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Reducing food waste in the kitchen.

October 18, 2010

Chefs will tell you to use absolutely everything and to save all scraps (well, most scraps) for use in stocks and broths.  Now, I don’t make my own stocks as I haven’t been buying whole chickens of late and I’m flat-out tired.  The local source is an hour plus round trip and while that would be great, with three kids in tow and minimal freezer storage space it isn’t realistic.  You can use just about any produce you have lying around, even leftover produce, in soups, quiches or other baked savory items.  The texture change isn’t as noticeable as if you were trying to pass it off in a salad – don’t.

The way that I cut food waste in the kitchen, especially leftovers, is to make sure that I either make people eat them for lunch or plan an evening during the week to have a fridge clean out.  A fridge clean out night is when whatever leftovers are in the fridge are served for dinner or used to make that evening’s dinner.  Leftover rice and assorted veggies can become fried rice.  Leftover chicken and some steamed broccoli can become either a quiche or a pasta dish, and so on and so forth.  You get the idea.

If your family hates leftovers, and some do, try to decrease the yield of your recipes  so that there aren’t any.  Certain things at our home won’t get eaten as leftovers; chili comes to mind.  I may get two dinners out of it or perhaps chili with cornbread one night and chili nachos another, but beyond that it’s hopeless.  Frozen defrosted chili doesn’t go over so well either, so I’ve adapted to making a smaller batch.

Some people have a tendency towards buying anything that looks good at the grocery store or is priced low that particular week, unfortunately this can eat a hole in your budget if the food ends up wilting and being thrown away.  Either plan your menus around what you buy, or plan your menus before you buy!  I plan ahead, but I do my menus in pencil so I can adjust as needed and don’t have lots of chicken scratch all over my monthly planner.

If you have leftover fruit, look into either putting it into smoothies or crumbles/brown betties/cobblers.  You can also make some great breads out of leftover produce, such as zuccini, banana or various nut breads.

11 Comments leave one →
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