Waste Not Want Not

lexi7October 14, 2008

I cut my teeth on that phrase, but when does it become a liability? For example, I save apple peelings in the freezer until I have enough to use in a potpourri boil. Considering the high cost of electricity, wouldnt it be cheaper to just compost them? Considering the high cost of bug spray, wouldnÂt it just be cheaper to put them in the trash? No matter how hard I try, I always have too much flour left over from dredging chicken. Because of bacteria, it must be tossed, but I was trying to think of a use for the tad of flour. Am I straining at a gnat and catching a camel?

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I've wondered similar things. Throwing things away or donating has become more of a recent activity. I've found that in some cases, saving just doesn't make sense. Will the item still be usable when I need it again? Do I want to clutter up my house or dedicate the space to it? Does someone else need it more than I do? My grandparents had over seven buildings of stuff when they died. A lot of that had to be thrown away because it was no longer good, outdated. They were poor even before the Depression. It made sense to them to live that way.

Some people here save their leftover meat, veggies, etc., for soup in the freezer. If you would use the leftover flour for something like that, I'd save it. If not, compost or throw away.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 10:05AM
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If you save the flour in the freezer, and use the flour for cooking all bacteria will be killed at the high temperature just like it does when you cook the chicken. Do you make gravy with flour?

Some people store all their flour in the freezer anyway to prevent bug infestation and to prevent it from going rancid if they do not use a lot of flour and it sits for a long time.

If you are using bug spray for compost you are doing it wrong. Microbes and bugs are what make compost.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 11:42AM
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Certainly if you're running a freezer for just apple peels, it's a waste. I have a great little freezer but couldn't justify keeping it going. Resulted in too much waste, plus the cost of operation. Often there's times that keeping something would be a possible advantage in the future, but the question is, are you organized enough so you know where to find it when you need it? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has bought something I thought I needed and found the one previously purchased a few days later. Buying on sale is good if organized. But right now I'm looking for stuff I bought, and now need, and can't find! Spending time looking for something is non-productive. I could be doing better things, or watching tv or sleeping or chatting on forums!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 8:51PM
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I freeze apple & citrus peels for use in winter...the steam from simmering helps a bit in heating the house while making it smell wonderful. And I keep a container in freezer for leftover veggies...when full I add potatoes, celery, etc. and we have soup.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 12:46AM
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Why not eat the apple peels? When I core a pineapple, I eat the core too.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 9:30PM
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I've cut up about 30 pounds of apples in the last couple of weeks for dehydrating. I never thought of steaming the peels. Growing up, we used to throw our apple peels in the woods for the deer to eat. Now I just throw them in the compost.

We just got a new wood stove to heat our house. I could see putting a few peels in a pot of water on top of the wood stove to add a little humidity and a good smell in winter.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 10:06PM
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Here's things I will save and then donate/sell:

Clothing - Those in good condition, clean but stained or ripped - these can all be donated to Goodwill. Anything that is in good to excellent condition will be sold on their shelves, clothing that is fair condition is often donated to second/third world countries and anything that is beyond wearing is sold for industrial use where they shred the material and reuse in other products.

However, it's always an argument with my husband, he feels that anything that is missing buttons or stained should just be tossed immediately. I wash everything and then donate it all regardless.

The other stuff I like to collect is any and all metal - pie tins, aluminum cans, hangers old barbell weights and any other household metal. These I sort and take to my local salvage yard (about a mile away so not much gas wasted) and sell every 2 or 3 months. Usually I come away with enough money - average of 5 to 10 bucks to give to my kids.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 5:57PM
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Back in my younger days when we'd stop at a bar/restaurant after work, the bar portion would give away snacks during happy hour as do many places. But the snack was different. Potato peels! They'd use fresh potatoes for the restaurant and of course have a lot of peels. Waste not, make a profit. They'd deep fry them, salt the DAYLIGHTS out of them and give them away to the bar patrons. They would leave some potato on them but so do a lot of people peeling taters! They were a tasty, albeit high sodium snack and wow how people would scarf them down. Then of course get quite thirsty and the register would chime.

