4 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

27 Jul

When I’m cooking, I like to think like a pioneer and do as they used to do.  One thing that they always did was make use of everything at their disposal.  This meant using each ingredient to it’s fullest potential.  This is most commonly done when preparing meat, they would use each part of the animal in some way.  Since this is a compassionate, cruelty free zone, I took this idea and applied it to vegetables.

Many people (myself included) throw away so much perfectly good food.  What we see as vegetable scraps can actually be used in various ways.  Here are a few things that I’ve found which can help you use your ingredients more effectively and save you money in the long run.

1.  Keep your banana peels

banana_peel_s2

Don’t be so quick to throw out that banana peel.  These peels contain essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that have a variety of benefits, especially when applied topically to the skin.  They can be used for treating acne, relief from bug bites and a facial moisturizer.  Just rub the inside of the peel on your skin.  I like to use them as a moisturizer and a way to even my skin tone.  Since I peel a lot of bananas at a time to freeze them for smoothies, I simply cut the peel into squares and store them in the fridge in a ziploc bag.

2.  Save your Carrot Greens

carrot greens

 

Did you know that you can use those greens at the end of your carrots?  However, with the greens attached, they will take moisture from the root which dries out the carrot faster, so most of the time they are removed to improve shelf life.  If you frequent the organic section and the farmers markets then you are familiar with this leafy green.

The bunch of carrots I got on my last trip to the farmer’s market had an abundance of greens and it seemed a waste to throw it away.  So over to Google I turned to make sure that these were edible and research some of the benefits you might get from them.  It turns out that these greens are a good source of potassium, calcium and vitamin C.

Keep in mind though that these greens do tend to taste a little bitter so I suggest mixing them with other salad greens, using them as a garnish or juicing them.  Just cut the greens from the carrots and remove the leaves from the stems.  Wash thoroughly and pat dry and store in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

Making a pesto or sauce with the greens is a great way to use them up.  This carrot green chimichurri from Love and Lemons is one of my favorites!

3.  Reuse Almond Pulp

dehydrated_almond_pulp

Do you make your own almond milk at home?  If so then you are familiar with the almond pulp that you are left with at the end.  Instead of throwing this away, dry it out and then you are left with almond meal that you can use as a gluten free replacement for traditional flour.

To do this simply take the pulp you are left with after squeezing all the liquid out.  Spread it out on a pan or your dehydrator tray.  Set your dehydrator on low and dry until no moisture remains.  After it is all dry, give it a quick pulse in your food processor to break up the clumps that form and grind it into flour.

You can refer back to one of my earlier posts for details on how to make your own almond milk and a yummy cookie recipe to use up some of that almond pulp.  Cookies and milk made from one ingredient?  Now that’s what I call resourceful.

4.  Make your own vegetable broth

vegetable broth

Making your own vegetable broth is the best way to use up all of your kitchen scraps.  You can literally throw in any vegetable trimmings which all help to give flavor to your broth.  Some things that can go in are onion skins, celery leaves and mushroom stems, pretty much anything that you are about to throw away.  Put these all in a freezer bag and keep frozen until you are ready to make some broth.  You will use about 2 cups of frozen scraps to make one batch.

This is a great Oh My Veggies that is one of my favorites to use.

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