Kathleen’s Post: Pickling to Save on Food Waste

pickled cranberriesFrom stems to be discarded to whole veggies starting to turn brown around the edges, I have always struggled with tossing out what could be perfectly good food, even if it does end up in the compost. I have always wanted to learn to can properly but my daily schedule of running around from school to work to family to finding time to sleep (and repeat) has kept me rather busy. I finally took the time to look up ways to preserve items by pickling them without going through the entire canning process. And as it turns out, the recipe uses items that one probably already has kicking around their cabinets. It takes less than twenty minutes and as long as you have a can with a cover, vinegar, water, seasoning, and an item to pickle (or better yet, an item to save from browning their way to the compost bin), you are all set to go.

And now I pickle everything.

I base my measurements off of using 32oz Mason Jars so if you are using a smaller or larger jar, double or divide the recipe to the size of your jar. I always use the same base to pickle concoctions and then get creative from there depending on what I am pickling.

Base:

  • 1 cup vinegar (white, rice, apple cider, etc.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch of salt

Here are some of my own recipes that I hope you can enjoy at your home!

Spiced Pickled Cranberries

  • 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar (I use raw)
  • About two to three thick orange peels
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of all spice
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 bag of cranberries (preferably the ones left over from the holidays!)

Pickled Red Onion (perfect for taco night!)

  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • A pinch or two of salt
  • 1 thinly sliced red onion

Shake both jars to dissolve some of the spices and mix the liquids. Let stand in the fridge for about 1 hour before consuming.

These can usually last up to over two weeks!

So the next time you think about throwing out your kale stems or the asparagus that is starting to brown at the tips, cut off the bad ends and throw together a delicious and easy pickled vegetable jar that you can use for sides, toppings, on sandwiches and snacks!

Cheers!

Kathleen

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Jess’ Post: Follow the Food!

Hello everybody!

Last week I ended my blog post mentioning my ‘follow the food’ project. If any folks missed my post last week, by saying ‘follow the food,’ I mean seeing what happens to the food donated to food pantries at the indoor farmers markets!

JessPost1On Tuesday I had the opportunity to meet with Larry Brickner-Wood and Kelsey MacDonald, two of the many staff and volunteers who run the Waysmeet Cornucopia Food Pantry, to get some insight on how the pantry is run. For those of you who don’t know, Waysmeet is a combination of a food pantry, housing space for UNH students, and community center located in Durham, NH. Most students at UNH know Waysmeet for their community dinners and drum circles that occur on the first friday of every month (meaning this Friday!), but walk downstairs and you will find fridges, freezers, shelves, and tables stacked with food that is constantly being rotated and given away.

So for today’s post I’m going to start out by following some carrots that were donated to Waysmeet at the Exeter market on January 23rd. At the end of the market Kelsey and fellow Waysmeet volunteers gathered up their box of fresh veggies, sweets, and assorted products that were donated, and drove back to Waysmeet. Waysmeet has 3 traditional fridge/freezers, 3 stand alone freezers, 2 chest freezers, 14 shelves, and 6 tables that become filled with food when donations from Hannafords, When Pigs Fly Bread, the Beach Pea, Trader Joes, the Works, Paul College, farmers markets, and UNH MUB events arrive.

Donations are then processed by rotating the newer products to the back of the shelves and older products to the front to assure no waste occurs. Fresh produce that needs to stay cool is put into a fridge until the food pantry opens for pick-up. When the carrots from the Exeter farmers market arrived at Waysmeet they were placed on a shelf in a cool dark spot to keep them as fresh as possible until the food pantry opened on Tuesday at 4:30. When I arrived at Waysmeet, the food pantry was about to open and all of the vegetables were on display. I recognized mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, greens, leeks, and cookies from the box at the market all bagged up for individuals to take home.

Waysmeet has the ability to process and distribute frozen, boxed, canned, and fresh goods, meat, pastries, breads, and more to those in need. Most food pantries focus on dry goods, and the fact that Waysmeet has the facilities to process and distribute fresh foods in a timely manner was amazing to see! In next week’s post I’ll continue to follow the carrots I mentioned earlier and hopefully speak with some of the individuals who visit the pantry to pick up food every week.


