Breaking the mould

Am I unique in enjoying watching food go mouldy?

This anonymous story was made possible by an interviewee in July 2019
Image by Erin Chapman | @erins_illustrations

I am really interested in how vegetables turn and go mouldy. I’m just very curious of they way it’s going to look.

I never let things go to waste on purpose, but it happens sometimes. Once I had an old strawberry left outside of the fridge, and instead of throwing it away, I decided to keep it to see what would happen. The mould grew really fast, and one day I came back to it and there was no strawberry left. It had been completely swallowed up by a ball of fuzz. Since then, I have been keeping some food once it goes moudly by accident.

It’s not something you really ever see, so watching food decay is fascinating to me. Usually you wouldn’t examine mouldy food, it would go straight in the bin. But we shouldn’t be afraid of mould, it is another natural process that food goes through, and can make you more appreciative of the circular nature of living things.

Therefore, food waste for me isn’t when it goes off; it is when I throw something away, when it lands in the bin. Before that point it is not waste yet, even if you can’t eat it anymore. The food is still giving me some kind of value, and far more value than if it was in the bin.

Instead of feeding me nutritionally, food waste feeds my curiosity. I like to get surprised, and I get inquisitive about things. And having mouldy food can be entertaining, like seeing people’s faces when you show them your treasures.

There’s a trade-off though. If I need the space to store food I want to eat, then I will throw it out, as it is not worth it to keep it anymore. I also don’t want to intoxicate other people, so if I’m sharing a fridge, I wouldn’t keep it for long. If it’s not annoying, if it doesn’t take up too much space, I don’t mind just keeping it to see how it turns. The longest time I’ve kept something is a couple of months.

I never do this with meat, though. What I mean is, I never let meat go to waste, ever. I don’t eat meat often, but if I do, I’m very aware of it. In my mind, wasting meat is very disrespectful. Animals have nervous systems and go through suffering to feed me. I do see plants as really living things, even though they don’t feel pain, and maybe that’s why I don’t want to throw them away; they are still part of the life cycle we depend on.

Does food still hold value for you even if it is no longer edible? Share your story.

Published by foodwastestories

Sharing stories to tackle root causes of food waste. Plus food waste tips, long reads, and reviews! Follow on Instagram @foodwaste.stories

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