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A Rant

Too Much Water

Why do grocery store produce departments spray vegetables with soooooo  much water?

To keep the produce fresh longer and looking good is the usual answer. That makes no sense to me.

Yes. Plants need water to live. However, you can over water plants. In fact, most house and yard plants die from over watering; too much care; too much love. Scientifically what happens is that too much water in the roots cut off needed oxygen.

You can over water the produce at grocery stores too.  Many stores have their watering system set to turn on every 10 minutes. Every 10 minutes is WAY too much water.

Making a bad situation even worse, stores also put too much produce out at one time and stack it way to high for proper drainage to occur.

Too much water causes water to accumulate on top of the produce. Therefore the produce gets soggy and then it wilts faster, spoils faster, mildews faster, and simply rots away faster.

This occurs mostly because too often there is no way for the water to run off. It just sits there on the produce, especially lettuce leaves. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen rotting produce at grocery stores; even in high class ones.

OFF TOPIC: This is slightly off topic, but I have seen rotting onions with gnats flying above the onions in more stores than I care to think about. How can grocery stores be allowed to sell this rotting crap? Where are the food police when you need them? Why don’t they do something worthwhile instead of harp on me about what I eat?

MEMO:  To the store that places their lemons in the freezer over night: Don’t you know better? Lemons turn brown and rot on the inside when they are frozen. CURE: I never buy lemons from you any more.

Back to too much water on produce………

Furthermore, most stores do not rotate the produce they keep spraying with water so that the top of the heap is the soggiest and rottenest of all. Therefore, I have to dig down into a deep pile of wet and soggy vegetables to find some thing halfway decent.

If I see bad produce in the pile of vegetables, I will not buy any from the pile. If there is rotten produce any where in the pile it has probably spread everywhere. So I will go else where to shop. Thankfully, there are still a few stores here that do not use the watering system.

 Dear Grocery Store Manager: Just for the record, I do not come to the grocery store to take a shower. I take my shower at home before I go to the store. Should I get caught in one it would at least be courteous to have paper towels near by so I can dry myself off.

When I worked in a grocery store in the 60’s and 70’s produce was set on ice. As the ice melted, the water drained away from the produce keeping it reasonably dry.

However, compared to a shower system, ice is a people intensive system. A real live person has to put the ice out every morning. Then the produce has to put on the ice. Not too much produce was put out at once. It was kept in a large refrigerator in the back of the store. So produce had to be put out often.  Then the ice had to be torn down at night too.

With an ice system the store has to hire more people.

The watering system saves them money.

And of course during this recession with unemployment at the 9% mark or higher we certainly do not want to put more people to work. It seems grocery store management prefer to let the produce rot and be thrown away when there are unemployed and/or hungry people inAmerica!

Makes sense to me. *Rolls eyes*

Featured Recipe           Fiesta Taco Casserole

This is a fun recipe. Your children will love you for making this recipe. I got it from the nurse of my doctor inDayton,Ohio. We lived near each other and she had me over for dinner with her and her daughters several times. This was her daughter’s favorite dinner.

As an aside, that particular doctor was a D.O. and he was the best medical doctor I have ever had. Of course, that was in the days before medicine  became a greedy multi-gazillion dollar for profit business.

But that is a rant for another day!

This recipe is easily adaptable too. You can use hot taco sauce, hot cheese. Whatever floats your boat. Or burns your tongue.

This recipe also makes a boatload of food. So you can either feed a lot of people or have lots of leftovers. Either way you save money.

This is what you will need for 6-8 people:

1-1½ pounds of ground chuck

1 medium onion

1 teaspoon cumin seeds*

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ cup water

12 small corn tortillas

1 15 ounce jar mild taco sauce

2 cups sour cream

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Colby-Jack cheese

No stick cooking spray

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, green onions, sour cream, taco sauce.

*Or a pinch or two of cumin powder if you prefer. Or if you do not like cumin at all, leave it out completely.

Here is what you do:

Heat the oven to 375 F.

Chop the onion.

Brown the ground beef and the onion together.

Drain off excess fat. Add the cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper if using, and the water.

Mix together well. You can tell by both the color and the aroma when those spices are mixed into the meat mixture just how delicious this casserole is going to be.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch pan with the no stick spray. Then place 6 tortillas on the bottom of the pan, and up the sides of the pan a bit,  overlapping them as needed.

Spread ¾ cup of the taco sauce over the tortillas.

 Then spread the meat mixture over the sauce.

Top with the sour cream………….

……………………. and then sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the sour cream.

Now place 6 more tortillas over the cheese again overlapping them. Top them with the rest of the taco sauce and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly.

Then uncover and bake 5 minutes more.

While the casserole is cooking 5 minutes longer cut your add ons, if using. Slice the lettuce, chop the onions and tomatoes.

Remove from oven and let rest about 5 minutes. 

On a flat surface cut the casserole into what ever size pieces you want. Be sure to cut all the way through to the bottom set of tortillas. They may be a bit crisp. But just cut right through them. Then lift the pieces out with a sturdy spatula, making sure you have all layers of the casserole.

SERVING SUGGESTION: If using, top individual servings of the casserole with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions.

I also had a 16 ounce bottle of taco sauce so I used the excess with my meal. You could also use extra sour cream if you want.

ANOTHER SERVING SUGGESTION: This meal goes really well with a salad of an avocado with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appétit!!! 

Cost

1-1½ pounds of ground chuck          $3.12

1 medium onion                              $0.53

1 teaspoon cumin seeds                  $0.12

¼ teaspoon garlic powder               $0.02

1¼ teaspoon chili powder                $0.31

¼ cup water                                  $0.00

12 small corn tortillas                      $1.89              

1 15 ounce jar taco sauce                $1.80

2 cups sour cream                           $1.97

4 cups shredded cheese                   $4.58

No stick cooking spray                      $0.01

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost =$14.35
Cost per person (6) =$2.39
Cost per person (8) = $1.79

Quote of the Day

Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.

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