Reducing Food Waste

Day 289 – Today is World Food Day! It’s a good time to think about ways in which we can try to reduce food waste. The folks at FoodPrint has created an A to Z list for ways we can reduce our food waste.

  1. Avoid over buying & skip buying perishable items in bulk. It’s not a bargain if you don’t eat it all.
  2. B is for blanching. Partially cook vegetables before freezing to help retain their texture & flavor.
  3. C is for composting food scraps. Get all the info to start a compost bin in our primer.
  4. Don’t throw it away! Edible food is often thrown away due to confusion about expiration dates and/or unjustified fear of spoilage. Learn what date labels mean.
  5. E is for ends. Don’t overlook the end of your carrot tops (which can be given to dogs as treats) or apple cores (use them to make vinegar).
  6. F is for freezing. Learn the best methods for freezing a bumper crop of produce to enjoy those flavors all year long.
  7. Give extra homegrown fruit & produce to friends, family and coworkers. Or find a local food pantry through AmpleHarvest.org to give it to those most in need.
  8. H is for storing herbs properly and using them before they turn to mush in the fridge.
  9. I is for infusion. The stems, peels and extras of ingredients with aromatic flavor — herbs, fruits, vegetables — can be used to create infusions, tinctures and extracts.
  10. J is for jamming. Cooking fruit or vegetables down into jam is a good way to preserve items at their peak.
  11. K is for keeping food fresh. Store food properly and it will last much longer.
  12. L is for loving your leftovers. Take the doggy bag from restaurants; turn them into new dishes at home.
  13. M is for meal planning. Go food shopping with a plan so you don’t purchase more than you need.
  14. N is for using the non-edible parts. Banana peels can be rubbed on bug bites to take the itch away; eggshells and dried-out corn cobs can be used as pot scrubbers.
  15. O is for using leftover oils & fats. Store properly and strain after use, and you can use oil and other cooking fats several times before disposing.
  16. P is for pesto. Use leftover leaves, stems, herbs, greens, carrot fronds or beet greens to make pesto.
  17. Q is for quick pickles! With refrigerator pickles, make a simple brine, pour it over extra veggies and extend the life of your food for another few weeks.
  18. Reduce the plastic in your kitchen. Swap beeswax wrap & cloth towels for plastic wrap; use glass containers instead of plastic ones.
  19. Shop small. Avoid big monthly shopping trips and only buy ingredients for a few days.
  20. Think like a chef! Before you toss out old, stale or wilted ingredients, give them another look. Chefs turn these items into vinegars, sauces & more.
  21. Use every part. Seed, stem, leaf, frond, greens, roots — they can all be used in many different ways.
  22. Vow to keep food scraps out of the garbage. Be mindful of what you are putting into the waste stream.
  23. W is for water waste. Save water when cooking and washing up, and purchase items that have a lower water footprint.
  24. X-amine your waste. Look at your current habits & make note of what you can do better.
  25. Yesterday’s leftovers are today’s lunch. Make a dish brand new by adding fresh herbs or your fridge’s best condiments.
  26. Zest your citrus! Don’t waste this flavorful part of the fruit. If you don’t need it now, freeze it to use later in baking, syrups and marinades.

Reducing your food waste is as easy as ABC.

Tomorrow, the plastic hanger problem.