Wasted Food Dude–Using Up Dressing

Here’s the latest installment of my food waste advice column, Dear Wasted Food Dude, which also runs on BioCycle‘s site and their e-bulletin, BioCycle Food Recycling News

Related: send questions! All food-waste-related queries are welcome–big or small, true or false, named or anonymous. Send stuff to wastedfood {at} gmail or @wastedfood.

Dear Wasted Food Dude,

It seems that we can’t get through more than half a bottle of salad dressing without getting tired of the flavor. I hate to throw it out or let it expire, but it’s getting gross. For example, I have half a bottle of an Italian that was too tart and half a bottle of raspberry dressing that is too sweet. Besides as a marinade or taking to a party, any suggestions on how to use these up?                        -—Danielle C., Northern California

Howdy Danielle,

I thought your tale would end like an old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ad, and you’d be praising Raspberry Italian dressing. But no.

How best to use up those bottles? Well, you may be asking the wrong dude, as I’m not a big fan of dressing. I eat my veggies raw and spend most days in pajamas. But it’s not about me. It’s about me using the internet to help you!

My reflexive advice is always smoothies and soups. The former won’t work here, but the latter could. I plugged in Italian dressing on BigOven.com and it spit out 1,488 recipe ideas! To be fair, plenty of recipes use dressing as a marinade or as…salad dressing.

Still, there were heaps of useful ideas, like using dressing to make pasta salad, cole slaw, and “Texas caviar.” The possibilities, like a black hole and the internet, are endless.

Also, I was kidding about the raspberry/Italian dressing mashup, but it may be worth trying. The blend may mellow both the tart and sweet, and it can’t be too different from your average raspberry vinaigrette.

The best way to avoid this situation in the future, other than dressing abstinence, is to buy smaller containers. And that is decent universal advice for food purchases. Any savings realized from buying the larger size evaporate when that item isn’t finished.

If you’re already buying small-ish containers of dressing and can’t seem to use them up — a problem for many people who live alone — I’d recommend whipping up your own small batches. And by small, I mean making enough for one or two bowls. I find that experimentation is rewarded with salad dressings, so just follow your heart!

Making your own salad dressing (or most anything), will save money, avoid waste, and allow you to experiment with minimal stakes! Just keep in mind that you have some time to ponder what to do with your dressings, as most kinds contain vinegar, a curing agent that makes bottles last, approximately, forever.

You’re berry welcome,
Wasted Food Dude


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