Now for this weeks food waste challenge! Have you noticed that you can’t finish your loaf of bread before it starts to go stale or gets moldy? Here are some tricks to prevent your bread from ending up in the landfill! If your bread is starting to go stale, there are a few different things you can do:

  1. Make breadcrumbs rather than buying a tin from the grocery store. Smash up your stale toast and store it in the freezer until you find the perfect recipe (stuffed mushrooms or breaded chicken anyone?) to use them on.

  2. Love salad? Cut them into cubes and bake them with a little olive oil at 375 degrees for ~10-15 minutes and shake them around while they bake. These can be stored in the freezer as well, and pulled out when needed.

  3. Make bread pudding, stuffing, french toast, panzanella, mac n cheese! The list goes on!

If you’re struggling with mold on your bread it is probably a storage issue. The best way to store bread is by putting most of your loaf in the freezer and thawing out small amounts in the fridge as you need them. Mold grows in warm wet places and your fridge is a climate controlled space, so use it!

 

For more information on The Waysmeet Cornucopia Food Pantry, please visit: http://www.cornucopia.unh.edu/contact.html and http://www.waysmeetcenter.org/

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Charlotte’s Blog: For the Love of Bees (Wrap)!

Hello Everyone!

IMG_4030This week I want to introduce you to Bee’s Wrap, a beautiful and sustainable way of storing and transporting food. I first heard of Bee’s Wrap when I started working at Seacoast Eat Local’s markets and was instantly intrigued. The functionality of bees is now helping us in the fight to eliminate waste in food storage! This wrap can replace products like plastic sandwich bags, saran wrap and tin foil, all of which are non-reusable. It can be used to cover dishes, wrap and preserve vegetables and fruits in the fridge, and bundle lunch sandwiches.

Bee’s Wrap is a smooth, honey-smelling invention that can be molded by the warmth of your hands to fit the shape of whichever food you wish to store. Adding to the sustainability of the product are its pure ingredients; bee’s wax, organic cotton, jojoba oil and tree resin. Bee’s Wrap can be reused for up to a year and can be cleaned simply with cold water and soap.

Last week I mentioned in my blog that honey is an antibacterial agent; this component of honey makes it a perfect ingredient in Bee’s Wrap to help safely store your food and keep it fresh. Bee’s Wrap is a local business based out of Vermont. Sarah Kaeck, a hard working mother of three, created this product based around her love for food and her passion for sustainable living. My sister recently had a birthday and I gifted her the 13” by 13” sandwich Bee’s Wrap that she uses to wrap and transport her daily school lunches. After un-wrapping her sandwich, the material is used also as a lovely placemat. Working in a Montessori school, the functionality, sustainability, and beauty of this simple wrap appeals to the children and her coworkers. I am so excited to explore more of Bee’s Wrap products. Check out Bee’s Wrap at Seacoast Eat Local’s next market!

For more information, please visit www.beeswrap.com

Be Well!

Charlotte

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Marco Polo Market Soup

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Eating locally has never meant giving up global flavors for me. I just love food from everywhere else too much. Even back in the days of the Eat Local Challenges, spices got special dispensation under “Marco Polo” rules. Bringing local ingredients to the forefront of recipes from all over the world is especially satisfying in a food-nerdy way, confirming my conviction that eating locally and seasonally is good fun in its variety.

I picked up all but my Marco Polo ingredients at the last Winter Farmers’ market in Rollinsford (the next one is February 13th), and made batch after batch of this satisfying soup inspired by the Lonely Planet’s newish Thailand: From the Source cookbook. (Which I’ve had checked out from the public library for, ahem, awhile. It’s excellent.) It’s the lemongrass and ginger and chili combo that really sends this over the top on a dark winter night. 

