If you're like my colleague Caro, you're probably an expert in the kitchen and find many creative ways to salvage the ugly leftovers. If however, you're like me, you don't cook much and every recipe you do touch has a high potential to go wrong... you probably don't know how to further reduce your food waste. Here are 3 tips to reduce your kitchen's ecological footprint without having to do more cooking ;)
1. Make a grocery list
Having your list ready when you go to the grocery store helps you save time, and money and is a great way to make good choices and avoid wasting food.
Unless there's an amazing-never-seen-before discount, I try to stick to my list. Why? Because if I let myself be tempted by a 10 lbs bag of potatoes or the family-size box of croissants, chances are my family won't be able to finish the whole thing in time and we'll have to throw away all the remaining stuff.
Also, if I need a particular ingredient for a recipe that would impress my mother-in-law, I go to bulk stores like Bulk Barn or Vracs et Bocaux to buy the ingredient in small quantities, rather than buying it at the grocery store. This way, I get to avoid wasting food that I would not use otherwise.
2. Plan your weekly menu on Sunday
For the weeknight recipes, I got inspired by my best friend who has been doing something really fun for a while: a weekly menu! I love seeing her little blackboard with the beautiful meals planned for the week displayed in her kitchen. It helps her to plan her portions so that she can estimate how much will be left over to freeze or to bring in for lunch.
We all get caught up in the whirlwind of routine, so dinners have to be planned in advance. While I admit that I don't have a little blackboard menu in my kitchen, I do make sure to use all the ingredients in my fridge to create recipes each night. Thinking about my menu on Sunday means my family eats more homemade food and fewer prepared meals.
3. Use your fridge and freezer to their full potential
We are huge spinach lovers at home. We especially love to put it in our smoothies in the morning and we always make sure to have some in the fridge. In the past, we found ourselves wasting some of it since it gets mushy really quickly. I've started pureeing them in the blender as soon as I get home from the grocery store and I make ice cubes with them, then have a big bag in the freezer. Not only does this give my smoothies a great texture, but it also ensures that I never waste any more of our beloved spinach. You can do the same thing with lots of other leftovers, like broth or herbs.
The fridge is also a great ally in reducing food waste. I discovered that I can triple the shelf life of my avocados when I put them in the fridge once they are ripe. Am I the only one who discovered this trick far too late in life?
Also, to make sure that I don't forget anything in my fridge and that I use up all the fresh ingredients I have before I buy more, I try not to overfill my fridge. This allows me to not waste anything by getting a better overview!
By Stéphanie Bourque, Director of Communications and Partnerships at Still Good