If you spend any time cooking, you are often faced with the dilemma of what to do with your vegetable scraps. For example, a large onion equals about 2 cups chopped. But what if you only need 1 1/2 cups of it? In a wonderfully run kitchen, you would save every bit of usable food for another meal. But realistically, it’s just easier to toss it (and who is watching anyway). I know, I know, it’s not the best choice, but it’s what a lot of us do.
To help alleviate that dilemma, our Test Kitchen saves all our fruit and vegetable scraps, as well as lots of other random things. When we started this, we were all a little surprised at how many foods compost well. All of our Test Kitchen Professionals have big buckets on our counters that we plop our trimmings into. We have all been turning our trimmings into compost for a little over a year now, which has now become second nature to all of us. It has been interesting to see how many photos of our fresh food mosaics have been instagramed. Right now, the “Cooking Light Compost and Food Waste Recycling Facility” is located in my backyard. I've made an acceptable 3-bin system in the corner of my yard that houses the Test Kitchen trimmings. It seems to take about 6-9 months to turn our scraps into rich, dark compost. The process has been well worth the wait, as well as really beneficial in my 1st attempt at food gardening this year.
I recently learned that 48% of our readers grow food gardens, which I think is great. It really goes to show how much Cooking Light readers love good food. By the way, if you don’t know already, you need to check out the Cooking Light garden. It has been an inspiration to myself and many of our readers.
If you want to start saving trimmings from your own kitchen, you will want to find the right container to temporarily store them in. I asked Mary Beth Shaddix, the Master Gardener behind the Cooking Light Garden which container was best, "The best counter compost bin is one that's large enough for holding scraps but small enough that it'll force you to regularly empty it in the garden bin!". That's good advice, as fruit flies are great outside, but not so great inside.