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What is the sound of one cuke rotting? July 6, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here, and please forgive me for riffing off the famous Zen koan “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” But geez. Don’t you just hate it when fruits and veggies go from being unspeakably luscious to rotting in a day or two?

It’s not just cukes, of course, though they’re notorious, especially if you have to cut them in half and then try to preserve the second half in the fridge. (Our friend Ben hates cukes, but I’m trying to eat more of them after reading about their health benefits. Still, even putting them in a salad and on a sandwich, there’s no way I can eat more than half a fresh cuke a day.) It’s also bananas, which in my experience have exactly one day of perfect ripeness between being too green and starting to get those brown spots and nauseating overripeness, much like the scent of paperwhites with their undertone of decay.

And what about mushrooms, cilantro, arugula, baby greens, green onions, tomatoes, sliced melons, raspberries, and prechopped veggies like bell peppers, onions, or sweet potatoes? Eat them the day you buy them or else. 

I’m not a fan of wasting food. But sometimes life intevenes—OFB hates melon, for example, so if I want to indulge, I need to buy a slice, not a whole melon, and sometimes something comes up so I don’t get to it as soon as I’d planned. Fortunately, we have three compost bins, so anything that passes our edibility measure can help enrich our future crops. But it still makes me sad.

Just this morning, one of our neighbors gave us a bag of Romaine lettuce that was bolting to seed. Once lettuce bolts, it’s way too bitter to eat. I’m trying to figure out how to sneak it into our compost bins while thanking her for her generosity. It really will make great compost! But I doubt she’d appreciate that.

I have no answers here. When agronomists have meddled with the nature of fruits and veggies—which is to rot and spread their seed as quickly and effectively as possible—the result has always been a loss of flavor, fragrance, and delicious texture in the fruit or vegetable. The  hard, mealy tomatoes and apples in our stores are testament to this. But what’s the alternative?

The French, Italians, and Japanese have a way to counter it: They buy fresh every single day, and only the produce and other foods they plan to serve that day. I’m willing to use this market model, too, despite the sacrifice of time and cost of gas. But even so, sometimes work, life, and general craziness intervenes, and you’re left with the sound of one (or one-half) cuke rotting.

When that happens, what do you do? I’d love to hear your solutions.

             ‘Til next time,

                           Silence

Comments»

1. Becca - July 6, 2012

I compost it and don’t feel (too) badly about it! As for buying fresh every day, isn’t that more likely to be in an area that has a place to buy produce centrally and easily? Like, walking down the street to the square?

And cucumbers, I found a nice way to eat them. I blend soy sauce, cream cheese and wasabi and spread it on cucumber slices. Delicious!

Hi Becca! Thanks for the great tip. Yum!!! As for the town square, you’re so right. I have to drive forever to get to even “local” farmers’ markets, whereas every town around here now has one that’s open at least once a week. The price one pays for living in the middle of nowhere!

2. narf77 - July 8, 2012

Shove that sucker in a blender…blend with some carrot juice and voila, healthful non waste in a glass (especially refreshing in summer). There is always a way to use things…it just takes time and thought and a bit of energy. Watermelon too much for you? Make watermelon jelly with the rest. Buy a parrot and force feed it (unless you are in California that is where it is no longer legal to shove watermelon via a pipette into the gaping maw of your chosen parrot companion although curiously…it is still entirely legal to shove copious quantities of junk food into your children…) with watermelon. From personal experience, they LOVE it and can render a huge chunk of watermelon into mush in a very small space of time. Grow your own and then when you have to throw out the remaining brown slushie from the crisper, you won’t feel so bad for the unknown gardening soldier who produced it with their blood sweat and tears. So many solutions…so many web pages…

Ha, thanks for the suggestions, Fran! You have a parrot?! We have Plutarch the Pirate Parrot, a yellow-naped Amazon now heading for his third decade, and what a character. No doubt he’d love watermelon, but our champion melon-eaters have always been our chickens, who to our amazement could shave every last bit of pink flesh off a watermelon, leaving a perfectly sculpted shell…

narf77 - July 15, 2012

Don’t waste that shell! You can make it into jam…I just found a recipe for corn cob jelly…who would have thought that you could shuck that cob and then use the cob for making a spicy accompaniment to a meal?! I am learning so much with my new found desire to reuse, recycle and repurpose any and everything that I can. We had an Indian Ringnecked Parrot called Cheech. Chong had to go because he didn’t like humans and went to a bird sanctuary to spend his days away from small fingers but Cheech ruled our roost. He would sit on our shoulders, ate every single chilli that was stupidly left out and was often to be found chewing holes in the clingwrap topping for any frozen meat product left out to thaw. We had to leave him in Western Australia when we moved to Tasmania but found some amazing people to take him so we were happy that he had a great home. We have 2 Javanese finches now and 2 dogs (husband 2 Steve’s pseudo kids) and we live out in the sticks in rural Tasmania on a 4 acre property that my reprobate leftist dad left to us. I swear he knew how hard we were going to have to work to get this place to where we want it to be but you know what? That old black crow (where I get the feeling that he has taken up residence) who utters a rolling comment on whatever we are doing out in the garden at any given time is a constant reminder that you make the most out of what you are given…when life hands you lemons you make lemonade…and lemon meringue pie and you make a house cleaner…and you use the zest in your furniture polish AND you grow your own lemon tree so that you have more lemons that you could possibly ever hope to suck in a single day. Bring it on crow…I think I am ready for you!😉


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