Can I compost corn tortillas?

azkayla(Z7b Northern AZ)January 27, 2009

My husband works for a non-profit food supplier, and wound up bringing home a huge quantity of out of code corn tortillas. Can't use them all, so was wondering if I can throw them in my compost?

Thanks :)

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val_s(z5 central IL)

Absolutely - toss them in.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 2:11PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I think I am coming over to your house for taco night! Then you can toss them into the compost.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 2:23PM
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You guys! You're wicked. azkayla asks a serious question and you've got to tease her like that! az, no you can't put tortillos in the compost. Well, of course you could, but you wouldn't want to.
Hon, think about it. No one could guarantee that it wouldn't rain on them, could they? A cantaloupe half could roll onto a tiny corner of one of them and wick its moisture into the tortilla. If that tortilla were touching another tortilla, further wicking could occur until you've got a whole stack of damp tortillas.

Lots of other of the items in your compost are wet, too. It's not just cantaloupe. You've got your lemon wedges, your green bean water, your tea bag, coffee grounds, all things with a fairly high liquid content.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tortilla in compost pile

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 9:58PM
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No better place to mention that corn tortillas, particularly those who have been bent and then cooked into taco shells, placed in a plastic wrapper, and in turn placed in a cardboard box with festive pictures of tacos on the outside, go rancid pretty quick there after the expiration date that is stamped, usually, right below the cheese part of the happy taco picture.

Rancid taco shells are a major yuk, particularly when you aren't expecting to bite into one. Even planaria have been known to turn up one or more of their noses.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 10:27PM
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What are out of code tortillas?

It sounds like they're still edible, at least for a while, but can't be sold. If that's the case, there might be homeless shelters that could use some of them.

If there could be liability issues or if the homeless shelters couldn't use them all, they can be composted.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 1:32AM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

Now see, something like tortillas would never hit my compost. In winter I would chop them up and toss them out for the birds and crows and squirrels. That corn meal is good energy for the critters. This time of year when I get something that would benefit wildlife (popcorn, tired grapes, bread, etc.) I give it to them rather than my CP. If a 'waste' that could be composted shows up, I always think 'is there something else out there that could really use this right now?'. Like dryer lint - I never compost it. Instead I put it out in Spring and every bit of fluff is taken off by nesting birds.

So, here is where I stand up, introduce myself, and say, "Hi, my name is Kris, I am a whacko but - and I don't compost everything."

Be kind... ;-)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 8:17AM
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azkayla, if I had those corn tortillas in the house, I'd compost them without a second thought. Well, I would have, but Kris's comments got me thinking - so I'd either compost them or leave them out for animals. Anyway, they're perfectly fine for your pile.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 11:39AM
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What is a tortilla made of? Ground corn. Can corn be composted? Absolutely. Can a tortilla be composted absolutely.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 12:07PM
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As kimmsr says, absolutely. I had a couple cases go bad the first year I was composting, and they composted fine. The pile got super hot after adding them and some mowed grass. Fastest pile I made so far.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 1:56PM
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azkayla(Z7b Northern AZ)

Thanks for all the good input!

To bpgreen: 'out of code' means that they have gone past their expiration date for freshness. My husband already gave a bunch to the local homeless shelter. They took all they thought they could give out within the time frame they are allowed for those types of products that are out of code.

To kiddo 1: I love your idea about putting the tortillas out for the wildlife. My problem is that I have 3 of my own "animals", large breed dogs, which would see to it that not a single scrap of tortilla would be left for any other critters. In fact I had to build a compost bin with screened lids on them just to keep my hoodlums out! But I can cut some up and put them in the front yard where my animals can't get to them.

To rootdoctor: Did you cut the tortillas up into pieces before you threw them into your pile?

Thanks all! You guys and girls over here at the composting forum sure are an interesting and a fun loving bunch :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 2:51PM
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I'm just sayin' that a rancid taco shell is gag-a-maggot awful.

So, if you have a box on a shelf somewhere thats maybe been there a while, and you're thinking of whipping up a batch of tacos some evening, check the expiration date first before you get too carried away. Speaking here from recent, vivid experience.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Slightly OT, but david52, you can probably appreciate this: I grabbed a bag of trail mix from the pantry on my way out the door one day last week. While driving across town, I tossed (and chewed) a nice handful of what turned out to be rancid mixed nuts into my mouth. Diet Coke can't remove the flavor of rancid mixed nuts. I had to stop and buy a (fresh) snack just to get rid of the nasty nasty taste.

The trail mix is going to the compost pile...(soon as I remember to take the bag out of my car that is. I WILL remember not to eat it, that's for sure).

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 12:55AM
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Greenbean08 - Ah, trail mix - thats a whole genre unto itself, here as we discuss the composting life style. Last summer, my kids were experimenting with different mix recipes, and came up with a batch that included Cherrios and those Gawd-awful fried bananas. So a bag worked it's way under the car seat, as they have that habit of doing. Six months later.....

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 9:03AM
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I can beat rancidity.

