zero food waste is a major goal in arriving at a green lifestyle. Our throwaway culture encourages us to send tons of food waste to landfill with all the environmental problems that causes. But we are learning the importance of a more sustainable approach. The answer is zero food waste – or as close as we can get to it.
We dump a quarter of all the food we buy
About a quarter of all the food we buy ends up in landfill. So the first step you can take to achieve zero food waste is simply to buy less food. Draw up a meal plan for the week ahead and write a grocery list you can stick to.
These are the tips to follow after you’ve got your grocery list under control.
In the previous article you can find 15 tips for a zero waste kitchen covering everything from buying in bulk to reusable straws. But here I focus on the most significant contributor to kitchen waste – food waste.
You can crisp up stale crisps and snacks with a 10 second blast in the microwave on full power.
Scrub some vetetables such as potatoes and carrots instead of peeling them. You’ll have less waste and the food contains more nutrients.
Don’t slice a whole lemon if all you need is a few drops. Just puncture the rind with a toothpick and squeeze out the drops you need. Cover the hole with a piece of tape and pop it back in the fridge.
Many vegetables regrow in a jar with some water.
Lettuce keeps longer if you store it in the fridge in a paper bag. Don’t be tempted to discard the outer leaves as they keep the inner leaves crisp.
The outer stems of greens such as kale are great in smoothies.
If you’ve peeled too many potatoes cover with cold water and add a few drops of vinegar. They’ll stay fresh for three or four days in the fridge.
Rescue old bread by making croutons.
To crisp up leftover pizza put it on a skillet for four or five minutes.
If your celery goes limp place it in a bowl of cold water with a few slices of raw potato for about an hour.
Another tip to crisp up celery before serving is to soak it for 30 minutes in a quart of cold water mixed with one teaspoon of lemon juice.
Zero food waste means sometimes having to think ‘What can I make with this?’
Revitalise leftover food with herbs and spices, sauces and relish. If in doubt soupify!
Over-ripe bananas are perfect for baking.
Prepare lunches at home rather than eat on the go, it’s cheaper and it cuts down on packaging.
When lemonade goes flat make ice lollies – pour some in an ice cube tray and place a toothpick in each space.
If you want to use up milk before it goes out of date make cottage cheese.
Coffee grounds are great for keeping ants at bay.
Orange peels also keep ants at bay and deter flies and mosquitoes.
To prolong the life of fresh eggs by three to four weeks rub the shells with vegetable oil before storing the eggs in the fridge.
The most important tip of all for achieving zero food waste: make more food from scratch. If you don’t think you have the skills to make a complete dish think of ingredients you could add to many different meals – start with something easy such as frozen fruit before graduating to more complex challenges such as tofu.