Would you want to waste $612 a year?

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What would you buy if you had an extra $612 a year?

Would it be extra delicious food for the family that you can weave into culinary masterpieces? Would you put it towards a tropical holiday or a few amazing nights away in the freezing cold snowy mountains? Would you throw it all in one lump sum into your savings account, or for starting a savings account? Would you use it to pay off your credit card debt and get those colourful plastic thingies under control? Would you buy some sensational new clothes and outlandishly impractical shoes for yourself? Would you be a Good Samaritan and give it to charity?

To be honest, I haven’t yet thought what I’d spend my extra $612 on each year, but those outlandishly impractical shoes are tempting me already…

But why do I care what you’ll be spending $612 a year on when this is a food blog?

According to the news story I saw on SBS Evening News on 11/01/2013, $612 a year is what you’ll throw into the bin in wasted food (update 6/07/2014 – Sorry guys, the original link no longer works, but read this Sydney Morning Herald clip for a similar story, though they estimate its more like $1000 a year we’re throwing away in wasted food).

And the reason for all this wasted food?

Surely, we as a developed nation would have enough sense to throw things away because they are rotten. Alas, no! We Australians throw away $612 a year in wasted food because we are too fussy! We are now so programmed to eat food that looks cosmetically pleasing that we forget that food can be eaten in its many forms, polished or not, warts and all. Ok, no warts, but you get what I mean, right?

I did it only yesterday. I threw away an apple because it had a bruise and the skin was starting to get a bit wrinkly. But now I’m thinking that maybe I should have kept the apple. If I’d peeled off the skin and cut out the bruises then I could have cooked the apple into my morning porridge or as apple and cinnamon muffins.

I’ve got some pie apples sitting in the fridge that need using up too. Hmm, you think I could save maybe $3 by using them in my own homemade muesli bars? What else can I save money on as well as save the wastage? I’m looking around the room and calculating; there are some dried dates that are past their date, but they’re sweet and juicy still so they can become date scones (something I’ve always wanted to see if I could actually make), and there is some wilting spinach in the fridge, that could become spinach stuffed triangles or I could add it to lentils and make lentil patties for those nights I don’t feel like cooking.

I’m getting excited. This is becoming a challenge. What else can I save? Maybe I can add those soft tomatoes in the fridge to spaghetti sauce, or make that stale loaf of bread into breadcrumbs by toasting it in the oven? I bet I could also add those carrots I let go soft to the casserole I’m cooking tomorrow, or add them to those lentil patties I’m going to make on the weekend.

You can see that by thinking about what I’ve got on hand and planning out a few meals right now that I can already start saving some money. And if I were to do this every few weeks, I’m sure I’d be more than $612 richer each year because of it.

Do you think you could save 5 foods over the next month from being thrown in the garbage? What could you turn into something else even though it looks a little different than it used to? How much money do you think you could save by thinking about how much you throw away.

It’s definitely food for thought.


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