eating trash

The Night I Fed My Family Trash

In spite of the apparent reference to garbage, this post is not about eating garbage nor is it a commentary about how certain foods lack nutritional value and should be tossed in the garbage rather than eaten.  Seriously, if  you feel that a food has no nutritional value, save your money.  Don’t buy it.  This is the story of the night I fed my family trash, and I’m not talking about dumpster diving, either.  The really weird part of this story is that 5 out of 6 members of my family actually enjoyed their trash based food.  Before anyone sends protective services banging at my door to protect my family from my madness, let me begin by saying that the trash I fed them wasn’t spoiled or rotten.  In fact, it hadn’t even made it to the trash bin.  This post is about looking at what I would ordinarily throw away, and figuring out a way to transform it into something else.  The Might I Fed my Family Trash

Here is the unadulterated version of the facts.  It was a typical lazy afternoon.  Family members were watching TV, surfing the net or listening to music.  I was in my laboratory, also known as the kitchen, whipping up a few goodies to see us through the work week.  One of the things I decided to make was Five Cup SaladIt is what the name says.  One cup portions of five  ingredients–pineapple chunks or tidbits, mandarin oranges, marshmallows, coconut, and sour cream–mixed together to make a fruit salad that some would call ambrosia.  When I drained the canned pineapple and mandarin oranges, I saved the leftover juice in my large Pyrex measuring cup.    As I cleaned up the kitchen, I stared at it for a while.  I knew that if I put it into the refrigerator, no one would drink it, and in a week or two, I would find it fermented and rotten.  I stared at it long and hard, as I considered my options.  I almost surrendered and tossed it out until I had a revelation.  A week earlier, I had been in an Asian market and had tried a sample of a tapioca dish.  The large tapioca pearls had been cooked in sweetened water instead of milk.  It was then served topped with sliced fruit and a splash of coconut milk.    Why couldn’t I do the same thing, substituting the leftover juice for the milk that I usually use when I prepare tapioca?

It turns out that I could, and I did.  I didn’t have the large tapioca pearls that I tried at the Asian market, but I had what I needed in my pantry to succeed.  I was pleased with the results because I made something extra out of something that might otherwise have gone to the landfill or down the drain.  I love to save money by extracting everything I can from every ounce of what I buy thereby stretching my food dollars even further.   My hope is that after reading this post, you will consider the leftovers from meal preparation that you discard in a different light and maybe give them a new life.   (REMINDER:  It is never safe to recycle the drippings or marinade from raw meat as it can contain bacteria that might make you ill.)

What are the ingredients you will need for this recipe?

From the Pantry: 

  • Sugar
  • Tapioca
  • Vanilla
  • Juice from canned fruit (leftover from fruit that was used for another purpose)

From the Refrigerator

  • An egg

Here is the recipe I made up that day for what I call Tropical Tapioca Pudding.  We really enjoyed it.  I hope you do too.

Tropical Tapioca Pudding
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
This recipe is made from the juice from canned fruit that might otherwise be thrown in the trash. It's extremely frugal. The serving size is ½ cup. Cost per recipe is $0.89 or $0.15 per serving.
  • ⅓ cup sugar ($0.08)
  • 3 Tbl Tapioca (I used Minute Tapioca) ($0.68)
  • 2¾ cup juice from canned fruit (I added water to make enough) (Free)
  • 1 egg, well beaten ($0.09)
  • 1 tsp vanilla ($0.04)
  1. Mix the sugar, tapioca, juice and egg in a medium sauce pan and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a full rolling boil.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour into serving dishes and allow to cool.
  5. Mixture thickens more as it cools.
  6. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 132
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.9g
Saturated Fat 0.3g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 27mg
Sodium 12mg
Total Carbohydrates 0.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.2g
Sugars 22.2g
Protein 1.4g
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 57%
Calcium 1%
Iron 4%

Disclaimer:  Nutritional information is calculated using online tools such as those available at or  We make every attempt to ensure that this information is calculated correctly, but this information should be considered estimates.   Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe.  In addition, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition-fact sources, databases and the algorithms used.   You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.  Under no circumstances will be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. 

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3 thoughts on “The Night I Fed My Family Trash

  1. I loved reading about the night you fed your family trash! The recipe sounds yum. I must try it. It was a delight to read your blog this evening. I’m looking forward to visiting again.

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