Posts Tagged ‘zero grocery week’

A Zero Grocery Week Challenge

Our freezer has spoken. It said, “You put too much stuff in me, and now I’m going to spontaneously un-seal and ruin your fancy schmancy local ice cream, organic frozen broccoli, and yearly Energy Star savings!”

We caught it before it could make good on its threat, but it’s true: we have too much stuff in our freezer, and if that weren’t enough, we have plenty of food in the cupboard and fridge, too. Everything we really like gets eaten and replaced. Everything else, which includes:

  • Food that we bought because we know we should eat more of it but don’t really like very much
  • Convenience foods like cooking sauces that I always think I will be happy to fall back on in a pinch (and never do)
  • Food that was given to us
  • Food that looked good at the store but wasn’t that enjoyable
  • Food that I bought for a particular recipe that I never ended up making
…tends to sit. Eventually some of it gets eaten, but some of it also ends up getting tossed. You’d think that since I know about the environmental impact of wasting food, I would be better about it. I’m not. I am an impulsive cook: if I find out about an exciting new recipe, I want to make it. Now. Even if I had something else planned that I bought all the ingredients for. I’ve been slightly obsessive my whole life; that’s probably not going to change.

But maybe I can fix the problem in another way. This week I’ve declared a zero grocery week — my first, or at least my first deliberate one. We’re going to use stuff up in the freezer and cupboards, get creative, and spend no money on food this week.
So far, things are going well. I’ve had:
  • Leftover Ethiopian stew (shiro wat) (3 days) over whole wheat couscous (1+ years in cupboard)
  • Popovers with homemade strawberry jam (thanks, Emily!) using the last of the milk and pantry staples
  • Mock tuna with canned garbanzo beans (2 months), homemade mayo (2 days), and other things in my fridge, on top of
  • Whole wheat pitas (freezer history: 3 months)
  • Miso soup with slightly wilted green onions (2 weeks), dried shiitake mushrooms and kelp (3 months), and freezer vegetables (1-4 months?)

Coming up later this week (possibly):

  • Matzo ball soup with onions, celery, carrots, lentils, and freezer vegetables
  • Pesto with whole wheat pasta, canned artichokes in the fridge,white beans, and whatever other vegetables I can dig up
  • Home made pizza using frozen tomato sauce and porcini and shiitake mushrooms
  • Potstickers with the wonton skins and seitan I stuck in the freezer months ago, plus shiitake mushrooms
A little lower on fresh vegetables than I’d usually like, but it’s not like we’re eating PB&J sandwiches day in, day out. By the end of the week, I hope to have made enough progress in the freezer to see what we actually have back there. I’m also hoping I’ll start to make better decisions about what to skip at the store.

Have you ever done a zero grocery week? Did it cut down on your food waste or make you more creative in the kitchen? How do you buy smarter at the grocery store?

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