When we think about food accessibility, we also think about sustainability. Given that we are a market and food subscription service, we believe it’s crucial to focus on eliminating food waste – one of the best ways is to repurpose food scraps!
Did you know that across the globe, there are about 2.8 trillion pounds of food wasted annually? That’s enough to feed more than a third of the human population. While not everyone can donate food or money to others in need, we can all do our part to eliminate food waste and make sure we make the most out of the resources we have.
In this blog, we hope to teach you some unique ways to eliminate some food waste that might come out of your kitchen. Ideally, we all would use all of our groceries before they go rotten, but that doesn’t always happen, so it’s good to have these tricks in your back pocket for when you might need them.
We have published previous blogs on making vegetable stock from scraps and growing vegetables from scraps – this blog will focus on other things that might go to waste, like fruit, bread, coffee and eggs.
Don’t Throw Away The Skins
The skins of fruits and vegetables are often full of nutrients, so it’s important to make sure you aren’t just throwing them away. For example, potato skins can be baked into a delicious chip; cucumber skin can be used as a green in a salad. Likewise, an orange peel can be cooked to make marmalade or candied for a healthier, sweet treat!
Save The Seeds
If you have a green thumb and are interested in growing produce, it’s a good idea to save the seeds from your fruits and vegetables. You can use these to plant next year so that you have free, organic produce at your disposal. If you don’t have the time or resources for a garden, at least save the seeds from pumpkins and squash so you can roast them and have a healthy snack.
Turn Stale Bread into Breadcrumbs
If you have a loaf of bread that has gone stale or have some picky eaters that don’t eat the ends of the bread, then you can save that to make breadcrumbs. Then, all you have to do is blend or food process the bread into crumbs and cook them in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, mixing halfway through.
Save Your Eggshells for Fertilizer
Eggshells can make an excellent fertilizer for indoor and outdoor plants alike! They are a great source of calcium and potassium. The trick is to boil water, add the eggshells, and sit overnight to extract the nutrients. Then, use that water to hydrate your plants!
Coffee Grounds Are A Great Fertilizer and Natural Aromatic
There is something so comfortable about waking up to a fresh pot of coffee in the morning, but many people throw those aromatic, used coffee grounds away. Instead, you can sprinkle those directly into the soil of your house plants or vegetable garden. If you aren’t the green thumb around, find a neighbor who can use them – or they are fantastic to compost.
One of the easiest ways to repurpose your food scraps is to compost them. Compost is used to enrich soil and make it nutrient-dense, which minimizes the need for additional fertilization. There are local composting programs if you don’t want to manage the process yourself. There are things that you should and should not compost. For example, you shouldn’t compost things like lard or dairy products, but eggshells are acceptable (and encouraged!)
Make a Bone Stock
If you are cooking a whole chicken, turkey, or otherwise bone-in meat product, make sure you save the bones to make your bone broth. Not only is bone broth packed full of nutrients, but it encourages you to take advantage of every piece of the animal. You can freeze bones as you collect them until you have enough to make a stock, or if you have a whole bird, then you can use the entire thing.
Food Preservation and Storage
One of the most underrated ways to extend your food is the preserve it or can it. For example, if you make too much salsa one day, just throw it in a mason jar and can it, or throw your extra gravy or tomato sauce into a freezer-safe bag for safe storage (and quick defrosting!) If you have leftover vegetables, consider preserving them or pickling them in vinegar. We love the taste, and it helps us stretch our vegetables even further.
There are lots of creative ways to minimize your food waste! The most important thing to remember is that you make a conscious effort to do so. Keep doing your research, keep telling your friends, and most importantly, keep doing your part.
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