While we’re all well versed in reducing the impact that our choices have on the environment (reusable coffee cups, water bottles, straws, and non-plastic shopping bags, holla), we’re definitely less adept at getting the most out of our weekly shop.
We throw an excessive amount of perfectly good, nutritionally-dense parts of our fruits and vegetables away, we chuck out leftovers like there’s no tomorrow, and in reality, we could easily put them to other uses. Australian consumers throw away around 3.1 million tonnes of edible food a year—a shameful statistic that should spur us into action.
The fact of the matter is that such a huge chunk of food waste begins right at home in the kitchen. Here’s how to create less:
Veggie skins, stems and ends
Y’know the ends of carrots, potatoes, celery and turnips that you top and tail then always chuck in the trash? And the skins that end up in the compost at best, and the bin at worst? Well, you should be eating those bad boys.
You can roast them with the rest of your loot so they soften, or work them into something blend-able; like a pesto or a patty mixture. They often have the most nutritional value of the entire vegetable, so scrub ‘em clean and treat them like you do the rest.
Similarly, while the stems of kale, broccoli, cauli feel tough as old boots, they can actually make a delicious addition to your meal. Just roast them until they’re softened with a generous drizzle of oil and pink Himalayan salt, and pat yourself on the back for using the entire vegetable.
Great for composting, but even better for making home-made condiments. Citrus peels can be used to add a hefty dose of zest to sweet and savoury meals or used to make marmalade. Apple skins, seeds and cores are home to most of the fruits’ pectin (which helps with digestion as well lowering blood pressure) so is not to be thrown overboard! Apple peels could also be used to make a home-made jelly that can be served with savoury meals like a cheese plate or pork roast.
Did you know that eggshells are hella rich in calcium? You can use these usually-tossed-aside beauties to make your own calcium supplement. The Prairie Homestead recommends saving eggshells in a large bowl, then steaming them to sanitise and let them dry. She then grinds them down in a blender until they’re a fine powder, and spoons the powder into veggie or gelatin capsules.
There are few things that don’t work in a good, old-fashioned veggie broth, that can be used as a base for soups, and stews or just sipped on its own. Especially if you’re buying organic produce, you don’t want be skimping on any of the benefits. Simply freeze all of your odds, ends, scraps and leftovers in a container, then when you’re ready to get yo’ broth on, chuck it all in a pot with equal parts boiling water and veggies, then simmer for an hour and strain.
Throw onions, herbs, leeks, celery, carrots and garlic in like confetti, and remember that potato or potato peelings will give the stock some serious body and cruciferous vegetables are good in small doses. This straightforward hack saves you money from spending a load on buying veggie stock, and works a charm for minimising food waste. You’re welcome.