Summer may be drawing to a close, but my godThe garden is just beginning, so I really wanted to try the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50. The FoodCycler is a kitchen appliance that turns leftovers into compost. Compost provides nutrients to the soil and helps feed your garden flowers, fruits and vegetables, and other plants in your garden.
At $ 400, it’s definitely expensive, but it’s also efficient, easy to use, and avoids the pest problems associated with traditional outdoor compost bins. It’s also a fantastic choice for people who live in apartments. The small half-gallon capacity isn’t ideal for those who waste a lot of food every day – and while it makes noise, it’s not much louder than a regular dishwasher.
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is a solid option for anyone who has small gardening and landscaping needs and wants to reuse food that is otherwise intended for landfill.
Composting with the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50
The FoodCycler has a black and gray interface and a simple user interface – a single power button to start a cycle and four status lights that show you when your compost is being dried, ground or refrigerated and when to change the two carbon filters. A replacement package with two filters is $ 25.
The main lid clicks into place to start a cycle. However, the locking mechanism and built-in handle also make it easy to move the FoodCycler as needed. Inside you will find a removable container with a metal handle and a fill line so you know when it is full. Vitamix says you shouldn’t overfill the container or push down the leftover food to make room for more.
I kept the trash can on my countertop while I was prepping the food so I could easily throw away coffee grounds, sweet potato peel, eggshell and lots of other leftovers throughout the day. The FoodCycler is able to process fruit and vegetable scraps, but avoids hard pits of peaches, avocados and other fruits. It also can’t handle pineapple leaves. Citrus peel and fruits with a lot of sugar like bananas and grapes should only be added occasionally.
The FoodCycle can also process chicken and fish bones, leftover meat, muesli, cheese, eggs and eggshells, coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags, legumes, beans, seeds and pet food. Add starchy foods like bread and rice sparingly, as well as sauces, dressings and soups, nut butters and jelly or jam. Do not put candy, chewing gum, cooking oil, beef or pork bones in the FoodCycler.
It usually took my husband and I about two days to fill the FoodCycler. one when we cook a lot. Fortunately, Vitamix offers a second lid to reduce odors from the container before starting a cycle.
Once your waste has reached the fill line, it’s time to return it to the FoodCycler. Use the arrows on the container and on the inside of the FoodCycler to properly position the container before starting a cycle. Install and close the cap and press the power button.
According to Vitamix, most cycles should be between 4 and 8 hours, but all three cycles I tried took a total of 4 to 5 hours depending on what was in the bin and how much I filled. I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I didn’t have any bones or leftover meat to add, but all three tests had different combinations of leftover fruit and vegetables, shells, eggshells, and coffee grounds.
The FoodCycler was loud enough to be a distraction at certain points, mostly during the “grinding” phase of the process. So I would recommend leaving it on overnight or getting it somewhere out of the way to cycle. After it goes through the drying, grinding and cooling phases, the lights will go out and your compost is ready.
A full half gallon of waste makes about a cup of compost – a little less than I expected, but enough for a small garden if you run the FoodCycler regularly. And if you get extra compost, you can always save it for future seasons or give it to a friend who doesn’t have their own compost bin.
Remember that different plants need different nutrients. According to Vitamix, adding a variety of different foods is best for the FoodCycler, but so is your floor. That said, my blueberry plants need more acidic soil than my eggplants, so I’ll keep that in mind when I start using this compost in our garden.
At nearly $ 400, the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is expensive and makes noise when it is working. It also has a pretty small capacity that doesn’t make sense for people with large gardens – or anyone who produces a lot of food waste on a daily basis.
However, the FoodCycler is a great way to reuse leftover food that would otherwise go straight to your trash can. It’s easy to use, works quickly, and avoids pests curious about an outdoor compost bin. It’s also a great choice for apartment dwellers who can’t have a traditional compost bin.