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I semi- regularly make my own dried, aged meat. As the first step, I keep it for 24-48 hours in sugar. Sugar sucks water out beautifully and when I'm done with it, it's dripping wet.

So I have 10kg of dripping wet sugar that cannot go into compost bin (meat byproduct, not allowed by law where I live), and cannot be put in the general trash bin (trash should be dry). How can I get rid of it, without using large amount of water and risking pipe clogging? Environmentally friendly ways preferred.

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    Is it home or municipal composting? If the latter, make sure you can't put meaty stuff in it. My food waste collection can include meat (though I hardly ever eat meat and even more rarely have scraps to dispose of).
    – Chris H
    Sep 26, 2022 at 11:46
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    @ChrisH municipal. Only vegan stuff and eggshells. Strict no-meat rule with large fines. And fines or no, if it's unsafe, then I don't want to do it.
    – Mołot
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:27
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    @frIT I can't compost on my own. Legal issues with living in multiple family building. and having minimum distance between compost and someone else's bedroom larger than the size of the flats here.
    – Mołot
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:43
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    @Mołot you are right, more musing re. your local compost operation. It would seem they (or your local laws) try to err on the safe side of practical experience. Truth told, I would too if I collected feedstock from who knows what. All sorts of things can happen with meaty stuff until you get the chance to add it to the pile.
    – frIT
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:47
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    FWIW, if you're ending up with soaking wet sugar, you're using too much sugar. What you want at the end is mostly saturated sugar syrup, and a bit of undissolved sugar. Additional sugar beyond that won't dry the meat more quickly or thoroughly.
    – Sneftel
    Sep 27, 2022 at 16:21

9 Answers 9

33

There are a couple options, in increasing order of effort:

  • Pour it down the sink. Sucrose forms a saturated aqueous solution at ~200 g sucrose per 100 g water at 15C/~60F - for 10 kg of dry sucrose, you'd need a minimum ~5 L tap cold water to dissolve it - without accounting for the water it's already absorbed. You can add this water to the sugar before pouring down the drain to dissolve it first, and if you knew the mass of water absorbed you can subtract that amount.
    There's low risk of clogging since sucrose readily dissolves in water - and if it does, add hot water.

Added clarification for dissolving sugar:

  • ~5 litres of tap-cold, 15C water is the minimum amount physically required to dissolve ~10 kg sucrose for energy and water-saving purposes. More water can be used to dissolve this.

  • Dissolved sucrose flows easily and further dilutes very readily. The same cannot be said for other types of fluid sugars, i.e. high-fructose corn syrup, honey, caramel - these flow and dissolve very differently, and in the case of honey, may rapidly crystallize before dissolving.

  • The experimental solubility of sucrose in water (grams per gam) is 1.94 @15C, 1.89 @10c, 1.85 @5C, 1.81 @0C. Given a worst-case scenario with 10 kg sucrose saturated solution at 15C being instantaneously chilled and ignoring the enthalpy of crystallization:
    At 10C, 258 g sucrose will precipitate, requiring an additional 138 mL of water (slightly more than half a cup) to remain dissolved;
    At 5C, 464 g sucrose will precipitate, requiring an additional 251 mL of water (one cup) to remain dissolved;
    At 0C, 671 g sucrose will precipitate, requiring an additional 371 mL of water to remain dissolved - if your indoor pipes are at 0C, you've got bigger problems to worry about.

  • The kitchen sink and not flush toilets is the preferred disposal receptacle for both efficiency of water use and ease of addressing clogs.
    Both should have p-bends/air traps to stop sewer gases entering the home, though the kitchen sink will 1) be more easily accessible with the trap normally in a vertical line under the sink drain, 2) the toilet's thermal mass may rapidly cool any added hot water, and 3) some toilets may feature multiple bend traps, leaving undissolved sugar stuck in harder to reach areas. Regardless, both sinks and toilets will clog if enough solid sugar is dumped in as it settles.
    Wiki toilets
    Figures of toilet cross-sections from Wikipedia.

Sucrose saturated solution Graph from The Engineering Toolbox.

  1. Store the sugar in the fridge uncovered and allow it to slowly desiccate before disposing in garbage. Requires space, preferably at the bottom for food safety, and a larger surface area for faster drying.
  2. Air dry the sugar outside and then dispose in garbage. There is a risk that it may generate odours and attract pests during drying.

For future projects, would you consider reusable silica dessicants? Dehydration time would be longer and you'd need a larger volume container, but you would also not need to have it in direct contact with the meat.


