April is Earth Month and that gets us all thinking on how we can help the keep the earth healthy for many more generations to come. We can do that by using the three R’s…Reuse, Recycle and Reduce. I know we have all done our best by recycling with the help of curbside pick up that is now offered by our local municipalities. We try to be more mindful to reuse as many things over again, rather then run out and buy new items. But today we are going to focus on reducing by providing some of our favourite hacks on reducing food waste in the home.
DID YOU KNOW..?
- 58% of all food in Canada is either lost, wasted or thrown away
- Annually this accounts for $1700 per year per household
- When we throw food into the landfill, it creates a methane gas which is actually more damaging to our environment than carbon dioxide
So here are some hacks. Try one every month to help reduce your food waste.
Before you go grocery shopping take an inventory of what you have and what you require. Meal plan.
If there are fruits or vegetable that are on their last legs (sort of speak), then look to juice them, if you have a juicer. Or make a quick vegetable stock or soup for the lunch or dinner.
The Ice Cube Tray is Your Friend
Blend up your greens or berries that are starting to go bad and pour them into an ice cube tray, freeze and then you have small serving sizes to add to smoothies or sauces in the case of your greens ( great way to hide greens in food and your kids won’t even know)
Leftover herbs. Cut them up and put them in ice cube trays, cover with olive oil to freeze. Pull them out when you want to infuse some flavour to your favourite recipe.
Think ‘Root to Stem’
Try to think of ways to use the full vegetable or fruit. Such as with broccoli, we tend to use only the florets and get rid of the stem or stock. You can shave them into salads or cut the stock into smaller pieces and steam until about 60% done. Freeze these for use in puree soups, add to casseroles or to mashed potato cakes.
1, 2, 3 Method
When shopping think about 3 ways that you can use the food. For example, you purchase a whole chicken. First you cook the chicken for an amazing roast chicken meal. Second you use the carcass for chicken stock. Third you use the leftover chicken meat to make burritos or a casserole that can be frozen for a meal at a later date.
Buy in Season and On Sale
Purchase your fruits and vegetables when they are in season and on sale. Freeze or preserve them for use when out of season. (My favorite is canned tomatoes.) Make antipasto, relishes, salsa, jams and jellies.
If purchasing meat in bulk quantities, then think to use marinades and freeze for quick meals. Make the marinades with those herbs you have hanging around. Marinades are quick and easy to make. You just need a base oil, acid (lemon juice or vinegar) and your flavour (herbs).
Re-Grow your Scraps
Did you know that you can re-grow your potatoes? Once the potatoes get soft and are sprouting those tentacles, you can plant them to grow your own potato plant and produce more potatoes. Or how about the bottom of the romaine lettuce that you cut off? Add it to a container of water and watch the lettuce leaves sprout. You can also do this with celery!
Use Your Imagination
When it comes to using leftovers, use your imagination and be creative. You may just come up with one of your family’s favorite dinners. For example, my husband made a great dinner one night of steak, potatoes and broccoli. With the leftovers the next night, I chopped and added all the ingredients to a skillet and reheated, then cracked 4 eggs over top and baked until the eggs where done. This was a hit with the teens who normally do not like eating leftovers. Who knew??!
Check out these great recipes from our previous posts to help reduce food waste.