Using it up

We went apple picking this past weekend during our trip to upstate New York. Alert readers will recall that we also went apple picking in August, scoring a whole bushel in a few minutes (I begin to see how children might have been helpful on family farms…many hands! Though a lot of apples winding up on the ground too…).

Anyway, in finding space for the second bushel we brought home this past weekend, I noticed that we still had about a dozen apples from the last time going bad in the fruit drawer. No one was likely to eat them. So I used the simple recipe that  (if I recall correctly) Calee posted last time (just simmer and mash it, peels and all!) and made a big batch of applesauce that I have been eating this week. It turns out that even going-bad apples can make good applesauce!

One of my little sources of satisfaction in life is using things up. Working from home allows for a lot of that with lunches. My husband and I heated up some Costco pulled pork on Sunday night, which made enough to take us through at least two lunches apiece this week. On one day I decided to use up some kale by frying up the pulled pork and kale in some olive oil in a pan. It was quite tasty, and a very palatable way to eat a ton of greens.

On Tuesday night we had pasta. I cut up some peppers that were lingering in the fridge, plus some spinach that was on its last legs, and put those in the sauce. I have found that almost any wilting veggie can be accommodated quite nicely with some rice and pre-cooked sausage, all pan-fried together. It’s a double bonus if we happen to have some sort of sauce left over from one of our Sunbasket meal kits.

Anyway, there’s a balancing act here. Theoretically, using it up means we could go longer between shops, or buy less. But when the larder looks bare, the kids just don’t eat as many fruits and veggies. I need to have their favorites on hand.

But I can still enjoy my thrift. Now if you need me, I’ll be over here putting water in my shampoo bottle to extend its life for a few more days…

8 thoughts on “Using it up

  1. I don’t think I can take credit for that recipe, but that is how I have made applesauce in the past.
    My greatest use-it-up joy is now my little tumbling composter. Kids didn’t want to eat the grapes that fell off the vine- compost! Never got around to finishing that head of cabbage-compost! Teenager cut off her bread crusts before making a sandwich- compost!
    I grew a ton of flowers this summer. There’s a big (yet wonderfully middle-aged) thrill in knowing those apple cores, coffee grounds, and moldy blueberries will make even better flowers next summer.

  2. I find it even easier to just throw a bunch of apples (roughly sliced) into a crockpot with a cinnamon stick and a little water, forget about it for several hours, then eventually mash or use an immersion blender or just eat it chunky. I am always stunned how terrible apples make such great applesauce via this method.

  3. I really like using stuff up too and am also an under-buyer. I still feel like we end up throwing away so much food. My favorite “rescues” are French toast for dry bread and soups.

    1. @Sarah K – we are big french toast fans here too! However, what tends to get left on the bread front here are the end pieces, which the kids still won’t eat as French toast (why? why?) so I eat them. I guess motherhood means you always eat the end pieces on loaves of bread…

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