Off the Pig’s Back

May 2, 2014 by

Warm potato salad with a yoghurt mustard dressing

I hesitated writing this post. Why? Because the following dishes were cooked using ingredients that were dumped. I get black sacks of old fruit and vegetables for my pigs from a small green grocer in my local town. It’s a pretty good green grocer in that you can get virtually anything you could want (in season and completely out of season). In this respect it often has a better selection than the local supermarkets. For this reason it does really well.

A lot of the stuff is pretty shook but quite edible for pigs. And other times I fish stuff out and really wonder why? I have microscopically examined stuff and for the life of me couldn’t find a thing wrong with it. In fact I would have been happy to pay full price for it.

There is so much about food waste in the media that I wonder how someone running any business can be so casual about what is in effect throwing away money. I have never gone by use by/sell by dates in my life. I use my nose, my eyes and my cop on to decide if something is safe to eat. I came from a family that never wasted food. Not because of financial constraints, but because we were educated to believe it was wrong to waste. Even when I had more money than sense, I never would have dreamed of throwing away a chicken carcass. In fact my (ex) husband used to joke I put stuff in the fridge and let it grow whiskers. Then and only then I dumped it.

The dish pictured above is made from a bag of salad potatoes and bunches of scallions that I found in the black sack. I made a dressing using Greek yoghurt, grainy Dijon mustard and some lime juice (from a lime also dumped.) The salad potatoes had a few eyes which was maybe why they had been dumped and the scallions a few yellowing outer leaves.

cock-a-leekie soup

This cock-a-leekie soup was made using potatoes and leeks that were dumped.

I had boned out a chicken carcass as I was using breasts in one dish and the legs and wings in a stew with haricot beans. I browned off the carcass and then made stock with it. When it had cooled I flaked off the remaining chicken and added it to the soup.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

The aubergines in this dish were also dumped. It was really, really delicious. In fact so good that the chef who normally doesn’t like “tomatoey” stuff told me he really enjoyed it.

The recipe is in the previous post here.

I make this sweet spicy pepper relish at least once every two weeks with peppers that are in the black sacks. Very often I use packets of chillies that are also dumped to add to it. When I get a large quantity of chillies I make Jerk seasoning, recipe here.

Fennel and Mushroom Ragout

This fennel and mushroom pasta dish was made using three massive and completely perfect fennel bulbs. I usually only buy fennel in summer from the farmers’ market I go to. But when I discovered them in the black bag I couldn’t bear to dump them in my compost heap. And the pigs won’t touch them. Recipe here

I have made orange curd in the past and used it in a luscious chocolate cake but since I am off sugar at the moment I just put them in the compost as the pigs don’t eat any citrus fruits. Check it out here. In fact it is on the list of my most popular posts on the blog.

The reason I hesitated about his post is that so many people are so squeamish about food. I know many who would be absolutely horrified I used ingredients that were dumped to cook with, a lot of this is due sadly to food safety concerns and indeed food safety bodies, but I think if you look at the pictures you will agree that the food looks delicious. And you will have to take my word for it that it was and we have not been sick or poisoned.

It’s food for thought. What do you think you would do?

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