How do you prevent food waste?
When you’re testing out an exciting new recipe in the kitchen, it’s easy to overlook all of the food scraps and leftovers that get thrown out afterwards. You might not think much of it, but food waste is an increasingly large issue in our country. 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 while reducing your food waste. Before heading out to shop, create a menu for the upcoming week and list out the items needed for each dish. Sticking to a list will prevent impulse buys and help avoid getting food you won’t end up using.
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 ripening 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 breads, 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
Composting is a great way to recycle organic material, such as food scraps, to assist in your garden’s growth. Composting 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 vegetables, 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 tasty recipes such as Banana Peel Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and so many more innovative dishes. 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 of 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.