Thai Northern-style Spicy Soup

From the market:

1 package Kellie Brook Farm chicken backs, for making chicken stock

1tofu  Two Farmers Farm shallot, minced

1 package Tofu and 1/2 tsp Maine Sea Salt, from Seacoast Eat Local’s table

The Herb Farmacy cilantro, 1 – 2 tablespoons minced

Riverside Farm bag of kale

From the freezer (local in season, squirreled away for winter):

1 inch Wake Robin Farm ginger, grated

White Gate Farm chile peppers, to taste

garden mint, 1 – 2 tablespoons minced

From away:

1 tbl Fish sauce

2 – 4 Kaffir lime leaves

2 tbl lemongrass (though we did once grow this in the garden)

Spices: 1 1/2 tsp of 5 spice powder or 1/4 tsp each of coriander, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper

Make the chicken stock. If you’ve made it ahead, bring it back to a boil then reduce to medium-low.

Add the ginger, kaffir lime leaves, shallot, lemongrass, fish sauce, chiles, and spices.

Cube the tofu and add. Remove stems from kale and rough chop or tear with your hands and add to soup. Allow to simmer about 10 minutes.

Stir in chopped mint and cilantro and serve!

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Meet the SEL Interns: Kathleen

Hello Everyone!

KathleenMy name is Kathleen and I have been a Seacoast Eat Local (SEL) member since fall of 2015 and I am more than excited to continue my work with SEL into 2016. I fell in love with local harvest when I was young and helping my mom with our vegetable garden. When I was about 15 I started working on farms and at a seasonal restaurant that served food with mainly local ingredients. I remember once a costumer telling me, “These egg yolks are too orange. They can’t possibly be real.” But they were absolutely real because hours before service I was the one collecting them from the owner’s chicken coop. I loved the fact I could say that along with saying I personally know the women who harvested the salad greens and the man who raised the beef for the burgers. I loved the community of local food and its movement, I loved watching people’s faces beam when they tastedfresh food and I especially loved the way I felt when I consumed fresh foods.

That same love led me to where I am currently; a senior at the University of New Hampshire majoring in Nutrition and Wellness with a Women’s Studies minor. Since my first restaurant job, I have worked at a few of Portsmouth’s restaurant which has led me to bartending and waitressing at The Black Trumpet Bistro where we provide local and sustainable food and drinks thanks to the ever talented and giving Evan and Denise Mallett. While many of my passions are embedded in the restaurant industry, for me, it really comes down to working with people and educating people on health, providing fresh and local foods, and promoting such a valuable cause. I am beyond proud and excited to be working with SEL and reaching out to so many people and sharing the benefits of local, wholesome foods. My internship means so much more than compiling a food pantry database and ways to build a mobile market. Working with SEL is a gateway to building my career and networking with so many appreciated people and getting the wordout about local, healthy foods!

I look forward to my time here with SEL and if you spot me at a market or come into The Black Trumpet don’t hesitate to say ‘hello’ because in all likelihood I’d love to say ‘hello’, too!

Cheers!

Kathleen Fitzgerald

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Jess’ Post: Figuring Out Food Waste

Hello everyone!

winter2Last Saturday was my first time working for Seacoast Eat Local at the indoor market in Exeter. It was so amazing to see how many people came to collect SNAP tokens and even more amazing to see how many tokens were used by customers at the end of market. One of my favorite parts of farmers’ markets is the community of people that is created. Every individual adds something to the mix just like a veggie in a recipe! As I mentioned in my first post, I’m used to working at farmers’ markets as a vendor selling veggies so it was quite an experience to be a part of running the market itself.

As a part of my internship with S.E.L., I’m tailoring my experience to focus on food waste education at the consumer level. Throughout the next few weeks I’m hoping to share some big picture facts with you as well as some simple habits that can be practiced to reduce food waste in your home.

