After my partner and I spent some time over the weekend watching War On Waste the Australian documentary series Ive decided to take another look at what we do, how we contribute to this problem and change some things in our lifestyle and habits to match.
I think we are a little unaware of how bad it really is. We don’t know what we don’t know right. So if you haven’t yet done so its time to check out the show. Its on air every Tuesday night 830pm (Syd time) or you can catch up on episodes online.
So I think the best place to start is in your kitchen. We waste food every single day but there is definitely some ways to lesson the impact without having to become a full on ‘green thumb’ hippie.
Simple daily changes can make all the difference to the bigger picture. If you learn how to store your food properly then you won’t have to throw it away so quickly. Only buy what you need, make lists, plan meals and measure out the ingredients you require before you hit the shops. Understand and learn the expiry dates so you don’t have to throw away food thats still good enough to eat. Most importantly look for ways you can get clever with your cooking process to reduce the wastage.
Here are some tips to get you started…
Don't skimp on the stem - I remember when I met my partner I almost died when he was about to throw out the entire Organic $17.95 per/kg perfectly good broccoli stem. Make sure you are using as much of the whole fresh ingredient as you can. Broccoli stems are actually awesome for roasting and have so much great nutrient value it would be such a waste. Also when its organic its much sweeter than conventional, give it a try! Beetroot leaves even taste great in salad. You can even use the tops of carrot to make pesto.
The Freezer is your friend - I literally freeze everything! There are so many things you can keep in the freezer. (Check out this blog here for more freezer hacks) You can freeze chunks of these, pre chopped veggies for steaming or smoothies, nuts, flour or even soup for single portion serves.
Save your citrus peels - Peels are one of the most versatile parts of a vegetable. I do however recommend if you are going to be consuming peel of fruits that you are buying produce that isn’t sprayed with nasties that you are going to be ingesting. You can also freeze peel for later use like baking, healthy treats, cocktails… you can even use the peels to create a bench top cleaning spray.
Don't dump the scraps - Veggie scraps and trims can be awesome for creating stock. Chuck them in the freezer and grab them when you need to make a delicious flavoursome stock.
When all else fails, create a quiche - You can put almost everything in a quiche. Left over veggies, scraps, wilting herbs, left over juice from dinner dishes to add flavour.
Coffee Grounds - I am a huge fan of my home made morning coffee so I very regularly have left over brewed coffee grounds. These are super useful for both yourself and your home. I love making homemade body coffee scrubs (can find a recipe here) but you can also use these for the soil of your veggie patch if you have one, or chuck it in the compost. It is so great for the soil.
Find ways to do fruit differently - If you bought too much over the weekend at the markets, which is very easy to do, find different ways to use them before they go off. You can make home made jams with berries or freeze fruit at their peak hipness so you can chuck them in your morning smoothies.
Happy Herbs - These guys wilt very easily, but I always love the smell and taste of fresh herbs so I often buy them. But what you can do is chop them up and mix with olive oil or melted unsalted butter and put into ice cube trays. Cover them with plastic wrap and freeze overnight then store in small bags or container. You can also mix them with fresh oil and store in glass bottle, (olive oil is a natural preservative) or make them into pesto, chimichurri. You can ever chop them and store in small bags to throw straight into cooking dishes.