Geraniums, Pop Bottle Garden Update and Food Waste in the Bakery Department

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Geraniums

This time of year I am so happy that I dug up my geraniums and brought them in for the winter. A few posts ago I talked about these beauties and now they are in full bloom! What an encouraging lift they are for me every day. I hope to be using these plants as accents this weekend when we host our Church’s Easter Sunrise Service at our home. Stay tuned.

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Pop Bottle Garden Update

My pop bottle experiment has gone fabulously! I have replanted all 24 tiny basil seedlings into their own individual space using two biodegradable cardboard egg cartons. Free and easy container space which of course I love.

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The other seeds I tried in the pop bottle soon overtook their spaces blowing off the tops of the bottles within a few weeks. A single tomato plant and zucchini squash were my next experiments. I might have to plant them into another pot instead of waiting until May to set them out. What do you think?

I will definitely be using this method next year for starting my seeds. It worked flawlessly.

Food Waste in the Bakery Department

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As you can imagine grocery stores have a lot of food waste every day. To the left is an example of what I pulled off the bakery shelves on a typical Friday morning. Luckily not all of what is pictured in the cart is thrown out. Not yet anyway. We reduce our out of date items and give our customers a chance to purchase them at a lower cost. After that, if items are not sold on the reduced rack then yes, they will end up in the trash. Sad huh?

On a good note though, our store does donate many items that are coming close to their expiration dates to local food pantries and other organizations that will gladly take them.

The bakery and deli departments have another unique way we use items that are damaged or otherwise considered unsellable to the general public. We make stuff with them. What kind of stuff? Yummy stuff!

Every morning the produce man comes around to the bakery and deli departments to see if we can use any of their day’s freshly pulled damaged or undesirable items. Deli usually grabs the tomatoes and peppers and lettuce and re-purposes them using them in salads and the hot foods case for lunch.

Bakery on the other hand can use just about any of the produce. Carrots get ground and used in cakes and muffins, Cranberries get made into coffee cakes, peppers, squash, and asparagus get made into quiche, and of course apples get made into pies. How glorious! This week we got berries. Lots and lots and LOTS of berries. Over ten cases of strawberries in fact. “What the heck do I do with all of these cases of strawberries?” I said to my store manager.

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I made lots of things with these strawberries. Scones, fruit breakfast bars, filling for cakes, and finally freezer jam. Yep when you are drowning in berries make jam. I made freezer jam because it was easy and quick. Nine, 16 oz. jars. Yippee! I use the jam in my thumbprint cookies which I bake a lot of. I still have a 5 gallon pail of frozen cut-up strawberries in the freezer to use in the future.

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So you might ask why produce had so many bad berries? Many times they arrive that way on the truck. They come in too ripe or too damaged to sell. We get credit from the warehouse on anything that is damaged or not up to par. Instead of throwing them in the dumpster we try to use them. I love turning items that would normally wind up in the trash into something wonderful. What can I say I am a sucker for a freebie! -MM

Published by marymargaretripley

I am a professional Bakery Manager at a privately owned grocery store. I also owned my own bakery for over four years. I have been baking for 15+ years professionally. I also teach canning and preserving classes and have been gardening since I was 5 years old. I live in Western, NY with my husband, teenage son, Bernie the Cat and Muffins the Hamster.

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