I’ve a confession to make. Hi, my name is Vera, and I’m a hoarder. I like to collect shoes, bags, clothes, (a girl can never have enough of these) and obviously FOOD. We’re doing the usual Spring cleaning of the pantry, and I was shocked of the amount of food I stocked up. Because why would anyone need, 20 bottles of honey, 4 packs of quinoa, 5 boxes of bulgur, and so much grains I could never eat in a year. I could easily continue with the list, but I am embarrassed. Reading about food waste is one thing, facing the harsh reality equals to awakening.
And here I thought that I’m an environmental conscious person. How could I’ve been so wrong. I did a little research and was shocked to see how much food is wasted in the world. Here are the facts: In the developed countries, in average of 100kg food per person lands in the trash every single year. It is not only about the money we throw out this way, but if we add it all up, could easily feed the the nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world with the food we dispose of. I find this fact horrifying.
What can we do to reduce food waste? It is actually very easy. First of all, always, always, always make a grocery list, and stick to it. Try to avoid impulse buys. I know, those ads look so delicious. Marketing companies surely know what they are doing, but stay strong.
Even if I shop from the list, I tend to overbuy. How much salad does a family of three need for the weekend anyway, surely not five. In order to avoid overbuy, I make a meal plan, 3-4 days ahead. This way I can recheck what ingredients I have already in the pantry, and know exactly what I’m going to need to buy.
Vegetables and fruits are not so attractive after a few days, but just because they are not so pretty, does not mean they don’t taste fine. Lately, I don’t let them just sit around, I use them up in smoothies, vegetable stock or in sauces. They don’t need to look pretty there, just the taste is what counts.
Leftovers I can hardly predict. Some days we eat everything up, and on other days there is something that remains. Either I freeze it – This way, on my lazy days, I can just defrost it and enjoy a wonderful meal without any effort – or I reinvent it. Especially after holidays like Christmas and Easter we have more excess food than usual, mostly meat. It surely does not taste so fine the next day, but with some additional spices and veggies you can reinvent the meat from yesterday, and nobody will notice it. I especially like to use Asian or Mexican spices to camouflage yesterdays meal.
Bread and pastry are not so pleasing the day after, but this one does not give me a headache anymore. There are so many ways to use up old bread. I usually make bread crumbs –which tastes much better than any store bought. I also freeze it if we have more leftover bread. After defrosting, and 3-4 minutes in the hot oven turns the bread again crusty and fresh. It does not happen often, but if we have some braided bread remaining, I like to give them a new life in Bread and Butter pudding.
If you are committed to reducing food waste, I suggest you don’t hesitate. I took it is a challenge. After the first shock of seeing how much food we actually waste in our family, I wanted to do some good for us and also the environment. My system works very well now, but I’m always looking for new ideas. What do you do to fight food waste?