Since then, it's bothered me to see people throw away potato peels. They don't have to be deep fried, roast them on high heat and they're much healthier. Put the peeled taters in water and use them the next day or have the peels as another side dish. It's like throwing away the skin from turkey. Yeah, a bit high fat, but microwave the daylights out of it and you have a crispy tasty snack!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 10:35PM
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We'll soon be getting used to saving and reusing more things, I think.

I had a disagreement with our local Member of Parliament a couple of weeks ago (just prior to our recent election).

He (owner of a "Wendys" fast-food store), during a discussion of high and recently increased capital gain exemptions for farmers and small business people, thought that such was available to everyone ... and I disabused him of that idea, in a hurry. Up to $100,000. capital gain exemption, cumulative during his/her lifetime was available to everyone a few years ago ... but they took all of that away, a few years ago, which, compared to the much larger (and recently increased) capital gain exemption available to the other, wealthier segment of the population, was not fair.

He said that he thought that there should be no capital gain tax at all (to encourage folks with money to invest in our economy, to put people to work). I said that such a system was hugely unfair.

And ... did he know what the rich folks do with their capital gains?

They pay to lift the equipment from a factory in this area, leaving the building an empty shell and the workers unemployed ...

... and move it to a newly built building in Mexico, Viet Nam, India or China ... where they pay $3.00/day, instead of $20.00/hour here.

I should have asked him what he thought was fair about a little girl working in a "Wendys" store for minuimum wage, plus - maybe - a few cents per hour, being required to pay tax at regular rate on her income ...

... but when the owner of the shop, who had bought it for a million, later sold it for 2.5 million, would be required to pay not one cent of income tax on that income?

And, since the staff had helped him build the business to be worth so much more, he'd share some of the extra value that they'd helped develop, with them, of course?

Of course!

Pigs might fly ... but I ain't seen any do it, lately.

Many local employers want their workers to be available for part-time work, thus not having a full work-week ...

... but to be available on call, which means that they cannot find other part-time employment.

Added to which, the pay rate for many is so low that, were they able to work a full work-week, it would still be difficult for them to manage on that low level of income.

Many (most?) of us had better get used to learning to live on the cheap.

I don't appreciate being messenger of such depressing news/analysis.

If you can show me where I'm wrong - I'd like to hear it.

ole joyful

P.S. On the other hand, having lived in the Third World for a while and seen the terrible conditions under which many live, I can't find it in my heart to resent their having work, to feed their family and maybe get a home slightly above bare minimum.

o j

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 12:19AM
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OK I admit it, I watch those shows on the TV about people who are running into financial problems..debt everywhere, credit cards maxed out...you know the kind of thing. It seems every single one of them comes down to the old basic...Live within your means. I'm sure most of us do, and in these uncertain times I'm sure more will be looking at this forum for help. Waste not want not.....for me meant taking the leftover pumpkin puree made from last years Halloween jack o lantern (which was cooked and put in the freezer), making my thanksgiving pies, then some scones, a few muffins and taking the last cup plus and combining it into a pumpkin spice cake. Not a huge saving but, I used something I had, and did not waste. Little steps add up to bigger ones...in my book anyway.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 12:40AM
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Something that works for me.
Instead of dredging chicken or any other meat in flour, I have one extra sugar sprinkle- don't know how it is called exactly. It is plastic container w/ sifter on top. I fill it w/flour, salt,pepper,sometimes spices and simply just shake it over the meat, turn and repeat, then saute.
This way there is very little waste from over shaking. In the other one I have vanilla sugar.
For the ones that sew. I save little pieces of soap, about 1" by 2"( plus minus), let them dry and use instead of chalk on fabric. The bigger pieces are little stronger and I sharpen the edges w/ knife as needed.
Other thing I do, when washing or prewashing dishes for diswasher, I put few drops of soap in the cup or bowl( the dirty one), put some water in it, soak my little sponge or scrubie in it as needed.If it's hand washed, I prewash everything without running water w/ the soapy water and then I rinse everything at once. I save lot of soap this way. Hopefully some water too.
Everytime I change my cats water,I pour the old one in one of my plants around the house.
Make scrambled eggs in microwave. Saves dishes. Using plastic cooking bagsas often as possible. Usually I can put everything in one bag. No pots to wash! And when it's cooking in oven, it gets so yummy and juicy, plus I always try to make a cake or cookies at same time so I don't waste energy later