I'm a little ashamed to admit I bought a box of chocolate sugar donuts the other day, but in the interest of topping Dave and Greenbean, I'll do so. I backed up in the parking lot of the store, while clawing my way into the donut box, and had the first donut headed toward my mouth before I got the car in forward. The wet-sugar coating pressed against my lower lip when it registered that there was something unusual about the hole part of the donut, something web-like. I stopped the car, put that puppy in park, and turned on the light, and looked at the greenish donut, which was completely covered with a web-like netting. The. Donut. Was. Covered. in. a. Green. Web. Well, I thought about it and decided I shouldn't eat it, so I walked back into the store and got my money back. Now that was the humiliating part. I had been gone probably one minute, seventeen seconds, but that was long enough for me to rip into that box of LeBree's, discover webby mold, and show back up in the store.

The store keeper said, "Oh, I'm really sorry. I'll tell LeBree's about it, but in the meantime, I'll put that out back in the compost pile."

I gagged. "Oh, you must be new to composting, because you obviously have never seen a donut that came into contact with a piece of cantaloupe rind, or any other like marriage of bready to liquidy."

"If it were me," I continued, "I'd triple-wrap that donut in 3 mm Saran Wrap before sending it off to the local landfill."

He thanked me, returned my money and I went home with a bag of bright orange, Circus Peanuts, which I inspected carefully while backing out of the parking lot.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 9:39AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Eat all you can.

Give away all you can.

Have a taco party with plenty of beer.

Encourage everyone at the party urinate into your compost pile.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:31AM
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annpat needs professional help.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:00PM
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Annpat, I'm having serious difficulty understanding your aversion to adding carbohydrates (tortillas and doughnuts) to the compost. I've added very large amounts of bread to my compost with no ill-effects. My neighbor used to work at an Italian restaurant and brought home bags and bags of left-over rolls. What his family and mine could not eat went into the compost. I dug a small hole in the center of the pile, dumped them in, and broke them up a bit with the pitch fork. I never had any trouble with putrescence. In fact, that bread got my pile hotter than anything else I've added to it.

You also mention that the tortillas will wick up moisture, and that's a good thing. They need to be moist so our microbe friends and earthworms can eat. In fact it's likely a good thing that they wick moisture away from very wet items, like melons, so the pile maintains the proper moisture content similar to a wrung out sponge.

And planaria? They likely turned up their noses to your tortillas because they eat decaying and live animals. If you really have planaria in your pile, it's too wet. Turn your pile until it begins to dry out.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 3:06PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

A phobia is an irrational, intense persistent fear of certain situations. (key word: irrational)

Annpat has sog phobia. So you won't be able to rationalize with her. All we can do is to PRETEND to not compost certain things, so she doesn't experience a psychotic break.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 5:12PM
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Irrational. That's key here.

Really? Irrational?
So let me get this straight? You could drop a hunk of Italian loaf in your dog's water dish and admire the results 3/4 of an hour later?
That swollen hunk of dog sog?
And I'm in need of examination?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 9:13PM
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I'm not sure anyone composts in their dog's water bowl. Although, I bet the dog would love it.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 9:57PM
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Annpat, you may have discovered a new species of fungus, there on that dougnut. Mychorrizal littledebbiae

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 10:12PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)


*Laughed so hard I nearly rubbed the eyes off my face

I can't believe anybody would compost their dog in their water bowl, though.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 10:32PM
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blutranes(z8 Mid Ga)

10.) Bread

I tried to tell everyone, but nobody listened to Blutranes; even knowing his enlightened state of mind. Annpat is bashful, soft-spoken, meek, endearing, girly, shy, truly humble, and yes, tolerant beyond belief. The tongue cannot tell of her ability to endure as she strives to make clear to you all the evils you insist on composting.

Rest assured Annpat, your reward and glory are long overdue, but your determination to save this community continues to be admired by the faithful. Protect that hand no matter what. Blutranes understands and waitsÂ


    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:00PM
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I. Love. Blutranes.

My whole life and nobody ever understood me.

Till now.

I care about you guys, that's all it is.

You know, like Blutranes just pointed out.

Blu, I'm going to wrap this (right) hand in 3mm Saran to keep it in good stead until you and I meet.

Thank you for understanding,

Your friend,
Jimi's friend,

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:25PM
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"So let me get this straight? You could drop a hunk of Italian loaf in your dog's water dish and admire the results 3/4 of an hour later?"

Pretty sure if I dropped a hunk of bread in the dogs' water bowl, it wouldn't be there ONE minute later, much less 45...pretty darn sure.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 12:45AM
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Cat likes to float her fuzzy mouse toys and foam golf balls in the water THAT's gross.

I rarely 'admire' food waste after putting into the compost - better things to do and prettier things to look at! Daily Cover hides a multitude of mush.

But, to each his/her/its own. Shine on, you crazy diamonds!


    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:07AM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

Who needs TV when there's a thread like this! :-D

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:33AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

I associate maggots with meat and fish - why would they be in tortillas and trail mix?

After reading this thread I'm going to make a point of checking other cars for drivers eating rotten food - talk about road hazards.

We're fortunate not to have planaria here on Cape Breton Island, just as there are no snakes in Ireland. Legend has it a saint drove them out.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 11:50AM
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Most often the maggots you find in compost are soldier fly larvae. They're harmless to you and good for your compost.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 2:38PM
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