Thanks for visiting Eat or Toss!
What we do
This is a space for answering those really scary questions, like, is that white stuff on grapes going to make me sick? Or, is it OK to eat a hard-boiled egg with a greenish yolk? The goal is to take the mystery out of our food, so we can understand it better, enjoy it more, save money, and throw away less. Along the way it's also just pretty fun to learn about things like the power of salt to dissolve aluminum foil and the reason some apples are covered in all those little pinprick dots (it's how they breathe!).
How it works
About once a week, EatOrToss posts an image of a confusing food situation, along with a quick, science-based explanation of why you should, well, eat... or toss.
While we entertain many different types of questions, we focus on highly visual dilemmas, with the hope that readers at home can compare whatever they're seeing in their kitchens with the images on screen. Questions are only answered after thorough review of authoritative sources and our research often includes interviews with food scientists, post-harvest researchers and other experts in horticulture, botany, plant pathology, microbiology and food safety.
You’ll find the results written up in quick summaries — so hopefully, next time you encounter an onion that’s turned turquoise or an apple that looks like it used to be a chimney sweep—you’ll know what to do.
We also occasionally post some of our favorite "use-it-up flexipes" for those foods that always seem to be sold in larger quantities than recipes require (I'm looking at you, parsley and heavy whipping cream), and other things that seem especially likely to get trashed (extra restaurant fries and pickle juice, anyone?).
Where do the images come from?
The images featured on EatOrToss come both from our own kitchen adventures and those of our readers. If you encounter a confusing-looking clementine or a wonky watermelon, we hope you'll photograph them and send them to EatOrToss@gmail.com. We love questions from readers!
The bigger picture
According to the National Resources Defense Council, America throws away something like 40 percent of its food. Forty percent! And a lot of that is being dumped because people mistakenly think that good food isn't safe.
At the consumer level, NRDC reports, that forty percent is like going to the grocery store, buying five bags of food and dropping two of them in the parking lot. Much of that is lost to industry practices that favor perfection and abundance over preventing waste, but consumers’ direct share of that loss is also huge—something like a whopping 40 percent of the food wasted in America comes from ordinary people doing ordinary things like leaving half a meal on their restaurant plates and letting vegetables wither in their fridges.
And, a lot of that waste stems from people not knowing enough about their food to determine if it's still good or not. When, as a nation, we're throwing away nearly half of our food, the “when in doubt, throw it out” philosophy feels like pretty weak (expired?) sauce. Our hope is that this site will help people take the “doubt” out of these daily food decisions—and keep good food on our plates and out of our trash cans.
Who we are
The blog is largely authored by journalist and researcher Rachael Jackson—that's me! I hate throwing away usable foods, but am also terrified of things like botulism (just typing it gives me a shiver).
In addition to running EatOrToss.com, I also serve on the board of the D.C. Food Recovery Working Group. In that capacity, I lead the District of Columbia's RescueDish campaign, an effort to bridge foodie-ism and food waste reduction via events at restaurants. We recruit restaurants to host events and showcase dishes and drinks demonstrating that "reducing food waste is delicious."
In addition to loving good food and geeking out to the science behind what we eat, my background includes staff writing for various newspapers, contributing content to books about travel, and managing research for television shows on the National Geographic Channel. More about me here.
Hungry for more?
There are lots of ways to engage with EatOrToss!
Send us questions! We welcome submissions of your own food questions. Photograph the possibly offending item, and email the picture to email@example.com. Be sure to include as much information as possible (what is it? where did you get it? how old is it? is there a chance it underwent some kind of trauma, like being dropped? how did you store it? do you have any thoughts on what the issue might be?) and we will see what we can do! No guarantees that we'll be able to answer your question quickly, of course, but we promise you'll hear back from us. And you might just help some future curious cook.
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Share your favorite "use-it-up flexipe" in a guest post