Why Waste Food Wed potatoFood Waste

Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe to Eat?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

What Can We Do With Old Potatoes?

We have all done it. We cannot resist buying that big bag of Idaho potatoes, yams, or delicious sweet potatoes.

It is sometimes cheaper to buy that whole bag of potatoes, so we do it with the best intentions to make delicious and nutritious meals. But then reality kicks in–that bag sits on the counter for weeks sprouting little round ‘eyes’. And sometimes, if it sits long enough, some of them will have a green color. Is this safe to eat?

According to the National Capital Poison Center (poison.org):

Potatoes contain two kinds of glycoalkaloids, both natural toxins, called solanine and chaconine. Exposure to light greatly increases the formation of chlorophyll and glycoalkaloids. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of many plants and is not toxic. However, the green of chlorophyll is a marker that can let you know that there could be an excess of glycoalkaloids. The entire potato plant contains glycoalkaloids, but the highest concentration is found in the leaves, flowers, “eyes,” green skin, and sprouts. The lowest concentration is found in the white body of the potato.

Sprouted spuds aren’t necessarily destined for the landfill: the potato itself is likely still safe to eat, so long as you cut away the little growths and green spots. And you can cook it up, and mash it with salt and butter, but what if you made something even more fun?

Homemade Chips

Homemade-chips

Making your own potato or vegetable chips, whether you fry or bake them, is easier than you think. We have found that once you do make your own, it is hard to go back to the oversalted store version!

Here are the advantages: You get to pick which vegetables to use. And you choose the spices and seasonings you want to use for your homemade chips. And: Making your own chips is fun and easy.

Some Tips: Root vegetables are best, such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beets. Not only are they colorful, but they each also have a flavor of their own. Just make sure you remove those little “eyes” and cut off any part of the skin that looks green.

Recipe

Ingredients
1 large carrot, trimmed
1 large parsnip, trimmed
1 sweet potato
1 Yukon Gold potato
1 large beet
Canola oil, for frying

Basic Seasoning Mix:

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

The Step-By-Step from Spruce Eats

There are plenty of recipes out there to make your homemade chips, but Spruce Eats is one of those sites that is always thinking about food waste. Here is this weeks recipe:

Step 1

Get all of your ingredients together first. This makes the whole at-home cooking process much easier. So start by pulling all of those potatoes and questionable veggies. Get your seasoning choices out. Bowls, oil, pans, and peelers too!

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Step 2

Peel off the skin, making sure all those little ‘eyes’ are gone as well as any green tone on the Idaho potato.

Step 3

Now slice them thin. It helps if you have a mandoline, a food processor fitted with the 2 mm slicing blade, but if don’t have one then a sharp knife works just as well when cutting the vegetables into very thin slices (1/16-inch thick).

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Step 4

Fill a large bowl with ice water and transfer the carrot, parsnips, sweet potato, and either Yukon gold or Idaho potato to the ice water. [Note: do not miss this step! soaking any starch produce item in cold water like this makes an absolute difference!]

Now, fill a small bowl with ice water and transfer the beet slices to the smaller bowl of water. Let the vegetables sit in the water for 30 minutes.

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Step 5

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Drain the vegetables and arrange them in a single layer on the towels. Pat the vegetables to remove any excess water.

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Step 6

First, Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Second, line 2 plates with paper towels.

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Step 7

Heat three (3) inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F using a deep-frying thermometer. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

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Step 8

Add about 1/2 cup of vegetable slices to the oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes.

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Step 9

Remove the vegetables to the paper towels to drain.

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Step 10

First, remove the paper towels from the baking sheets and spread the fried vegetable chips in a single layer on the baking sheets. then place in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining vegetables in batches, making sure to maintain the oil temperature of 350 F.

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Step 11

Put the warm chips in a large bowl, add the seasoning mixture of your choice, and toss lightly.

Our basic seasoning mixture from above: In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to be creative here and try different spices on different batches.

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Enjoy!

Benefits of NOT Wasting Potatoes and Vegetables

In addition to saving the planet we all live on, when households save food through consumption, you personally save money. But more important is gaining the knowledge that one small action (throwing out just one potato with ‘eyes’) has a ripple effect in your own neighborhood.

  • Water is conserved
  • CO2E is contained.
  • Landfills grow smaller.
  • Your family learns an important lesson in community action–because not everyone in your neighborhood has enough nourishing food on their plates tonight.

Remember: Think before you buy food. Plan your meals and use every part that is edible to #StopFoodWaste.

For more benefits of stopping food waste go to the EPA.gov site here.

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Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

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Food Waste

How to Make Italian Crazy Sauce

Why Waste Wednesday

DID YOU KNOW? The average American household wastes approximately $1,600 each year in produce. This is enough to pay for more than an entire month’s worth of groceries for a family of four! 😱

Produce is a major food staple for many and yet it is often wasted.

Some reasons for this waste could be:

  • Poor storage system for produce, making items go bad faster
  • Allowing items to go bad without eating them, which often happens when we forget we have them
  • Not repurposing parts of a fruit or vegetable to make other dishes

Italian Crazy Sauce Recipe

For today’s #WhyWasteWednesday post, we want to give you an option to use a tomato that might be going bad soon and turn it into a delicious meal! With our fun recipe for Italian Crazy Sauce you can take those overripe tomatoes in your fridge and make a yummy sauce to dip your bread into! 🍅 🥖

INGREDIENTS LIST

💚 6-8 Overripe tomatoes

💚 1-2 cloves of garlic

💚 Basil powder, 3 to 6 fresh sprigs, or 1 Tablespoon basil pesto

💚 Oil of choice (e.g. olive oil)

💚 Pasta or Toasted bread for dipping

Now it’s time for preparation! Make sure to follow the steps below. 

