So, you have noticed that there is a lot of food thrown away for seemingly unnecessary reasons and have decided to do something about it. What’s next? Don’t worry, you don’t need a PhD in Food Science to successfully reduce food waste in your kitchen. Cutting back on food waste doesn’t have to be overly complicated, in fact it can be quite easy. Here are 10 straightforward and accessible ways in which you can transform your kitchen into a waste-free zone.
When Buying New Groceries, move Older Groceries to the Front of the Fridge or Pantry
We’ve all done it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve unscrewed the cap of a second liter of rice milk when there was one already open and perfectly ready to be drank sitting on a dark, forgotten corner of the fridge. It may take a little bit of time but reorganizing your fridge and pantry ensures that you will use up what you already have and, what’s even better, you will have a much better idea of what you don’t. Believe me; the grocery list gets considerably shorter when you stop wondering if there are still macadamia nuts left in that mason jar you vaguely remember seeing before it was swallowed by the pantry.
Buy What You Need
This is sound advice, especially when it comes to perishables. Instead of buying a bag of apples try to pick the four you will need for dessert out of bulk bins. (Bonus tip: You might want to visit a Farmer’s Market for this one!)
Make a Meal Plan
Speaking of grocery lists, next time you make one try to base it around a yummy meal plan instead of randomly assorted items. We all have an idea of what we like and don’t but walking into the store with a plan in mind will not only save you time, it will also help you determine the quantity of product you will need.
Freeze your Food
Everybody makes too much food to eat in one sitting once or twice in their lifetime. It happens. Don’t resign yourself to eating, say, potato soup, for the rest of the week. You can easily store your leftovers in the freezer and thaw them the next time you feel like potato soup.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to label your leftovers! In my kitchen, we have a Sharpie hanging from the side of the fridge. Stick a Sharpie or a pen in a drawer and it will become like second nature.
Eat your Leftovers!
Remember when you stored that potato soup? You’ll be glad you did. When you don’t feel like cooking or are simply too busy you can simply thaw what you’ve stored and you’re set.
This tip goes further than eating what you’ve stored in your freezer though! Little things like keeping the chopped onions and tomatoes that didn’t make it to Friday’s dinner and conscientiously using them on Saturday’s breakfast can make a big difference.
You can outsmart Mother Nature! There are certain foods that will help you make the most of their peers’ life shelves. Take some time to learn the particular way you should store each item. It will be life changing!
For example, I learnt from my mother to always store sliced avocado with lime to keep it from going stale. We never have less than perfectly soft, beautifully green guacamole.
Use items to make DIY Skincare/ Hair care
If you still have some leftover avocado that is slowly getting to the darker side of the spectrum don’t panic. You can always whip out a DIY treatment for your hair and skin with what you’ve got in your fridge that is guaranteed to make you glow. Use tomato leftovers to get rid of under-eye circles and put some less-than-perfect avocado mash on your hair to breathe new life into it.
Don’t Judge the Yummy (and Nutritious) Inside by its Cover!
We seem to have a preconceived notion of what fruits and vegetables should look and we inadvertently shun less-than-perfect produce with the misconception that they are, by default, less than the symmetrical ones that sit on the shelves. But wonky looking produce is just as nutritionally sound and delicious as their better looking counterparts. Sadly, they get thrown out each year because of a lack of demand.
In 2015, Intermarché, France’s supermarket chain, worked with Paris-based agency Marcel Worldwide on the Inglorious Food campaign. The strategy aimed to raise awareness about the tonnes of “ugly” fruits and vegetables which are snubbed by shoppers and thrown out as a result each year. Intermarché then went on to purposefully stock “ugly produce” in its stores and the wonky fruit and vegetables (sold at a lower price) soon sold out faster than their pretty predecessors. So don’t be afraid to pick out a two legged carrot from the produce aisle next time you go shopping. You’ll be helping yourself and the environment. It’s a win-win!
Use Your Leftovers as Compost and Reap The Benefits! (Literally)
Instead of throwing out the carrot and potato peels that are left from your most recent culinary adventure, make them work for you by using them as compost. I can attest to this, as my mother uses carrot, potato and even apple peels as compost for her garden everyday and now our hand-picked flower bundles look as they’ve been grown on the hills of Ireland and the valleys of Spain.
Don’t underestimate the power of giving a helping hand. Make the world a little sweeter, (both metaphorically and literally if you happen to be donating a yummy dessert) by making someone else’s day. Organizations like Feeding America help you find your local food bank online. It’s never been easier!
Do You Want to Make a Difference? Then Also Read: