Waste thyme: why should we buy more herbs than the recipe calls?
When was the last time you used all the fresh herbs you bought in the store? By no means? Me too. Each recipe calls for 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly minced twigs, and I go to the supermarket and get a plastic container that has at least three times as much. A few days later, I stood by the trash can and watched for a moment, then threw away a discarded plastic coffin.
I know I’m not alone; My friend sent me all the text messages complaining about the same thing. Twitter’s world is full of serious home cooks – and too many “waste thyme” puns.
So why do herbs sell so well? I put the question to the Bay Area Herbs&Specialties founder and chief executive Steven Hurwitz, the company from global suppliers for herbs and other products, and its packaging sales across the country.
Hurwitz’s most common vanilla container sold to retailers is the plastic “flip” container – the top and bottom of the plastic that snap together like clamshells – two thirds to one ounce of vanilla. This is the plastic coffin that’s highlighted in my fridge. Hurwitz explains that the container makes the herbs fresh.
“Basil is the most critical,” hurwitz said. “If you read it wrong, it can get dark. It’s hot, cold, and sensitive.” (he said, by the way, that it’s better at room temperature than the water in the refrigerator) the clamshell helps protect basil from the effects of environmental change during transportation or storage in the supermarket.
As for the size of these containers, Hurwitz says it’s driven by the grocery store. “If you provide consumers with the recipe they want, it will be a very small package,” he explained. “This will not give retailers the [dollars] they need to settle their bills.”
It’s not just the guilt that comes when the lid of the trash can closes. When food enters a landfill, it breaks down and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. According to the national resources defense council, throwing food also wastes water for production. It takes 42 minutes to toss a pound of bananas. An estimated 40 percent of the food in the United States has never been eaten.
“I don’t buy cilantro anymore, because I can’t use a bunch of cilantro,” said Dana Gunders, a senior scientist at NRDC.
If mass-market products are not cut, consumers should let grocery store employees know, says Kathy Means, vice President of industrial relations at the production and marketing association. He is a group representing producers, retailers and chloroplast distributors.
The means, the grocery store, responds to consumer demand. For example, as shoppers become busier and busier, the grocery store has a salad bar, which requires less home preparation. Similarly, pre-cut lettuce bags and pre-cut celery plastic containers are beginning to fill the shelves. But now, it means that people will eat less at home – maybe just at the weekend – which will make it more difficult for family cooks to spend more of their leftover food tomorrow at different dinners.
So, if the customer wants a smaller number, it means asking the employee at the grocery store. She said, “take care of your food.” “Ask,” can I buy two sticks of celery? ”
So far, consumers may have spent more time on Twitter than talking to local grocers or using their purchases to show what they want. Hurwitz, for example, says his company has created a one-fourth ounce container of size according to the needs of individual recipes. But the container has not yet taken off, because consumers haven’t bought enough containers to make it worth their time.
That is to say, some agricultural products are already turning to “fodder ready” mode. “We’re starting to see the spinach sold, and you can get the spinach as you wish,” said the NRDC’s Gunders. “I think it makes a lot of sense.
Hurwitz says fresh herbs also have some promising trends. For example, door-to-door companies like blue aprons have been asking for formula-sized herbs, and small, loose twigs are found in some groceries. He says the foods are often close to dealers, minimizing the cost of herbal medicines during transportation and often serving sophisticated customers who know how to store herbs.
However, for the herbs still sold in large quantities, Gunders suggests planning two meals at the store and the second at the first meal. She recommends freezing herbs, drying them, using cream to make herbs, or growing your favorite food in a pot at home.
Similar techniques have worked for gourmet rose. She dipped the cilantro into pesto and provided her family with herbal care kits. She tried to have fun with the ghost of the garbage can.
“I tend to like the challenge of using fresh food,” rose said. “Some of my favorite recipes were created to avoid food waste.”