As a child growing up my mum would always utter these words, along with ” you can’t leave the table till that plate is empty”
As a chef working in a busy kitchen we try to use everything we can from brocoli stalks to carrot tops… But more on this later.
Food waste is a big part of life nowadays, we should all be taking steps to reduce the amount of waste we are producing. Here is some small steps to help you reduce your food waste and help the planet.
Tossing away edible food doesn’t just waste money, discarded food is sent to landfill where it rots and produces methane gas which is the second most common greenhouse gas, in other words throwing out your food contributes to climate change.
It also wastes a hugh amount of water, 24% of all water used for agriculture is lost through food waste every year, that doesn’t sound like a lot but in fact it’s 45 trillion gallons a year which is about 170 trillions litres.
There are many simple steps we can take to reduce these numbers.
- Shop smart
Instead of doing a bulk shop have a meal plan. Plan your week ahead and buy just the right amount to avoid spoilage
2. Store food correcly
Are you familiar with F. I. F. O
“first in, first out”
Pretty basic, what goes in the fridge first is used first to avoid waste. Can save you money as well.
As well as the F. I. F. O rule separating certain foods will prevent spoilage foods like potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumber and onions shouldn’t be refrigerated they should be kept at room temperature.
Seperating food that produces more Ethylene gas from those that don’t is another good way of reducing food waste.
Ethylene promotes ripening in food and can lead to food waste,foods that produces ethylene gas while ripening. Bananas, avocado, tomatoes, cantoloupes, peaches, pears, green onions.
3. Learn to perserve
Persevering food dates back to 2400 B. C. It is a great way to keep things from spoiling it also adds more flavour depending on what you are using to preserve. Preserving meat, fish and veg In brines or pickling liquids is fun, you can get very creative with ingredients. I recommend River cottage guilds to persevering and pickling. They are brilliant.
4. Save leftovers
After a big meal save the leftovers for sandwiches the next day. We can all do this.
5. Eat the skin / peels
Most people avoid the skins mainly because they are unattractive but the truth is most are very beneficial for us. We have some great ideas coming with uses for banana skins. Stay tuned for that…
Apple peel & chicken skins are great examples as well as banana peel.
Apple peel have a compound called Triterpenoids they act as a potent antioxidant and research has found they may have cancer fighting abilities.
Chicken skins are also packed with nutrients like Vitamin A & B as well as being a good source of lean protein and healthy fats, chicken skins are also an amazing source of of antioxidant selenium which combats inflammation in the body.
Banana peel has a Hugh amount of healthy benefits although eating the peel is not very common in the West. Banana peel contains vitamin C & E, contains high amounts of B6 & B12, as well as potassium, zinc, iron, manganese.
Banana peel contains two compounds known as Lutein & Carotenoids which calms inflamed skin and reduces acne breakout. Banana peel can be, grilled, deep fryed, baked or eaten raw. The list is unless.
6. Blend it up
Blend up fruit and veg that is starting to spoil into smoothies. You can even make a soured fruit soup. We have a hungarian fruit soup on our blog… Check it out.
7. Homemade stocks
A great way to make a tasty meal. You can literally throw whatever you like into a stock. It’s completely up to you. After all you have to eat it…
8. Serving sizes
Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your belly as my mum always says.. Take what you can manage to avoid waste.
9. Freezing food down
Instead of throwing it away. Bag it up and freeze it down. You can keep most foods for 3 – 6 months in the freezer. Saying you money and time in the long run..
Do you like to garden on the weekend? Some types of food waste can be composted its a another great way to reduce landfill waste. Just make sure non compostable waste goes into your food waste bin.
Theses are just 10 simple steps. Nothing challenging or costing they are many more ideas out there, we are also working on new ideas to reduce waste.
as a chef nothing is more heartbreaking than putting time and effort in just to see it go in the bin.
Now more than ever we need to do more to tackle this problem and gradually reduce what we waste, the planet will thank us.
We have another post coming on a banana peel curry which is 100% vegan as well as a broccoli stalk salad. Little ideas like these can really make a big difference to our planet, reduce food waste and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Let us know your thoughts and ideas. We appreciate feedback and no answer is a wrong answer. Thanks for reading
The hungry chef