Selective Squeamishness. I've been thinking about this a lot the last two weeks as I've dug through and processed and eaten through some fruit that many others would turn away from. I love this term and believe I originally found it in The Tightwad Gazette. (Seriously a great resource that anyone trying to live below their means should own!)
I grew up on a horse farm and there we grew a large percentage of our family food. We canned and froze almost all the vegetables and most of the fruit our family would eat throughout the year. We even raised our own beef. I think that as a child I wasn't squeamish about food because I knew the cycle of food. I helped my mom plant the gardens, weed, water, fight off potato bugs and other critters and then harvest and store. If a cauliflower had some bad areas we just cut them off, we didn't toss the whole thing. If some tomatoes had a few bad spots they got cut out and the rest still was used for canning tomato juice. We saw the bugs on the plants and knew the work it took to grow them. You didn't just throw it away, you did what you could to save what you could. There was very, very little waste.
Then I was a waitress and learned about tossing food because it was 'old' at the end of the day. I went to college and didn't have to work for the food I ate. I lived on my own and could pick what I wanted at the grocery store. Why would you buy less than 'perfect' food when you are paying hard earned money for it?
Now I am the grateful beneficiary of produce that is past its prime. Some is down right yucky. Some is almost perfect. Most is somewhere in between. I am learning to be selectively squeamish all over again! I am choosing to not let bad spots cause me to toss out something, but to think about what the good parts could still be used for. I'm getting creative and helping our family's grocery budget at the same time.
I do think we are all on a scale of squeamishness. I heard a story this week about someone who wouldn't eat apples off their tree because they had spots and holes and weren't big enough. They would go to the grocery store and get apples that had been shipped in and sprayed like crazy to kill everything that thought about treating it as food. Obviously this person was very high on the squeamish scale. They there are people who will eat anything...very low on the scale. I'm on the low side, but am somewhere in the middle.
I wish this produce was from my own garden so that I knew how it was grown. For now I take whatever steps I can to make it better for us and assume that none of it is organic (although some might be). I will balance this produce with organic choices in order to minimize our exposure to harmful chemicals through our food. I am doing what I can with the resources I have and am pretty proud of my accomplishments so far.
If I had been squeamish we would not have 7 pints of strawberry jam, 5 quarts of homemade garlic, red pepper and vidalia onion spaghetti sauce, 2 quarts of peaches, pears yet to be canned, and many, many other things we've eaten already. It is a great thing to cultivate selective squeamishness! This entry is posted at Tammy's Recipes Kitchen Tip Tuesday.
A big Thank You to Gayle over at The Grocery Cart Challenge for featuring this post at her Weekend Link Luv. If you are visitng from there, please look around and leave me a comment so I can come visit you! I've been reading blogs for about 4 years and finally have joined the conversation. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again!