First things first! Food waste occurs at multiple levels including farms, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Did you know that 30-40% (roughly 133 billion pounds) of the food produced in America is either wasted or thrown away [USDA]? That equates to about “20 pounds of food per person per month” and more than 240 pounds a year [World Food Day USA]. Reducing food waste in your home is easier than it seems and can save you money, reduce your impact on the planet, and can support your community through donations [EPA].

spinachA large amount of waste occurs at the beginning: farms, but it’s not really the farmer’s fault. We live in a country where our fruits and vegetables must look as beautiful as the plastic toy food kids play with, when in reality the food is nutritious, filling, and yummy even if it has a little ding or bump on it. How many times have you been at the farmer’s market or grocery store and picked up a vegetable or fruit to make sure it’s not brown or imperfect in some way? At what point in time was this custom adopted as a sound practice in our culture? Why must food have beauty standards in our country? It is going to be cut up, smashed, or digested eventually. It is food. An imperfection doesn’t change that. This week I challenge you to buy the first fruit or vegetable you pick up. Not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have the ability to pick the nicest apple out of the pile, and because of this ability we have, waste can become a byproduct.

Last November NPR published a story on the two filmmakers (Rustemeyer and Baldwin) of ‘Just Eat It,’ who only ate discarded food for six months. They collected over $20,000 worth of food in six months and found that date labels on food don’t really mean much in terms of when the food goes bad. In following posts I’ll go into more detail on this subject! The article ended with Rustemeyer stating that “we shouldn’t even call it food waste, because of all the connotations associated with that word. It’s surplus. It’s extra food in our system that should not be in the landfill, that needs to get to people who need it” [NPR]… Which brings me to my first project!

For the next couple of weeks I am going to ‘follow the food’ donated to the Waysmeet Cornucopia Food Pantry at the indoor farmers markets to share what really happens when you try to reduce your food waste and act with our community in mind! Follow up next week to hear more!

 

For more information on:

‘Just Eat It,’ and the article NPR wrote, please visit: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/18/456489490/in-just-eat-it-filmmakers-feast-for-6-months-on-discarded-food

The Waysmeet Cornucopia Food Pantry, please visit:

http://www.cornucopia.unh.edu/contact.html and http://www.waysmeetcenter.org/

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This Week from Charlotte: Immune Boosting Smoothie

Hello Friends!

 

This week I am presenting you with an immune boosting smoothie filled with nutritious ingredients handpicked from last Saturday’s market in Exeter! Smoothies are a great way to incorporate a large bulk of nutrients into your diet from one sitting/serving. My smoothie creation this week focuses on keeping your immune system strong during cold season. Foods high in both Vitamin A and Vitamin C will help to enhance your immunity. Generally, green and yellow fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin A. Berries, citrus fruits and greens are usually good sources of vitamin C. Note that it is more effective to consistently eat foods high in these vitamins rather than take large doses as you feel a cold coming on.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of chopped Raw Siberian Kale (Two Farmers Farm)

*1 cup of chopped kale meets your recommended daily value of both vitamin A and C.BLOG

  • ½ Small Cooked Beet (Meadows Mirth)

*Contains a large variety of both minerals and vitamins.

  • 1 Small Carrot (Meadows Mirth)

*1 small carrot meets your recommended daily value of Vitamin A.

  • ½ Medium Sized Macoun Apple (Hackleboro Orchards)

*Adds fiber and sweetness to your smoothie.

  • 1 Tsp. Raw Honey (Riverside Farm)

*A natural sweetener. One well Known function of honey is that it functions as an antimicrobial substance in

your body.

  • ¼ Cup of Raspberries (Store bought or frozen from summer season)

*Adds sweetness and vitamin c to your smoothie.

  • ½ Cup Kefir (Store bought)

*A probiotic that promotes overall gut health. Kefir can be compared to yogurt, adding creaminess to your smoothie.

  • A dash of Ground Cinnamon (Store bought)

*Adds flavor to your smoothie and functions as a digestion enhancer, etc.

  • 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds (Store bought)

*A “superfood” filled with omega 3’s, iron, calcium and antioxidants!

BLOG1

 

Don’t be afraid to incorporate vegetables into your smoothies. Vegetables in your smoothie will add more fiber and nutrients to your diet and can easily be masked by the sweetness of the fruit and other sweeteners you add to your smoothie. Enjoy this seasonal, low calorie (yet filling), nutrient packed smoothie!

 

Be Well!

