The amount of food waste in America is nothing short of a sin. Have you ever given careful consideration to where your food comes from? Yes, veggies come from a farm, for example, but unless you went and picked them yourself, those veggies passed through a lot of hands to get to your plate. A crop was planted by one person, harvested by another, loaded onto a truck driven by someone else and transported to a grocer where it passes through a few more hands before it lands in your cart. That’s a whole lot of people working hard for your veggies! Now, imagine how many more people take part in the production of processed foods, from growing the ingredients, to processing and packaging. I feel that when we choose to be thoughtful about where our food came from, we come to appreciate it’s true value.
There are so many things we toss in the trash that are perfectly useable. So, what are some ways we can reduce food waste?
- Aquafaba: What is aquafaba? It’s the brine from canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans which can be used for things like meringue and mayo. We use dry beans as opposed to cans, but its pretty amazing. Visit here for recipes.
- Coffee grinds: I say to rub them on your face, but here are some other cool ideas.
- Juice pulp: If you own a juicer and throw away the pulp after juicing you’re missing out on tons of fiber and nutrients. The uses range from baking to skin care! Veg Times has some great ideas here.
- Regrow veggies in water: You know the root part of the green onions you’ve been throwing away? Yeah, you can regrow them on your counter by simply putting them in a glass of water! The same applies to leeks, romaine lettuce, and fennel. Free food!
- Stale bread: If your bread is a little hard and dry but otherwise good, make a batch of homemade croutons, stuffing, or bread pudding.
- Veggie tops: I make a pesto out of carrot tops that far surpasses any plain old basil pesto in flavor! Other common greens that should be treated as equals of kale and the like are turnip greens, beet greens, and radish tops. Think twice before tossing those tops!
- Veggie broth: Now that you’re thinking about eating more of those veggies, let’s discuss the inedible parts. The garlic and onion skins, peels, ends, you name it, it goes in the broth! Homemade veggie broth packs a nutrient punch that you will never get in a store bought broth. You will see by the color alone that there is no comparison. We don’t follow a recipe (rebels!) but should you prefer a little direction, here is a good one.
If you have an abundant garden or fruit trees, check out Falling Fruit and share your bounty.
Meal planning is another great way to reduce waste. Plan your meals for the week and make a list (and stick to it!). Choose ingredients that can be used in more than one dish. For instance, make a large pot of quinoa and use it as a base for a number of different meals throughout the week.
When you sit down to your next meal, stop and take a good look at your plate. Acknowledge the work of others that went into each ingredient of your meal and remember to savor each bite in appreciation.
Nom, nom nom!