Pantry Items: Is This Food Waste Too?

by Anne Maxfield on November 14, 2016

accidental-locavore-pantry-itemsThe other part of food waste that probably really goes ignored in your kitchen?

Pantry items.

They’re not as perishable as fresh food but they do go bad.

Or just take up space.

The Accidental Locavore noticed this when rummaging around for a can of coconut milk to use for my leftover Thai duck curry and found a jar of Cuban Mojito Simmer Sauce from Trader Joe’s.

True confession: it’s at least 3 years old (maybe more like 5).

True confession II: We packed and moved it when we moved from the city.

True confession III: They stopped making it around 2013, but there’s no expiration date that I can find.

accidental-locavore-pantry-mojito-sauceSo, here’s what I’m going to do.

Take one thing lurking in my pantry and make something with it. Maybe once a week.

Starting with the Mojito Simmer Sauce.

Maybe with the last of the pork we got from Four Legs Farm (which will also free up some freezer space). Browned and then popped into the slow cooker.

I’m sure there is a can of black beans and there’s always rice.
There’s dinner and I didn’t even have to go shopping.

It will be like cleaning out my freezer, or what Lior Lev Sercarz taught us at the spice blending class (also a good way to not waste spices) – just take something out and figure out ways to use it.

It’s a good challenge and makes you think out of your comfort zone.

Then, you can refill the pantry with what works.

You might find that a lot of that stuff in cans or jars, you can make yourself.

accidental-locavore-pantry-porkUpdate: I did use the Mojito Simmer Sauce with some of the pork, but as I reached for the slow-cooker, I spied my sous-vide machine and thought that might be a more interesting idea.

I marinated the pork and sauce in a sealed bag overnight and then cooked it sous-vide for a few hours.

Served it over rice (oddly enough, no black beans lurking in my pantry) and it was good.

Am I longing for more Mojito Sauce? No (and there are recipes online if you are).

But I am going back into my pantry for more inspiration.

What have you got lurking in yours that might see the light of day (or the inside of a pot) now?



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Maxfield November 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm

I love using the sous-vide machine. You can prep everything and finish it whenever. Our cupboards weren’t too terrible, sadly we had to toss a ton of stuff last year when we got a moth infestation and we’ve been good about not buying too much “on spec”.

Mary @ LOVE the secret ingredient November 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

The pork looks like it came out perfect! I noticed this same thing happening with me, so I’ve tried to be more careful with clearing out the pantry, but I’m sure I should do a sweep tonight and find something I forgot about. Definitely do not want to waste food!

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