Not gonna eat this -- what should I do with it instead?
June 5, 2015 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I want to dispose of several gallons of homemade Brunswick stew. I am mildly baffled about the best method for doing so, and would appreciate input.

A person who used to take care of a now-deceased family member used to periodically cook up big pots of Brunswick stew. The caregiver would serve some, and would can the remainder. Although the family member passed away almost three years ago, in our storage room we still have almost two dozen quart jars full of the stew, which Mr. Moses and I don't care to eat.

I can't give it away to food banks, etc., as I have no idea whether the canning was done in a sterile way and I certainly don't want to make anyone sick with potentially tainted food.

Our feeble in-sink garbage disposal cannot be trusted to process the chunky stew without jamming expensively.

Similarly, flushing all the stew down the toilet seems unwise.

Pouring all the stew into a garbage bag for trash-day collection is possible, but the semi-liquid mass would be quite heavy and might well leak all over.

For a similar AskMe in 2010, people suggested burying the unwanted food; we could probably do that, but I'm a bit concerned about random local wildlife (e.g., foxes) congregating and digging it up.

What would you do?
posted by GrammarMoses to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In the trash, a jar or two at a time instead of all at once?
posted by rockindata at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

posted by axismundi at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I understand the impulse for a clean sweep but surely the easiest thing is just to slowly throw it out a couple jars at a time? You've had it sitting there this long, a couple more months as it slowly diminishes can't be too bad a hassle?
posted by Wretch729 at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, I would trash them two at a time each week. It'll take a while, but sounds like it's stable now as it is.
posted by handful of rain at 10:05 AM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't want to flush it, get a collander, empty the liquid into the sink, and throw out the detritus.
posted by griphus at 10:06 AM on June 5, 2015 [10 favorites]

Do you have a dog? Do you know anyone who has a dog? I am pretty sure a dog would love to eat this, even if you don't like it.
posted by kindall at 10:09 AM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, drain out the liquid with something, a cheesecloth, a colander, a coffee filter. Even a doubled paper towel rubber banded over the mouth of the jar would work. Once it's just wet solids, you can throw that in the trash. Do this on the night before your trash is picked up so it doesn't sit gloopily in the bin for ages.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:10 AM on June 5, 2015

on lack of preview, don't give this to a dog unless you are certain there are no onions in it.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:12 AM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

Or garlic, or meat bones.
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

I have a container in the freezer for liquid and/or fatty food waste. I then throw the frozen block away early in the am before they come pick up the trash and that way it doesn't stink up and leak all over my apartment or the trash room. It also won't leave greasy residue in the pipes. If it's too much/heavy to do at once just do it in batches.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:13 AM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

(Run some hot water over the frozen jars for a few seconds to get it to release.)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:15 AM on June 5, 2015

Are there local community gardens or organizations that would be interested in composting the stew?

It'd be a shame to throw all of the food into the sewer system when it could be turned into nutrition-rich compost/fertilizer for gardening.
posted by suedehead at 10:17 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I put all of my potentially smelly/spoily trash food in the chest freezer in the garage, or in my regular freezer if there's room. (Double bagged.) It goes into the garbage can on trash night.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you want to save the containers, I'd just pour it all in a triple bagged garbage bags and put it in the trash. I doubt a community garden would want it as it contains meat and that is a no-no in terms of reducing vermin interest in your compost. Don't give it to anyone's pets. Just throw it out with or without the containers. I'd hesitate to put it into your plumbing either via sink or toilet. It could be fatty and that's no good for pipes. Throw it away in the garbage and be done with it.
posted by quince at 11:00 AM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

How chunky and fatty is it? The toilet seems like the ideal place for something like that...not to be gross or anything but it does handle "similar" types of things...
posted by Toddles at 11:01 AM on June 5, 2015

get a couple of 5 gal buckets with lids, pour it in there, wrap them in a trash bag and set it in your bin.
posted by Think_Long at 11:10 AM on June 5, 2015

axismundi: "Toilet."

Whatever you do, do not flush this. Or get ready with an explanation for your plumber.
posted by Splunge at 12:04 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

Does your local trash utility have a dropoff location? Mine has community waste/recycling centers. That way, you can load up one big load and drop it all off in a clean sweep.
posted by bookdragoness at 12:26 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

You've got a bunch of good suggestions- the toilet is great for one jar, but not many jars.

But what caught me is your feeble garbage disposal. Believe it or not, those things are tested at the factory on their ability to digest blocks of bone and cubes of pine. If you don't trust yours to eat canned stew, it's really really time for a replacement. Aim for the 1 horsepower model (or greater) if you can swing the (usually small) difference in cost over the bog-standard 1/2 hp model.

The only complicated part is the electrical-- most people don't have electrical sockets under their sinks (for code and water reasons), so instead of a handy electrical cord, those things have terminals or wire nuts that need to be dealt with. Either way, replacing a disposal is far easier than installing a new one, since the stuff that usually needs a pro electrician is already done-- if you can't do it, this is handy-neighbor-level stuff that can be bought for the price of a six-pack or a dozen cupcakes, that sort of thing.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:18 PM on June 5, 2015

Response by poster: Sunburnt, as a matter of fact we just had it replaced a couple of months ago because of ongoing problems, the true cause of which is our special-snowflake non-standard plumbing under the sink. Sigh.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:03 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

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