Food waste is an issue I first encountered while working at Food Network on a special called “The Big Waste” with Chefs Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay and Michael Symon.
On seeing the Chef’s honest shock, surprise and dismay as they visited orchards, grocery stores, went dumpster diving… it dawned on me, if professional Chefs, food industry professionals, are surprised when confronted with food waste, then how on earth would the average Jo (which is my middle name by the way) know about it.
I decided right then an there to start making as many small changes as I could with the hopes they would add up to zero, zero food waste at home. Years into this effort we’ve made great strides and I’m happy to say, the amount of food that is discarded in our home is extremely minimal.
Tricks to Save Food
- Berry Freeze: We love berries but I noticed these were the quickest foods to spoil and go to waste. So unless you have a recipe in mind, freeze half of what you buy right away. You still get the pleasure of buying and eating them fresh plus, having the convenience of having them on hand to toss in fruit smoothies, pies, jams and more.
- Juice Stems: Broccoli, herbs, vegetables sold by the bunch, often have stems or leafy tops that are easy to overlook and toss. Keep an airtight container in the fridge for anything that doesn’t make your dinner plates. Then every 2-3 days, give them a good wash and juice them with fruits. It’s healthy and surprisingly tasty.
- Cook Like an Italian: Italian cuisine at its best requires very few ingredients. With one excellent vegetable, pepper, eggplant, squash, tomato, you can turn a simple base of pasta, rice or even a fried egg into a dish that sings the praises of that ingredient. Plus, got leftovers? Nothing beats a Frittata as a way to reuse and reduce waste. A one skillet wonder, simply toss in left over meats, pasta, veggies to warm, then pour in enough whisked eggs to cover, add a touch of cheese if you like and bake till done. Easy, delicious and a great use for last nights scraps.
- Eat Lunch Like a Leader: Ever wonder why/how someone could eat the same thing everyday. I dug into this idea. Turns out, we have a limited amount of energy each day, and every decision you make taps into that energy. Too many choices in a day, can be taxing and stressful. Eating like a leader, twice a day saves energy and stress. In my house, my Husband and I eat one of three different meals at Breakfast and at Lunch. These are our fuel for our brain meals. At dinner, we go wild! That way, when I hit the grocery, I buy our staples and only have to THINK about what to buy for 3-4 meals out of the week. Funny for a food blogger right!
- Groceries: Planning a weeks worth of meals, takes a little time but if you stick with your list, and ONLY what’s on your list, you’re much more likely to buy only what you need. Plus combine this with tip 4 and this one saves time at the market and can take a giant bite out of your food budget.