6 STEPS FOR PREPARATION:

  1. Remove any parts of the tomato that may be molded.  Then chop into smaller pieces. Set aside. (If you need additional tomatoes you may add any other tomato including cherry tomatoes)
  2. Heat oil in pot or pan on medium high. When oil is heated, add chopped garlic and sauté for 1 min.
  3. Add tomatoes in next and stir them. Sauté the tomato mixture until hot then add basil and stir.
  4. Pull pan off the burner to cool. Now in a blender, puree the mixture. (You can also use kitchen scissors to make the larger pieces smaller if you need to)
  5. Leave in the pan until cooled completely.  This will thicken and enhance the flavor of the tomato sauce into a rich taste. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it gets.
  6. When pasta or toasted bread is ready, heat sauce and serve. Enjoy!

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #WhyWasteFoodWednesday, please email mbereket@carly-bragg

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Why Volunteer? It may be tax-deductible!

It is no coincidence that #NationalTaxDay also happens to fall within National Volunteer Month!

That makes April the perfect time to consider volunteering with Food Finders. In addition to all the wonderful benefits of volunteering, both personally and globally, you may also have an additional incentive that tax day brings to light — volunteering may be tax-deductible.

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Possible Benefits

Now don’t get too excited about your possible tax day saving idea! Although volunteers contribute their services without pay, they may be able to deduct certain out-of-pocket expenses on income tax returns within limits set by the tax laws. It is something worth noting today, on Tax Day, but it shouldn’t be the reason you consider doing such impactful work. The purpose of volunteering isn’t to get something in return, we just thought it wouldn’t hurt to look into receiving a tax deduction–if you qualify for it.

How do I know if volunteering may be tax-deductible?

While volunteering itself is not tax-deductible, any out-of-pocket expenses used for work may count as fair game for tax deductions.

Some examples of deductions noted by HR Block could include:

  • Specific uniform needed to safely perform work duties
  • Mileage expenses spent traveling in your own vehicle to a work site
  • Travel expenses for an airport, train, or taxi to far location for a charitable service

Please visit this link for a more detailed breakdown on what may count as a potential tax deduction for volunteer work.

We are definitely not tax experts at Food Finders, so we do suggest consulting a tax representative for more information to determine if may be eligible for any tax deduction on out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. mileage expenses incurred from volunteer work).

The Real Benefit: Being A Food Finders Rescue Hero

By volunteering with us here at Food Finders, you are making a huge impact in your community and this makes you a hero! Consider taking time to volunteer this month and post a picture of your food delivery with the #IAmAFoodResuceHero

Please visit the volunteer page on our website for step-by-step instructions on how to become a volunteer with Food Finders.

Food Finders is always looking for volunteers to help us rescue and deliver food that is needed to help feed food insecure communities. The tax idea is just a cherry on top of an already wonderful volunteering cake! Happy #TaxDay

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Food Finders van in front of food donor

A Day In the Life of Food Finders

What happens when a grocery store has 5 cases of produce, a day’s leftover bread from the bakery, and a pallet of coffee, all past their sell dates? Or when a restaurant finds they must offload their perishable goods prior to shutting down their business? Although food waste has finally leveled off, many businesses still find themselves with excess, edible food.

Food Finders continually answers the calls of restaurants, grocers and others who find themselves in need of a resource to donate food rather than carelessly and irresponsibly tossing it in the trash. At first glance, the solution may seem simple—send a driver over to pick up the food—problem solved!

But food rescue and recovery is a little more involved than that. A typical food bank may accept donations dropped at their door. Food Finders takes it a few steps further. All new donation requests are funneled through Chris Wong, Food Donor Acquisitions Manager, and are first qualified. How much food is it? What type? How is it packed, stored, contained? Will there be a loading area for pick up? Once some of the basics are determined, Chris can assign a staff driver to large donations, or volunteers are connected who can manage smaller donations.

That food does not find its way back to Food Finders’ warehouse. Instead, it’s delivered immediately within a close distance. The community benefits from its local donors, and the donor feels good about helping the local community. They can also receive a tax write-off.

The request gets relayed from Acquisitions to the Agency Coordination staff who are responsible for matching the donation to a partner recipient agency. No refrigeration on-site? Then you must have a program that distributes immediately or same-day. Each agency is vetted to determine if they can accept the food based on their location, volume of need and type of food requested, and program schedule.

From there, volunteers or staff drivers are set to pick up. Some donations occur weekly or daily. Others are occasional. The Food Finders app is downloadable, and volunteers are encouraged to use this app to remotely access available food donations. The app will indicate approximately how much food is available, the location of the donor, who to contact, and where the food is assigned for distribution. Maps with directions are provided along with any special instructions.

This process happens hundreds of times weekly.

Sounds like a well-oiled machine? It is!  And after 32 years of running its food rescue program, Food Finders is still finding ways to streamline the process. Plus, we are always adding to our network of donors and volunteer base. If you’d like to make a donation or want to share about or get involved in our program, see www.foodfinders.org. We’d love to have your join us in reducing hunger and food waste!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.