With Pesach fast approaching, I came to one very important realization: there is very little room in either of my freezers. The cabinets and food storage area in the basement also look pretty full. That spurred me to repost last year’s Low-Waste Frum blog post about the systems I’ve developed to ensure the least amount of food goes to waste, as well as to create a printable menu for planning meals around items in the freezer, cabinets, and basement food storage to make room for incoming Pesach food. Food waste is a serious sustainability issue, with approximately 20 percent of America’s fresh water, fertilizer, and cropland used to grow food that winds up in the trash. With grocery prices increasing the way they have been, not wasting food is good for the planet and your pocketbook. (I made the menu planner in both weekday and Shabbat versions, and it’s downloadable here. I keep it on the side of my fridge to record the item I find and what I plan to make with it.)
We’re not to the inventing muffin recipes stage of pre-Pesach eating yet, and I haven’t had to play fast and loose with food combos, like the year our last Shabbos before Pesach featured deep-fried deli roll wontons because I had both frozen deli slices and wonton wrappers in the bottom of the fridge. That recipe has become a family favorite and is asked for at family celebrations like birthdays and graduations.
At this point, I’m just poking through the freezers for items we can add to a meal. Along the way, there are interesting discoveries. When you don’t have hotdogs, but you do have two hot dog buns, they work as well as bread slices for a snack with orange marmalade or butter and salad. Not as good as butter and salt on matzah, though. The important thing is that the less food I have to get rid of or move, the happier my Pesach prep will be.
Not wasting food requires the science of planning and the art of creative leftovers. Desserts are exceptionally forgiving to adjustments. Building desserts from ingredients I have on had resulted in one of the best cakes I’ve ever made, a Dr. Pepper cherry cake. And a simple addition can help move those leftovers. I couldn’t interest anybody, not even myself, with the leftover couscous from last Shabbos. But repurposed with chicken broth, it made a delicious and filling lunchtime soup during the week.
Tomorrow it’s time to start on Purim baking, but with my mind already in Pesach mode. I’d love to hear from readers about their favorite ways to remix items in their cabinets, fridge, or freezer before they go to waste!
Click here to see the full list of changes I’ve blogged about, and their impact.
Amazon bag ban carbon emissions celery Chanuka Chanukah Chanukka Chanukkah COVID disinfect donuts doughnuts elul energy food waste frum Hannukah Hanukka Hanukkah jewish lag b'omer landfill lashon hara laundry line dry low-waste mishloach manos mishloach manot orthodox passover pesach plastic purim recycle recycling reduce retail therapy reusable reuse shopping single-use teshuva washcloth water zero-waste
Thank you for the inspiration