By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
In Canada, each year it is estimated that $27 billion of food ends up in a landfill as waste1. Of that $27 billion, 50% of the food waste is from people throwing away food in the home1. Some of the main reasons noted for this waste includes: improper cooking and lack of confidence using leftovers.1 There is no question that food waste has a large impact on your grocery bill and the environment. A fun challenge is to come up with ways to use all components of the food you’re cooking. This not only saves you money, but it can lead to some very creative meals.
Some foods that people may throw out include: broccoli stalks, cheese rinds, or even chicken bones.
Here are some tips on how to save your scraps and reduce food waste.
Bones for Broth: You just made a delicious roast chicken and have the carcass of the meat leftover. This is the perfect opportunity to make chicken broth! All you need to do is add the bones (with any scraps of meat) to a large pot of water, or for more nutrients, water that has been used to steam vegetables. Add vegetables to the pot and let simmer until the flavours blend. Celery, carrots, onions and herbs are always a good start!
If you’re looking for inspiration, try this great recipe for chicken stock.
Stale Bread/End of the Loaf: We’ve all done it…thrown out stale bread and those hard end pieces that no one seems to want. Try using stale bread to make croutons for your salads or dice them finely in a food processer to make breadcrumbs for chicken. During the holiday season, leftover bread is always great for making stuffing!
Wilted Vegetables: They don’t look pretty but they are perfect for adding flavour to your soups. A leftover potato can add a creamier texture to soup for minimal calories. You can also add vegetable scraps to a stir-fry or purée them for a sauce/soup. Once they’re in a recipe they won’t be judged by their looks.
Overripe Fruit: Overripe fruits are perfect for making smoothies. In a blender, add yogurt, fruit, and skim milk, milk alternative or water to make a nice breakfast beverage. Many overripe fruits (bananas, apricots, apples) are great to bake with as well.
Cheese Rinds: Use these to add flavour to tomato sauces or soups as a salt substitute.
Chicken Scraps: One of the most versatile leftovers is chicken. Some great ways to use chicken scraps are: tossed into a salad or soup for lunch, burritos/quesadillas, or added to eggs for an omelet.
Creative & Confident!
Be creative and confident when saving your scraps. If you were already going to throw something out, there is no harm in trying some of the above tips. So don’t stress out too much about “wasting” what would’ve already gone to waste. Who knows – you may end up with a family favourite!
Gooch, M. Felfel, A. & Marenick, N. (2010). Food Waste in Canada. Retrieved December 8, 2013, from http://vcm-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Food-Waste-in-Canada-112410.pdf