Wasting food usually sends a shrill up my spine. I’ve been told that this sensation stems from my family in Spain whom had no other choice but to save scraps and ends to extend a meal from one to the next.
Praise God that I don’t have to think about saving food to ration, but instead I avoid waste to make a slight dent in the staggering statistic that in the United States we waste 40% of our food. Did you know that?
That food is not just all wasted on our plates and refrigerators, but instead, starts in the fields, in storage and transport, and in the preparation and selling of it. It’s a huge loss especially to think that 2 billion people could be fed for a year with the amount the USA alone wastes each year.
We often talk about feeding the world but maybe, just maybe, we could actually start doing that by making a few simple changes at home to avoid waste. Hey, you never know.
Humble Tips to Avoid Wasting Food
1. Stock Bucket
You often hear of a compost bucket but how about a stock bucket. I have a bowl just like the one above that I pull out when I’m prepping meals. I use it to toss in all of my ends and bits of vegetables that I’d like to save. I save all of my carrot peels, potato peels, ends and bits of celery, fennel, and onions (even the peels). Once I’m done prepping I throw them into a big ziplock bag and freeze them to use in homemade broth. These bits and scraps make a rich and flavorful vegetable broth.
Key to making use of all your fruits and vegetables is to menu plan for the week. Whether you shop specifically for meals that you’ve planned for or as I do, grow and shop for seasonal vegetables and then plan my meals around them, when you have a plan in place, there’s less room for waste.
As my gift to you, when you sign up for my email updates, you’ll receive my eBook, a Month of Meals from Humble Kitchen to Yours absolutely free. With shopping lists included, that should give you a great start to menu planning.
3. A Little Mold Never Hurt Anyone
I’ll never forget staying with my Tita’s in Spain one year. It was 2007 – we had just finished supper when my Tita Dora asked me to go get some oranges out of the pantry for dessert. I happily jotted out of my chair and excitedly hurried to their pantry which as of today still lives in my dreams. It’s a large walk in closet that holds bottles of olive oil, wine, cans of sardines, mussels in escabeche, and everything real a pantry can hold. They even have cured Spanish chorizo sausages hanging from a top and to a girl that’s been enamored with food her entire life, it’s a haven of delicacy.
So when I rushed over to their pantry, I was fully expecting to find brilliantly shining oranges, plump and juicy.
Instead, I found a box of oranges half moldy – similar to that picture above.
My face dropped and I was saddened to have to report back that the oranges were no good. Instead, my Tita’s laughed at me and told me a little mold never hurt anyone. They quickly showed me that the mold was on the surface then cut it out and ate the fruit inside.
Since that day I’ve learned to cut and chop off pieces of good fruit that would otherwise go wasted. I throw the moldy pieces into my compost bucket and we eat the rest.
4. Chop up vegetables into soups, stews and everything else
A good way to use up vegetables that would otherwise be forgotten is to not be afraid to chop them up and add them to all of your meals throughout the week. Really, you can throw vegetables into any kind of dish. I like to add bits and pieces into soups, stews, chili, even my meatloaf (a recipe I’ll share soon).
These are just tips from My Humble Kitchen that I use on a regular basis.
Do you have any tips to avoiding waste in your kitchen? Please share them with us in the comments below.