Can You Compost Char?

27 Feb

I’m not talking about charred wood (don’t compost) or charcoal (definitely don;t compost) or artic char (no fish either).  I made a perfectly wonderful roasted chicken and potato dish with a lemon caper sauce, put it in the oven for dinner and left on a quick errand.  The boy at home had instructions to remove the pan when the timer rang.  But it didn’t work out that way.  I quote, “Mom, how can you expect me to write my paper AND listen the timer?”  Let’s just not touch that, ok?

The chicken dish was black.  I’m talking charred.  Lemons, potatoes, garlic, capers.  All black.  All mostly inedible (we found a few potatoes and a tiny bit of dry chicken to gnaw).  I had to toss it all in the trash.  I fleetingly wondered compost, but no.

Did you know cooked vegetables have very high water and nitrogen content?  They don’t just decompose.  They rot.  And then they smell.  Hence, the directive not to compost cooked food.  By now, you know that meat, fish and dairy are all compost no no’s.  Be prudent about the cooked veggies.  I make exceptions sometimes for sweet potato skins or steamed pea shells, but draw the line at anything buttered or sauced or especially charred.

Here’s the daily bucket …


What you can see (clockwise (top to bottom):

  • Hiding under the paper towel are some onion and garlic skins
  • Red pepper stem ends & ribs (no seeds, this was not organic)
  • Fennel core
  • garlic paper
  • yellow onion skin & stem ends
  • tulip stems & leaves (they were whispering spring at the grocery store)
  • basil stems

What I made with all of that:

  • the ill-fated Roasted Lemon Chicken & Potato dish
  • a kind of weird Pasta Meatball Bake, an after-soccer meal that was just … fine

Three cheers for char!  Have you ever had a cooking disaster like ours?

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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Compost How To, The Daily Bucket


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