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Canned foods in compost?

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Canned foods in compost?

Post  brenda g on 4/22/2012, 3:52 pm

Hey all, I could use some advice; I cleaned out my Grandmother's freezer and pantry today and found most things to be expired (some as long as 3 years - yikes!). She had lots of salsa, canned veggies and fruits, v8 juice, apple sauce, and frozen fruits. The frozen fruits seem like a no brainer because the lable does not indicate any preservatives... but what about the rest which contain added sugars and salt? I hate to just throw it out. My feeling is, if it was safe to eat and doesn't contain meat or dairy it should be safe for composting... am I over thinking this?

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Re: Canned foods in compost?

Post  camprn on 4/22/2012, 4:15 pm

If it's not meat I usually throw it in, including jams and jellies and pickles and salsa. Sauces like Worcestershire, ketchup, mustard usually go down the drain.

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Re: Canned foods in compost?

Post  givvmistamps on 4/22/2012, 5:18 pm

@brenda g wrote:Hey all, I could use some advice; I cleaned out my Grandmother's freezer and pantry today and found most things to be expired (some as long as 3 years - yikes!). She had lots of salsa, canned veggies and fruits, v8 juice, apple sauce, and frozen fruits. The frozen fruits seem like a no brainer because the lable does not indicate any preservatives... but what about the rest which contain added sugars and salt? I hate to just throw it out. My feeling is, if it was safe to eat and doesn't contain meat or dairy it should be safe for composting... am I over thinking this?

The question of whether you're over thinking this depends upon how much of a scientific answer you want...It could get pretty detailed as far as chemical composition.

To skip the major scientific answer, you shouldn't have to worry about what's in the stuff, so long as it's organic material without a a whole lot of chemicals on it. Most chemicals will be broken down eventually, unless they're the REALLY nasty stuff that bioaccumuates, like benzene.

Rotting food is good for compost; it will usually help things get hot faster.

Meats and dairy could be used, but they tend to attract animals to your yard that you probably wouldn't like as a guest. So, they're not recommended unless you have a large enough pile that you can put them in the very center of the pile and mask the scent that attracts the animals. Quite a few people here add fish innards to their pile.

The main thing is, you need to balance carbon and nitrogen at a C:N ratio between about 25:1 to 30:1, keep the moisture under control and you'll do fine. When you add that apple sauce, etc make sure you add enough dry stuff like dried grass clippings, dry leaves, sawdust, etc.

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Re: Canned foods in compost?

Post  brenda g on 4/23/2012, 12:00 pm

Great! Thanks a bunch guys! Very Happy

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