Imperfect foods. A trip through most grocery stores will have you believing there’s no such thing. Every carrot, potato, cucumber and tomato we see, looks perfect. They’re all uniform, large, and full of color. Foods from our gardens though, don’t always come out as “perfect” as the ones we see in the stores. Does that make them bad, or do we cut off the “bad” parts and eat them? Today, we’re going to talk about those imperfect foods and how in reality, they’re as perfect as they come.
There’s nothing wrong with the carrot in this picture. We’ll wash it, trim it and peel it. We might slice and fry it, or maybe we’ll leave it whole and dip it in dressing. It would be amazing steamed and served with some of the pig we bought at the fair. Slow cooked all day with a roast in a crockpot, that might be the winner though.
Sometimes our tomatoes grow too fast, causing them to split. If we don’t catch them in time, those splits might even heal. A tomato like this would never make it to the store. Not only does it have a split, it’s small. Some people might even toss it from their garden. This one from our garden is going to be diced up and added to an omelet, made with eggs from our own chickens.
Pickle spears always seem to be that perfect size. They’re never as small as this cucumber. This one also has a weird end on it. That weird end, along with the rest of the cucumber, is going to be great sliced with salt and pepper on it. That’s if someone else here doesn’t beat me to it with their ranch dressing.
There are so many different kinds of potatoes. In our garden, we grow both yellow and red potatoes. Here you can see a “normal” red potato and one with a little extra to it. Both will taste the same. I won’t even skin these. I could dice and add them to a soup or stew. Maybe mashed with garlic and butter would be a good use? Most likely though, we’ll wash, slice and fry these up for breakfast. They would be great with our omelet.
Our gardens are going to produce what stores would consider as imperfect foods. Some will be small. Some might have weird or different shapes. Others might have scars or be different in some other way. They’ll all be from our hard work though. From us keeping the weeds back, watering when it’s dry and spending time with our families tending to the garden. As homesteaders, we waste little. Even if you have a rotted vegetable in your garden, that can be put in your compost pile to make good dirt for next year.
Before you decide to toss that small tomato or weird potato into the compost pile or feed it to your critters, ask yourself it it’s going to taste any different. Try to think of a way you could use it. Once cut up and cooked, it’s hard to tell if something looked different in the beginning. Enjoy the results of your hard work and eat those perfect foods.