Saturday, July 9, 2016

11 x How to waste less food at home

I'm one of those people who hates wasting food. It really pains me to see full plates going back to the kitchen at restaurants. That single plate of food took so much love, effort, water, money, fuel and labour to get to its final destination: your table. And without even thinking about it, half of it (or more) goes straight into the bin. Horrible, if you think about it. That's why I'd rather force myself to finish my plate even if I'm full, or ask for a doggy bag. I reaaaally just don't like wasting food, it's too precious ;) But it happens so often that perfectly good food gets thrown away, at restaurants but mostly at home. Watch this video, it's an eye opener. So I'm here to give you some tips on how to be a bit more conscious about it!

1. Don't buy too much & keep a list: It often happens that you go to the supermarket and buy so much food you couldn't possibly finish it "in time". Making a shopping list beforehand gives you a much better idea of what you realistically need for the week. 

2. Shop more often: This might not be possible for everyone, but if you live near a supermarket you can easily just shop several times a week and just buy what you need for the next day(s), to avoid buying too much.

3. Know what's in your fridge: Check your fridge from time to time, there might be something which is nearing it's 'use by' date. Use it the next time you cook (or freeze it), it would be a pity to let it spoil. 

4. Study the labels: 'Sell by', 'best by' and 'use by' dates all mean something different. And some foods don't really ever spoil but the companies are legally obligated to put a date on them. Dry foods like pasta, salt, rice etc. don't really spoil. Even milk can still be fine a couple of days after the 'use by' date. Always check the scent, look and taste of the product if you're unsure (but when it comes to meat don't risk it). 

5. Use your leftovers: 50% of the food that gets thrown out are leftovers. Leftovers are usually less appealing than freshly cooked food, but try to avoid having to throw them away by bringing them to work for lunch for example. Or try to be creative and make something new, like using leftover roasted veggies to make a soup. 

6. Juices & soups: If you have a surplus of fruit and/or vegetables, you can easily turn it into a juice, smoothie, curry or soup. I had a huge watermelon which was a little bit mealy, but it tastes just fine once I juiced it!

7. Keep the peel & stems: Did you know that it's perfectly fine to eat the peel from apples, carrots, (sweet) potatoes, cucumber etc.? People often remove the peel out of habit, but in the end you're losing part of the vitamins in the fruit and vegetables, so just keep it on. It's less work too! In Australia they even don't peel their kiwis! The same goes for broccoli stems, you can just eat those too.

8. Freeze food: bread, fruits and vegetables can be kept much longer once you freeze them. Bread: wrap it well in cling film and thaw it in the fridge overnight if you want to have it for breakfast. Cut fruits and vegetables into pieces and keep them in freezer bags. Use for soups, curries, smoothies, pies etc. 

9. Old bread: You can use stale bread to make breadcrumbs or croutons for in your salad. Unless it's got mould on it, there's really no reason to ever throw bread away. 

10. Brown bananas: Use very ripe bananas to make banana bread, banana pancakes, or cut into chunks and freeze it to make Açaí bowls. I always do this in case my bananas become too ripe, so I don't remember the last time I threw away a banana. 

11. Juice pulp: So once you've juiced your vegetables and/or fruits, you can easily do something creative with the pulp instead of throwing it away. I use vegetable pulp to make veggie burgers, carrot cake (with carrot pulp) or crackers. There are tonnes of good recipes online!

What's your best tip for wasting less food? I'll make another post on how to waste less food at restaurants soon!

© whiskers & lions

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