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Blog Post

Ugly food
10/11/2018 1:51:52 PM

Reduce your food waste and your tastebuds will love you

Like a well-aged wine, spotted brown bananas are rich with flavour. They may look unappetizing, but those old, soft bananas are the best kind for better-tasting banana bread. And, why not enjoy those summer flavours you love so much – like the juicy sweetness of fresh corn-on-the-cob – anytime of year while also reducing food waste.

Food waste is a growing problem. About 35 per cent of Oxford County’s curbside garbage is food waste. Waste Reduction Week in Canada reports 40 per cent of all food produced in Canada is wasted. 

"Of that 35  per cent, 24 per cent of that is compostable through a black composter, while the remaining 11 per cent can be placed in the green cone system to be broken down," says Oxford waste management technician Conor Brennan. 

Take the Food Waste Pledge and commit to making choices that will keep your food from becoming waste. When you take the pledge, you will learn ways to reuse ugly food and more environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of your leftovers instead of smelling up your household garbage. Share the pledge with friends and family or get your child’s class involved with The Pledge For Kids at

image of canning

Local initiatives, like the Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation (ROEDC) canning workshops, saved 60 bushels of local produce from rotting away in our landfill. The classes attracted more than 300 people, who altogether canned 1,000 jars of food from peaches to jams and salsas. The groups also blanched and packed more than 500 freezer bags filled with peas, beans and corn.

“From the feedback we have received from participants, many have gone home and spent subsequent days adding to their pantry by canning more of the products they learned to preserve in class,” said Bernia Wheaton, of ROEDC.

If canning is not your thing, there are other ways to reduce food waste in your household, such as using a green cone. Recently, South-West Oxford council voted to install green cones at every community hall in the township in support of Oxford County’s Zero Waste Plan. If you rent a hall there, you will be encouraged to throw your food waste in the green cone, which works year-round.

And here is a seasonal idea to save an ugly pumpkin from the landfill. After Halloween, reuse your uncarved, decorative pumpkins to make a yummy pie. Try this old family recipe.

Pumpkin Pie and/or Custard

Part A: Pumpkin under Pressure

  • Cut pumpkin and remove seeds
  • Peel and cube the pumpkin flesh
  • Add to a pressure cooker with water
  • Cook under pressure for 15 minutes
  • Let cool until the pressure is down

This could be adapted to a Hot Pot, or could be done more slowly on a stove top or in an oven. Test the pumpkin with a knife. It is done when soft.

Part B: Pumpkin Pie


  • 2 cups of cooked pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of granulate white sugar or brown sugar or maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup of milk Note: Reduce to 1 cup or less if the pumpkin is wet from stovetop or pressure cooking.
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Beat or blend the eggs.

Add sugar and beat well.

Add the pumpkin, spices and milk.

Beat or blend well.

Pour into an 8 inch, deep pie pan previously lined with a crust

Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes –prevents the filling from soaking the crust

Reduce temperature to 375 and cook until the filling is set

Total time for one pie – 45 – 50 mins

To test if the pie is set, insert a knife blade into the centre of the pie. It will come out clean if the pie is cooked.

Alternatively, cook without crust in a pie plate or bowl for pumpkin custard, or pour the filling in to tart shells, reducing the cooking time.

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