Food waste has been an issue many home cooks have become aware of in recent times. But 2018 is set to be the year we really start tackling the problem, coming up with inventive new ways to reduce the amount of perfectly edible food and drink we throw away every week.
While the biggest change you can make to reduce food waste is to plan meals meticulously and never buy more than you need, having a Vitamix in the kitchen means you can give old ingredients a new lease of life. Take a look at our five tips below and get well on your way to becoming a waste-free cook.
Think About What You’re Throwing AwayAs you’re clearing out the fridge, throwing out old food to make way for this week’s big shop, take a minute to think about what you could do with the ingredients on their way out. Those overripe bananas can be puréed and frozen for desserts. Those old, stale slices of bread can be blitzed into breadcrumbs. Almost any old, wrinkly vegetables can be blended into a soup and frozen for a rainy day. Having the right mindset is the first step to reducing food waste – just think about what you’re wasting and you can always find another use for it.
Make StocksPeels, cores, knobbly bits – you’re often left with an unsightly pile of them after prepping vegetables. But rather than consigning them to the bin or throwing them on the compost pile, these unsightly offcuts hold the key to fantastic, flavourful vegetable stocks. Throw them in a big pan of water and leave it to slowly simmer for a few hours with your favourite seasonings, then strain the liquid and store in the fridge or freezer. If you’re only prepping a few vegetables, save up your skins and peels in the freezer until you have enough to make a big batch.
Transform Leaves into DipsLeafy greens always seem to start wilting in the fridge before we get a chance to finish using them. As your spinach starts to droop, your lettuce leaves get a bit brown around the edges and your kale starts to wither, don’t throw them away – instead, whizz them up into dips and green chutneys, which can be frozen until you need them. Add spices, herbs and pulses for extra flavour and a thicker texture.
Use Old Herbs to Flavour OilsAlong with salad leaves, fresh herbs are one of the most common items we throw away because they’ve gone off before we’ve had time to use them. Soft herbs such as parsley, coriander and mint can be blitzed and frozen into ice cube trays to be added to stews and casseroles as and when you need them, but with woodier herbs such as thyme and rosemary, add the whizzed-up sprigs to a bottle of oil. Over time you’ll create a flavourful, herb-infused oil that can be used to give dishes a professional finish.
Get PreservingPreserving is enjoying a surge in popularity at the moment, as home cooks realise they can make jams, pickles and ferments in their own kitchen – and there’s no better way to use up overripe fruit and leftover vegetables. Blitz overripe oranges to make marmalade, shred cabbages for sauerkraut, finely chop vegetables for relishes; there’s a whole world of preserving to get your teeth stuck into.