This story is co-published with The Guardian and supported by The Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Andrée Nieuwjaer, a 67-year-old resident of Roubaix, France, is what one might call a frugal shopper. In fact, her fridge is full of produce that she got for free. Over the summer, she ate peaches, plums, carrots, zucchinis, turnips, endives — all manner of fruits and vegetables that local grocers didn’t want to sell, whether because of some aesthetic imperfection or because they were slightly overripe.
What Nieuwjaer couldn’t eat right away, she preserved — as fig marmalade, apricot jam, pickles. Reaching into the depths of her refrigerator in September, past a jar of diced beets that she’d preserved in vinegar, she tapped a container of chopped pineapple whose shelf life she’d extended with lemon juice: “It’ll last all month!” she exclaimed. Just a few inches away, two loaves of bread that a nearby school was going to get rid of lay in a glass baking dish, reconstituted as bread pudding. A third loaf was in a jar in the cupboard, transformed into bread crumbs... Read more