How do you prevent food waste?
When you’re focused on creating delicious dishes, it’s easy to lose track of what to do with leftovers. According to the US Department of agriculture, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted per year. (1) Food waste is not only costly, it also has a negative impact on our communities and the environment around us. Taking simple steps to reduce your food waste will result in many positive changes in the world around you! We are here to help you get started with five easy tips to reduce your food waste.
Planning out your meals and grocery trips can save you money and also reduce food waste. Try making a menu for the upcoming week and visiting the store more often rather than one big trip. Before heading out to the store, check your pantry for items you already have and create a list of the items you need. Sticking to a list will prevent impulse buy and avoid getting things you won’t use or don’t need.
Efficient food storage
Perishable foods, such as fruits and vegetables, have a longer shelf life if stored correctly. Understanding the best way to store your food can avoid premature ripening which ultimately leads to spoiling! For example, potatoes, garlic and cucumbers should be stored at room temperature whereas carrots and celery do best in the fridge. It is also important to note that some fruits and veggies give off ethylene gas that promotes ripping in other foods. Storing items like bananas and avocados separately will keep everything fresh!
Your Freezer is your new best friend
Freezing your food is a great and easy way to preserve items for future use without fear of spoiling! Storing leftovers or unused items such as bread, fruits and meats will increase their shelf life and allow you to use them at a later date. Store food in proper containers and add labels to keep everything organized.
Create a compost
If you have the space, composting is a great way to reuse food scraps and assist in your gardening. Compost adds nutrients to your soil and reduces the need for commercial fertilizers. If you do not have the outdoor space, you can create a countertop compost or even check with your city to see if there are composting centers nearby.
Use every last bit
Excess food scraps can be used in so many different ways!
- Leftover fruit peels can be added to water for extra flavor
- Excess vegetable, peels and even some animal bones can be used in broth
- Coffee grounds can be reused as fertilizer for your plants
With a little creativity, every last bit of food can be used and kept out of the garbage. Author, Lindsay-Jean Hard, took this fun, food saving tip and wrote Cooking With Scraps. Her book is filled with fun recipes such as Banana Peel Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and so many more tasty recipes! You can find Cooking With Scraps at Zingerman’s Deli or order online here!
There are so many ways to reduce your food waste and every little bit helps. Learning new ways to utilize all your groceries can also be fun. Though we may be biased, we believe there is no better way to learn than with Chef Kieron and his very own recipes! Chef Kieron’s Tomato Soup is a simple recipe that can be “upcycled” into multiple different dishes. Give this versatile recipe a try and share the tasty dishes you create with us!
- Heavy Bottom Pan
- Wooden Spoon
- Cutting Board
- Small Coffee Grinder
- Vitamix or other blender
- 1⁄3 cup (70g) olive oil
- 1 medium (300g) red onion, sliced
- 3 Tablespoons (30g) Kosher salt
- 10 sprigs (10g) thyme
- 13 cloves (47g) garlic, puréed
- 4 1⁄2 lbs (2029g) canned peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups (366g) white wine
- 1⁄4 Cup (50g) sherry
- Place a heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
- Add the oil and onions to the pan and cook for 5 - 8 minutes until onions are tender and translucent.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the fresh thyme and place in a small coffee grinder with the salt. Blend until it forms into a salt consistency again (if you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can pick the thyme and roughly chop the leaves).
- Add this to the onions and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add puréed garlic to the pan and cook for an additional 5 - 8 minutes.
- Roughly chop the canned tomatoes and add these (including the juice) to the onions. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the white wine and sherry. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Pour into a Vitamix or blender and blitz for 10 seconds on high speed.