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 2:41AM
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You are all so knowledgeable. I learn so much here. In our area, we do not need more moisture in the house, but we do need air freshener. So I put the apple peelings, with a little spice, in muffin tins and set it on top of the heater. It will dry out slowly, and I will be able to use the dried peelings in potpourri.

Czechchick2 the sugar sprinkle is a wonderful idea. Thanks! Are you talking about the kind of sugar shaker with a single hole about the size of a pencil that is used to hold sugar for coffee? I will start looking for one. A Cajun friend said to use the flour immediately to make roux for gumbo and freeze it. I am going to try that too.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 11:42AM
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lexi7, it is the one w/the half dome sifter on top of it but there is so many different ones. You can even use wondra flour container, it has small holes on top and it is bigger.It stores more flour too. Even the wondra flour works O.K. You can have couple of them w/ different seasonings mixed in.You eventually find what works well for you.
I don't cook as much at home anymore so I keep just the small one.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 12:56AM
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Years and YEARS ago (back when I was using the cardboard parmesan in the plastic container) I started using the empty containers. Salt and other seasonings in one for meat, flour and some seasonings for chicken, sugar in another. All carefully labeled..they all look similar. Don't use cardboard parmesan any more, but I still have my old containers. And use them! Saves mixing up too much and having to throw it it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 7:48PM
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Nan_nc the plastic parmesan cheese container is perfect for flour and seasonings. I have a new one in the fridge, and it is perfect. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I also use the parmesan shaker for flour and keep one by the sinks in the bathroom and kitchen for dispensing baking soda which I use as a cleanser. Works great and keeps the moisture out far better than the cardboard box.

Of course I also keep coffee cans and ice cream pails for a variety of uses from canisters to mini dishpans to cleaning pails to scoops to whatever else. I also use the small dish soap bottles and transfer from the larger bottle to have an easier to use size. BTW, if I had a dishwasher I can't imagine washing the dishes before washing them in the dishwasher! What a waste! Seems to me most all manufacturers say to just scrape the dishes and put them in and not rinse or wash, especially if using an enzyme detergent.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 10:58PM
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I love the idea of using soap slivers as dressmaker's chalk! Why didn't I think of that? But, boo hoo, my sewing machine malfunctioned today. It will only sew in reverse! I'm good, but not good enough to sew a garment backwards.

Now I'm faced with a dilemma: The machine is a wonderful computerized Singer that is 36 years old and has sewn thousands of garments, drapes, curtains, etc., without a single malfunction until today. I'm serious - never had it professionally cleaned or repaired. I think I'll give that a try before I invest in a new one.

Once I made an adorable pinafore for my 4 year old granddaughter out of our old white shower curtain. When she saw the pinafore she told her mom, "It reminds me of Grandma's shower curtain." When she visited and saw our new shower curtain she exclaimed gleefully, "My pinafore IS Grandma's shower curtain!"

You're right, cynic. DW mfgrs all say don't rinse your dishes, just scrape off the junk. The first cycle is just a rinse cycle, rinsing all the dishes at once in a tiny amount of water that drains before the detergent is dispensed. I hope you don't rinse your dishes, czechchick. Water is plentiful where I live, but I still don't like to use more than I need.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 6:40PM
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The parmesan shaker is such a good idea. Does anybody have a similar idea for almond extract and vanilla flavoring? I always tend to pour too much and thought something that drops the liquid might work better

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 8:46AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Lexi, use a measuring spoon. I have found that when I "dump cook" I use considerably more than when I measure I use less which is especially important for expensive ingredients like the extracts.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 11:38AM
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Use baby wipes (the cheapest you can find) to use as bathroom cleaners. Much cheaper. Also good for spots on the carpet.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 1:51PM
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Nan, the parmesan cheese shakers we get here have the same size lids as a regular canning jar. I just save the lid and get rid of the plastic jar. I use the half-pint canning jars and one of those lids for cinnamon/sugar. The seasoned flour in one is a great idea.