Charlotte

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Meet the SEL Interns: Jess

Yesterday, all of you had the pleasure of “meeting” Charlotte, an intern with us through the Nutrition/Dietetics program with an interest in disease prevention and fostering nutritionally sound lifestyles. Today, we are pleased for everyone to be introduced to Jess, who comes at food and health from a somewhat different vantage point.

Howdy folks!

JessMy name is Jess Kowalski and I’m one of the new interns at Seacoast Eat Local! I’m a senior at UNH working towards a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability with a specialization in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems as well as minors in Education and Art. In addition to this internship and school I’m also an apprentice for Kit Cornell, a local pottery artist in Exeter, NH.

In my spare time you could probably find me making snacks and dancing with friends, taking pictures with film, climbing, going on adventures, or creating things from random finds. This semester I’m joining the climbing team at UNH (the first sports team I’ve joined since 3rd grade…) and this summer I hope to hike the Long Trail in Vermont!

Hailing from the Seacoast area (woo Portsmouth!), I’ve been fortunate enough to work for Abby Wiggin at Wake Robin Farm for the last four summers. Working for Abby is what really spiked my interest in where our food comes from and the food system itself. Eventually I hope to combine all of my studies and interests by working with a Farm-To-School program that includes an art component, by educating the community about food waste (and waste in general), and by living minimally, simply, and fully!

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Meet the SEL Interns: Charlotte

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Seacoast Eat Local “family” continues to grow and be supported by a wonderful team of rotating interns. Mostly, they are students at UNH but their interests and disciplines vary widely. This week you will get to start ‘meeting’ them through their regular blog posts. We also encourage you all to say hello to them at markets!

We are proud to have them and know they will enhance the quality, efficiency, creativity and impact of our work

-Jill, Director of Programs for Seacoast Eat Local

 

Our first intern blogger is Charlotte:

To all my blog readers and my Seacoast Eat Local lovers, Hello!

CharlotteMy name is Charlotte and I will be interning with Seacoast Eat Local (SEL) this winter into the spring. I would like to start my first blog off with a little background information on myself. I am currently a senior at the University of New Hampshire studying Dietetics.  I come from a small ski town that most of you New Englanders are familiar with, North Conway, NH. I can say that growing up in North Conway has played a large role in my interest in nutrition and wellness. I must also thank my family for valuing food and all aspects surrounding it.

My main area of interest regarding nutrition falls under prevention and wellness. I want to promote healthy eating to communities and help people understand that this lifestyle can prevent disease. I am beyond excited to be working with communities in the seacoast area where my knowledge can be broadened on community based nutrition. While working for the first time at SEL’s winter market last week I was overwhelmed by the support for both providers and consumers involved in the market. I am only looking forward to becoming more familiar with Seacoast Eat Local and all its efforts to keep our food system sustainable and to keep healthy living affordable for all.

With that said I am also hoping to bring what I know about nutrition and apply my knowledge along with my ideas towards this great movement. A part of me will be accomplishing this through this very blog, where you will be able to learn more about your local farmers, create farm fresh recipes and focus on seasonal eating. Stay tuned for a weekly update on food, nutrition and local agriculture!

Be Well,

Charlotte

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Have You Ever Wondered How To Join Our Team?

It’s been an action packed 90 days with Seacoast Eat Local! In just my first few months, I’ve found us to be an organization that is moving, growing and always seeking to meet the needs of our producers and consumers. Our heart seems to be right where it should be (aside from in our stomachs!)- with our community. Of course, we have a lot of fun at the same time- Shelly and I can certainly get up to our share of hi-jinx and we have a cracker jack team of interns who are already changing our lives!

There are many exciting things on the horizon for Seacoast Eat Local. 2016 is bound to be one exciting year! I’ll look forward to sharing a lot of news with you all throughout this new year, but in the meantime, I wanted to let everyone know that our family of board members, staff, interns and volunteers is growing!

For summer/fall 2016, we are offering a 30 hour per week stipended position to run our SNAP services at several farmers’ market location. To learn more about this position and other opportunities to work with Seacoast Eat Local, see our “Join Our Team” web page.

Join Our Team

 

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