  1. Unconventional option: heat the sugar to boil off the water and make meaty caramel. If you enjoy salted caramel flavours, this might add extra Maillard browning complexity from the dissolved meat proteins and other compounds.
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    As someone who’s taken classes on designing sewage treatment systems, I’d avoid pouring it down the drain (as who knows what it might feed… also scouring pipes if not fully dissolved). #4 was my thought on the matter. You might also be able to bake it to dry & sterilize it for disposal (as sugar doesn’t actually melt; see seriouseats.com/dry-toasted-sugar-granulated-caramel-recipe )
    – Joe
    Sep 26, 2022 at 7:08
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    @Joe the sucrose would just be an easily digestible carbohydrate source for the sewage organisms - if anything, it'll help them get a head start degrading other biosolids before reaching a treatment system, on-site or municipal. Again, from 1) above, dissolve the sugar with the minimum water needed before pouring down. Spending energy solely to heat an oven to discard sugar isn't quite environmentally friendly. Sep 26, 2022 at 7:37
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    @FluidCode dumping it into the toilet as is wil clog it. Trust me, I know...
    – Mołot
    Sep 26, 2022 at 11:08
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    There's certainly enough to be worth trying out reuse options. You could also make a sugary glaze for meat and freeze that until needed, though it's probably not going to use up a large proportion.
    – Chris H
    Sep 26, 2022 at 11:47
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    While you should not use hot water to get it down the drain in the first place (it will precipitate as it cools in contact with metal pipes etc), if it does end up clogging, hot water can dissolve it enough to get it into larger pipes with other water that will keep it dissolved as it cools.
    – Doktor J
    Sep 26, 2022 at 15:06
12

Dump the sugar in non-standard-refuse dumps operated by the local city district. Where I live, there are refuse dumps operated by the city districts, such as electronics, garden waste, large refuse (e.g. furniture), and DIY waste. They usually accept most non-standard waste, and I expect soggy meat-laced sugar will find its appropriate demise there. :)

10

Use it for animal feed

  • Bees
  • Pigs & Chickens
  • Humming birds correction not a good idea for humming birds

Find an apiarist (bee keeper) and donate the sugar to them to feed their bees. Or donate it to a pig or chicken farmer to enrich their feed. Or feed the humming birds.

Bees

No you don't have to worry about the meat flavor affecting the taste of honey because that isn't what the sugar is for. An experienced apiarist will know when to feed the sugar to the bees to prevent this.

In particular, bees frequently run low on honey in the spring time (particularly if the spring thaw comes late). This can lead to colony starvation. Apiarists will feed bees sugar, either solid or as a syrup to prevent this. Sugar is also widely used to stimulate a colony to increase brood rearing.

The two main things that would be of concern for an apiarist is the presence of salt (a little is ok, a lot is toxic to bees), or the fermentation of yeast (again toxic to bees.) However any natural flavors that might have been extracted from the meat should be of little consequence to the bees.

Pigs and Chickens

As far as pig or chicken farmers go. Both pigs and chickens will eat just about anything. While no one would feed their pigs or chickens just sugar both absolutely love sugar. It's probably more feasible for a pig farmer as 10kg is easily consumed by just a few pigs as an addendum to their normal diet. For chickens it would depend on the size of flock. The primary concern is here is if it considered an animal by product there can be restrictions on where you feed it. For example if it is a beef byproduct you would never feed it cows.

Humming birds

Sugar water is all that is really in humming bird feeders. Any meat flavor may or may not make an impact but i doubt they would care.

4
  • I like your answer, avoiding wasting the calories. Can I ask for a reference for the yeast is toxic to bees statement? A quick google seems to say otherwise, and there is a lot around the environment.
    – User65535
    Sep 28, 2022 at 8:09
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    A big NO on the hummingbirds. Impurities in hummingbird sugar water are a very bad idea; the birds are highly vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 28, 2022 at 20:22
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    @User65535 it's not really that yeast is toxic, but that the byproducts of yeast fermentation (alcohol) affects bees much the same way that it affects humans, i.e. they get drunk and have problems flying. As you can imagine it doesn't take much to get a bee drunk and also just like people too much alcohol will kill them. Bees also don't have AAA or sponsors so they tend to develop alcoholism and will suffer with-drawl symptoms. (No really that's only half a joke this really happens.) Sep 28, 2022 at 20:46
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    @JustinOhms Now I can't unsee swarms of drunken bees! Besides the scientific truths, that's hilarious! An idea worth of a comedy-thriller Hollywood movie: "The day of the drunken bees". It has the potential of beating the "Sharknado" franchise. You made my day, man! :-) Sep 29, 2022 at 8:42
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If your trash has to be dry, then you can try mixing your wet sugar with kitty litter. You will have to experiment as to the exact proportions and mixing method (I suppose you will have to pour the sugar onto the litter, not the other way round), but it really does its job in creating easy-to-dispose clumps.

It is not necessarily environmentally friendly, since kitty litter production and transport is energy-hungry, but drying it in the oven and similar also eats up a lot of energy.

