."


So - use those wrinkled vegetables for a pot of nourishing soup. Scrambled eggs are always good, even if the yolks aren’t exactly perky. Have you tried sour milk pancakes? Don’t eat things which might endanger your health or that of your family, but stop and think before you throw something away during your spring cleaning this year that is still healthy and usable.


(image via unsplash)