Lexi, I have apple trees and I save the peels, too. I chop them up fine in my food processor and then freeze. Use them in muffins, cookies, etc.

Penny wise and pound foolish is what I've heard it called when it costs more to do something frugal than it saves. My mom was good at this. She saved pickle brine, ruined many meals with it trying to sneak it into things. When everyone started making remarks, she started keeping it in the fridge and taking a drink of it every now and then. She had high blood pressure. All that salt made her have to take more medicine. And that stuff was expensive.

I've been guilty of it sometimes too, trying to sneak something in that I wanted to use up and ending up with a huge amount of something nobody would eat. Now when I have leftovers if there's enough, I freeze to eat later on. If it didn't go over well the first time I promised myself I'd eat it myself or feed it to the dog or put it in the compost. If you've got small kids sometimes you can put a little bit of something left over on a Ritz cracker and they think it's party food. LOL

I've bought things at garage sales my kids wouldn't wear. One grandkid dealt with his unwanted stuff by taking it to school and "losing" it.

One of the most wasteful things I do is I eat too much. It's bad for me. I know some people who'll eat too much and say, "Well, gotta run an extra mile today to burn that off." Back in the day, it was common to walk where you needed to go. Somebody running to burn off calories would've been laughed out of town. Now people hop in their cars to go a block. School kids ride the bus when they could easily walk or ride bikes. Not to mention that a schoolbus is where the bullies beat you up. Too many people have gotten things so confused. Food should be fuel. Shopping should be to buy stuff you need and only special occasions for something you want. Nowadays, every day is Christmas.

I have a big chest-type freezer. Buy several packages of meat at a time when it's on sale. Freeze garden stuff. Make double recipes, freeze half for later. I always freeze flour right after I bring it home from the store. It kills the weevil eggs. I freeze margarine, chocolate chips, nuts, extra dry milk powder and bread. My freezer saves me having to make emergency trips to the store. When I take the last package of something out, I put it on my list. I buy extra wire baskets at the dollar store, and group stuff: meats, baking supplies, veggies, fruit.... This way I know approximately where everything is. And I keep a pair of gloves near the freezer in case I have to dig around for something.

If you use baby wipes please keep in mind most of them are not flushable. I do like something disposable when cleaning the bathroom, cleaning up after someone who's sick or cleaning up a pet accident, but I buy a package of paper hand towels from a cleaning supply place near here and use a spray bottle with disinfectant in it. Don't flush these, either. I get the disinfectant in a huge jug and fill my own spray bottle. I don't have carpet. I have pulled too many carpets up and have seen the filth that collects under the pad, where no vacuum cleaner will ever get. Plus there's no combination worse than a dog and a carpet -- unless you factor in an old person who gets sick and can't get up and let the dog out. Believe me, that happens way more than you would think.

The administrator at the doctor's office where I used to work used to say that no one needs to buy air freshener, that the best smell is CLEAN. In today's kitchens, though, there is always that lingering cooking smell, but I don't mind that so much. I don't allow anyone to smoke in my house. Nothing gets rid of that smell, or the yellow film that settles on the ceilings and other surfaces.

Joyful, I share your sentiments. It seems the middle class pays for everything here in the USA. The poor get free medical care, food stamps, subsidized housing. The rich have their tax shelters and loopholes and their "good old boy network". The middle class bears the burden, yet no one helps them feed & clothe their kids or send them to college. I had an employer that once told me the tax breaks are better given to the well-to-do because they're more likely to have businesses and provide jobs for other people. Yeah, they provide jobs that pay barely minimum wage. The rich get richer, the poor get assistance. My daughter was on welfare for awhile when her kids were little. They paid for daycare so she could work. But as soon as she got so she was making over minimum wage they cut that off and daycare got almost all her income. It was a hard cycle for her to break out of. To my mind, the line between "low income" and "middle income" is too low and doesn't allow people to break out. That's why we're seeing second and third generation welfare recipients now.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 10:50AM
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ilene in ne, O.K?

