Food waste is a hot topic these days because it creates havoc with systems along the waste chain. Fermenting foods create gasses and when sealed up in bags, these gasses can ignite and cause a ‘bang’ sound. The gasses themselves are not pleasant and can make one feel a bit nauseous if they breathe a lot of it. These gasses and liquids eventually work their way out of the bags and into the landfill mess where they can cause fires, wreak havoc on air purity and can result in underground toxins pooling down hill from the landfill. Edible debris in waste bins and at the landfill attract animals, which bring their own set of hazards both for the animals and the landfill itself. Networking with farmers and various composting methods or machines are obvious answers, and there are numerous programs in place working in this regard. However, what if we could reduce food waste at the start – right in our own kitchens?
You might be thinking: “A small bit of leftover broccoli, a 1/2 cup of creamed corn, a 1/4 cup of peas left in the pot… These seem like such a waste to toss in the compost bin, but what can be done with so little?” Quite a lot – actually.
Freeze even the smallest amount of leftovers in small containers or re-sealable bags. Label clearly what the contents are and the amount. These can now be taken out when you are making soups, stews, casseroles, enchiladas, or sauces. It is amazing how much these little additions will enrich flavour and nutritional content of the dish. The bonus is the family will save a huge amount of money over time.
In our cookbook – From One Small Garden – we have recipes specifically designed to help deal with small amounts of leftovers. Some of our favorite ways to utilize leftovers is to make veggie patties, pakora, fritters, saucy crepes, or a hearty, homemade soup.
While it may seem silly to save such a small amount of leftovers, you can now see that it is a smart and ecologically sound habit. Doing this means you took something that was formally considered waste, and turned it into a whole new meal that is both tasty and nutritious. With an extended budget and less time spent shopping, creative food planning like this can unquestionably have a positive impact on both your waste output and your family budget.