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    I am throwing this out into the ring as an additional option, but if it were me, I would probably go the "dissolve first, then dump" route. 10 kg of sugar should get very nicely dissolved into 15 to 20 liters of water , without being thick enough to clog - a session of handwashing clothes will easily use up that much, or watering once 4-5 tomato plants. So I wouldn't call it "large amounts of water", when considering the environmental impact.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:44
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    You wouldn't even have to waste any water if you disposed of a couple of kg each time you poured away a bowl of washing up water, a bit less each time you drain pasta, etc.
    – Chris H
    Sep 27, 2022 at 9:32
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    @ChrisH: Put a cup of dirty sugar into your bathtub/shower stall before you shower each day? Only half-joking... Sep 27, 2022 at 17:51
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Find someone really into composting at home to compost it for you.

Animal by product or not, sugar is an excellent addition to a compost pile. Sugar is particularly useful in raising the temperature of a green pile to speed up the breakdown of cellulose

Any home composter aware of this trick would be happy to take the sugar off your hands.

1

10kg is a lot, but I have made simple syrup from sugar. Use a 1:1 ratio of boiling hot water to sugar. Keep it in a large maple syrup jar or other jug in the frige. From there, you can use it in any savory recipe like chili, and would be especially good in sauces like teriyaki glaze, BBQ sauce, ketchup. (you'd be surprised how much sugar is in all of the above sauces!). If you get good at making your own home recipes, you can bottle them and give to family. Maybe more labor intensive than you're thinking, but the sugar wouldn't go to waste!

0

For a different approach, why sugar? Rice and salt are known sorbents, and might offer different venues of disposal (including cooking something else).

I suppose contact with raw meat potentially "contaminates" whatever sorbent you use, so it should be cooked after thorough thermal treatment. How about 10 kilos of meat-flavoured strawberry jam? ;)

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    Salt is my second phase sorbent. Sugar is beneficial for meat againg bacteria culture.
    – Mołot
    Sep 28, 2022 at 17:23
-1

Make booze.

Put sugar in a large saucepan, add water and flavourings (elderflowers makes it into elderflower champane, ginger and tartaric acid makes it into ginger beer), bring to the boil, turn off heat and leave to cool. Add yeast and put it somewhere warm for a few days. Drink when it is nice.

I have no experience on what effect the meat juices will have on the product. The boiling process will destroy any pathogenic bacteria that may have been present, and I would guess the remaining meat juices will do nothing but ensure the yeast has the micronutrients it needs, but I could be wrong and it will impart a flavour.

[EDIT] I will highlight that in the comments the OP claims to be an experienced brewer and states this will not work. I am in not position to dispute them, so everyone should bare that in mind if they try this.

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    I'm curious why you think that the meat juice won't add flavor, but other things you add will.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 26, 2022 at 10:28
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    I am quite experienced homebrewer too. This won't work. Way to much sugar, not enough other ingredients to add flavor, and meat juice is just great nutrient for mold. And judging by smell of the wet sugar, product wouldn't be anything anyone would want to drink even if I'd be able to avoid mold
    – Mołot
    Sep 26, 2022 at 10:59
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    And yet not all liquor tastes the same :) Anyway it's not me you need to convince, it's the experienced homebrewer OP.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:35
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    @Cascabel home distillation is illegal where I live, and other methods of separating alcohol from water, like freezing out, are not great at removing aromas. I once got nice over 40% booze from apple cider and it still smelled like apples all right. I would need to do something illegal to get usable alcohol from this sugar.
    – Mołot
    Sep 26, 2022 at 14:40
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    @Mołot My implication was that even distilled liquor has flavors that depend on the non-sugar/starch parts of the input. I was simply trying to nudge User65535 away from assuming that it'd work.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 26, 2022 at 16:56
-7
  1. Buy a 5-gallon bucket with a lid
  2. Put a paper bag inside
  3. Dump the sugar in the bag
  4. Close the lid
  5. Transport the bucket of bagged sugar to a dumping location away from civilization
  6. Dump the contents of the bucket
    • Bugs, animals, and rain will gladly dispose of your issue
  7. Bring the bucket back home and wash it
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    The downvote wasn't me, but I can totally understand why someone might dislike your fly-tipping suggestion.
    – DotCounter
    Sep 27, 2022 at 0:42
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    Yep - fly tipping, and illegal (animal waste byproducts) in many jurisdictions around the world. This much sugar would likely kill any plants and animals/insects it was poured onto. It would also be residual in the soil to some extent until dispersed through water flow through the soil, which is not a bulk-flow situation. Don't tip it into rivers/ocean either!
    – bob1
    Sep 27, 2022 at 2:42
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    One of the downvotes was mine. All the above ecological reasons, plus the penalty for dumping it in the wild would be higher than penalty for dumping it in front of the Presidential Palace. And Presidential Palace is closer, plus I could claim free speech ;)
    – Mołot
    Sep 27, 2022 at 9:52
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    @Mołot: Well, it looks like you’ve just offered a good answer to your own question then :-P
    – PLL
    Sep 27, 2022 at 13:33
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    Jeez, with this kind of tenacity you'd think I was talking about dumping used motor oil or anti-freeze. It's sugar and meat juices, people. Fine, take the paper bag home and dry it out.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Sep 27, 2022 at 15:10

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