Friday, April 30, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I am so embarrassed about this week's food waste. This week really got away from me. At the beginning of the week, I had 13 credit hours to complete for my continuing education requirement to keep my physical therapy be done by today. I recommend that if you have to do continuing education for a license you have, do NOT wait until the week before it needs to be done. This is the first year I've really had to worry about it because last year I had just completed my Doctorate and the two years before I went to a course that surpassed the number of hours I needed. Anyway, I digress...I could make excuses until the cows come home. My continuing ed IS completed, by the way.

So, on the left is my failed experiment at making yogurt. It just didn't set. I don't know what I did wrong. I'm going to give it another go, but I was really bummed. I had one more jar in addition to what you see here, but I tried to strain it to make it thicker. It tasted like yogurt...creamy with a little tang, but it was the consistency of cream, not yogurt. On the right is a container of black beans. I'm still getting used to figuring out how much dried beans expand when you cook them. I made a TON the last time I prepped beans. I thought I'd figure out ways to use them up before they went bad, but I just didn't have the time with everything else going on. What you don't see here is the equivalent of about 4 apples I had to get rid of because they went soft before I could make them into applesauce. Did I mention I had a bad week?

If you're curious about others' food waste, check out Frugal Girl. I estimate I wasted about $8.50...most of that coming from my failed yogurt. Sigh.


  1. Beth, don't give up on trying to make yogurt! You'll get it eventually, and it will save you *so* much money. The critical steps are making sure you have enough active culture, and incubating it at the right temperature. How did you incubate it? I'm guessing it was a yogurt maker, since those containers look similar to the ones from my yogurt maker. When mine wasn't setting right I discovered my yogurt maker wasn't keeping it warm enough! The yogurt needs to stay at 115F for 8 hrs. I've come up with another incubation method that seems to work well (no yogurt maker, heating pad or crockpot required) and will be posting a tutorial on my blog soon. How much starter did you add to the batch? Perhaps it wasn't enough. Usually 2 tbsp is about right. BTW, you can use "failed" batches of yogurt to make popsicles, smoothies, or add to your baking (i.e. muffins) so you don't have to waste it while you work on getting it just right :)

    Re: the beans, I always cook up an entire package at once, then freeze them in 1 1/2 cup portions (roughly equivalent to 1 can) so they are ready to go when I need them, but they won't spoil on me in the meantime!

  2. Karen - I did use a yogurt maker (the very one I bought at the yard sale) and it seemed like it was warm enough. As a matter of fact, the middle jar seemed too hot almost. I used a full container of yogurt as a starter. I also used coconut milk, which shouldn't make too much of a difference (my daughter is allergic to soy and dairy). Thanks for letting me know that not all is lost with the failed yogurt. I should try it in smoothies and such. Thanks so much for your comments!!! I'll keep an eye out for your tutorial.

  3. Sounds like the yogurt maker's heating unevenly. I've heard so much about people getting inconsistent results with yogurt makers that I don't think I'd recommend them to anyone. There are some pretty thorough directions for yogurt making here: including several different options for incubating. If I had a heating pad, I'd choose that method as I know lots of people get great results that way. I don't have a heating pad, so what I do is pretty much the "Cooler Method", but I put the cultured milk in a Thermos jug and wrap it in towels, then put it in the cooler surrounded by Mason jars of hot water. So far it's gotten better results than my yogurt maker (as a bonus, uses less electricity, too!)
    Also, does the yogurt you used for the starter say "contains live/active cultures"? That's important!
    Thanks for stopping over at my blog and leaving a comment :)

  4. Your reasons for having waste are much better than mine! I am glad you were able to complete your cont. ed.

  5. With the beans, if you have too much once cooked, split them into 1 or 2 cup containers and freeze, you can add them to casseroles, soups, sauces, and tacos for a last minute meal with protein.

    Yogurt is on my list, but I am afraid of it... I like really, really thick greek style yogurt, so I am afraid it won't be thick enough.

    Glad you completed your credits.