Thursday, December 8, 2011

Serve Your Food Waste

Waste is a huge problem in our world, and an even bigger problem in America. It has become so commonplace to throw away that it no longer even seems like waste to many of us, as we gaily find virtue in tossing grandmothers favorite afghan in the trash pile, blithely thinking about how much better a new violet throw will look rather than that old lavender one. As troubling as that is (or should be) food waste is at least as troubling to me. There is often just as much energy involved in producing the magical appearance of that food on the shelf or produce pyramid (yes, vegetables also take a lot of energy to grow, from the water use, to the tractor, to the pesticides/herbicides, to the transportation) not to mention the fact that I cannot but help think of the starving people in my own, or your own, community that would love to eat that slightly blemished apple. Food waste seems so small at the time, just a bit here and there, but taken all together, it really adds up, and I mean that from a waste-not point of view, as well as a want-not when speaking of the money waste. Soooo, end of moral, what does this have to do with parrots? Quite a bit, I think.

For example, if you buy organic vegetables, or low-pesticide-residue produce for yourself, but do not care to eat the peel, why not give that part to your parrot? My guys love peels, from cucumber, to squash ends, to the winter squash shell leftover after I bake one. Just leave a bit more of the flesh on that you might otherwise have, and let them go to town! And just so you know, winter squash peel is edible. I know. I quite like the caramelized peel myself, and the parrots have no issue with any hardness factor I might find discomforting. I save the root end of celery and lettuce for them, the tough stems of greens and broccoli, even parsley stems are well loved.

In fact, many of these types of food waste are actually more beloved by my parrots than the finer parts we generally prefer. Aside from my little Aussies, green stems are liked better than the greens themselves (although none of mine will turn down fresh greens on a skewer) and Frank and Lola will do just about anything for a romaine root. Squash stems are loved by all, even the Aussies, not only do you have sweet crisp squash, but you also have that wonderful stem to gnaw on! 

Fruit should not be left out of the parrot compost pile. Melon rinds are great edible toys, as are strawberry tops. Apple peel is very popular, and as we all know form our mothers, the peel is the healthiest part! I will occasionally give mine citrus peel to gnaw on, and that is a very well loved foot toy. Or, should your bird be a quaker,  a highly coveted nest decor item, which makes that hard to achieve fresh, clean, but lived in look well within even the reach of even the most artistically uninspired quakers reach. And no, orange peel does not mold easily, at all, it just dries up even in the hot humid south, but I do take it out after a day or two.

The outside waste is not the only thing parrots will enjoy. While many seeds and pits are toxic, some are not. Both squash and melon seeds, along with all the gloopy gunk that comes out with them, are highly coveted here. I simply scoop out and serve, just as is. Cucumber and squash seeds, should you not require them for your recipe, are likewise well received here.

I cannot help you with that beef you cooked and then forgot, or the bread that molded on the shelf, (although if you are interested in saving money and wasting less it would not hurt to check your pantry and fridge often) but at the very least, you can save money on your parrot food bill and make less waste in that department! For those of you that compost.... well, this post might not be of use to you. But for the many that do not have a compost, hopefully your parrot will enjoy some of your food waste. Obviously, having this so-called food waste requires you to be partaking of the produce yourself, but that is another story. And not one for this blog, so have no fear, fresh food haters!

Seriously, though, try some flippy floppy peels, or a stem end with your parrots. They might really like the novelty! And as long as the food is organic or low-pesticide, I say let them have it!

1 comment:

saemmabel said...

A little late posting this but really appreciated your article. I'll definitely be more mindful. :)