When you make $2.00 to pay the day care ...

... and they cut off $1.00 of subsidy ...

... that sounds to me like a 50% tax.

Like you say ... not much incentive to make a pressing effort to get ahead.

Plus - where are the guys who helped make the kids?

And have equal responsibility to pay their way, once born.

Which continues until they are grown and independent.

Otherwise, they're freeloaders.

One improved thing about the situation is that modern scientific knowledge of DNA has made it pretty difficult to deny paternity!

A lot of help that is, though, if the father has his wallet air-gun stapled shut as far as support for a fathered kid is concerned.

Good wishes for making a choice to contribute more to the community, nation, country and world than you take ... thus helping build a highway to a happier future for our kids and grandkids.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 5:12AM
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Yeah, Joyful, the father of DD's two boys is actually the father of 6 children, that I know of. Twins before he met DD, then DD's two, then he finally thought enough of someone to actually marry her and had two with her.

Yes, a DNA was done. But still no help. Most of the time the guy didn't even work but a month or so out of every year. Can't get blood from a stone, don't they say? Even if he had stepped up to support, he couldn't have made enough to support all 6 boys. I told him once that he signed on for his responsibilities when he did the act that created these kids. He replied to me that all he was doing was "havin' fun".

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:39AM
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my mom made it through the depression in a Catskill farm with a pump in the kitchen, and a detatched bath - my dad, a year older than she was, lived through the depression with a lady who cooked, and a gent who 'did for them' by way of yard work, heavy lifting, and laundry.

ironically, it's my dad's side of the family who are the dumpster divers (nanna predated dumpsters, but belonged to a club called the 'seagulls and raccoons' who picked through the middens and ash cans of the Main Line) back 'between the wars'

between the two of them, after the estate sale, and the yard sale, and the St Vincent de Paul society's scavangers, it still took 3 construction dumpsters to empty the house after poppa died.

I'm neither here nor there - small house, big TV. older cars, brand new computer with a 12" Wacom tablet, second-hand brand name clothes (I love my collection of Tahari jackets...)and custom-fitted boots that cost more than the computer.

I am, honestly, an arts-and-crafts packrat who has hundreds of dollars invested in the tubs I keep my collection in...much of it scrap I acquired by working at an upholstery shop, helping them strip the old fabric off antique furniture.

on the other hand, I just helped a coworker outfit a bedroom for a teenaged cousin who was moving in on short notice with the clothes on her back. she got a little coffee table, two night stands, a lamp, a butterfly chair, two throw rugs, curtains, some extra fabric for decorating, and three quarts of coordinating paint, along with some little decorative boxes, a sewing kit, a 'bath bucket' full of potions and lotions and bandaids and such...which is way more than I ever started out with as a foster kid, so it not only helped clear out my attic a bit, but it made me feel like there was a point to me 'needing' to rescue that coffee table from the trash men last year, eh?

mostly, I think balance is the best we can hope for - something I mention to my more affluent friends whenever they come crying to me about their credit card debt, their 'beauty shop' bills, or why they have all this stuff, and still can't seem to find a job or a guy they can stand for more than a few months....

then again, they've all admitted they don't get why I live like I do, but seem to think it's ok because I'm married, and settled down...what they don't remember is that I was like this before I got married, and it helped me attract a guy with the strange habit of paying for things with a credit card, then going home, and paying off the credit card that same night (including a 7 night mexican vacation with air fare for two, a semester's worth of college classes, or a 50" TV)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:34PM
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I cut up some of my DH's old socks this morning. The top bands make nice scrunchies. The rest makes good dust cloths or disposable wipes.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:11PM
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lexi7, I like your idea for the socks. What I do with old ones is make doll clothes out of the ones with upper bits that are still usable and the rest (the foot) gets tossed into my scrap fabric bag (most of which is used for cleaning up any number of messes).

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 5:58PM
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