How many people in this world have stale food in the refrigerator or leftovers after a meal? I think its safe to assume that it happens to most of us. And a majority of us don’t know what to do with the leftovers, so we simply dump them into the trash.
I was luck to have the opportunity to attend a cooking demo in the Bay Area by Bon Appetite by Chef Brian West and Maisie Ganzler, who helped develop their Farm to Fork program. The focus of this demo was reducing food wastage and they shared several cool tips on how to make the most of the food that we grow and buy. I have listed some of the things they shared and I have to say, they certainly help in reducing food waste from our kitchens:
- Stale BreadI’m sure all of us at some point had leftover loaves of bread in the fridge. When ithe bread becomes even slightly stale, we tend to throw it away. Instead, we can easily make breadcrumbs by using this hard bread, powdering it in the blender and toast it in the oven for around 10 minutes. These delicious breadcrumbs can be used to coat meats and create tantalizing crusts. However, if the bread is way harder, there is no better way to use it than to make some tasty bread pudding. Please note that if your bread has mold or fungus on it, do NOT use it, throw it away immediately.
- Carrot TopsEveryone eats carrots. At least, I hope so. But how many of us have ever used the carrot top? The greens from the carrot are also a source of nutrition. Chef Jason had prepared a wonderful salad, chopping up the greens with carrot pieces, olive oil, herbs, and breadcrumbs, which I got to sample.
- Wilted Herbs Talking about greens, many of us have probably thrown away herbs just because they look a little wilted. Wilted greens and herbs may not look appetising, but wilting does not actually alter their taste. These herbs can be revived by dunking them in ice-cold water for a few minutes. They will look as good as new.
- Ice-cube it!
- Herb Cubes: If you have leftover herbs, you can add them to ice trays and freeze them with olive oil and butter. These trays can then be frozen. When you want to use them, simply dunk them into a hot pan and they’ll melt.
- Juice and Coffee Cubes: You can also do this with juice. If you don’t like your juice being watered down by melting ice cubes, freeze some juice and use that instead. Same with coffee: Ingenious, isn’t it? Apparently, the same thing can be done with leftover wine as well.
- Cheese Rinds Now this tip is not very well known. It has got to do with cheese rinds. Almost everybody I know throws away their cheese rinds, thinking they are useless. But actually, there is a use for them. Cheese rinds can be used in stews to improve the flavour.
Do you have a citrus tree in your house? If you do, the next three tips are for you.
- Grate some of the peel off your fruit and use it to enhance the flavor of drinks, cakes, desserts, or anything that uses citrus. Just be careful not to put too much because it does have a very strong flavor, and avoid the white part because it is bitter.
- If you don’t have a grater, or are simply lazy like me, you can peel your fruit with a vegetable peeler or knife instead. It won’t give as much flavor as grating, but is an easier way.
- Many people tell me that the trees in their yards yield way too much fruit, and they let the fruit rot and fall onto the ground. Don’t let all that lovely fruit go to waste! Instead you can learn to make marmalades and jam, and have fun in your kitchen. It also tastes delicious, and, well, who doesn’t like jam sandwiches?
Markets are selling produce that are disfigured but are still good to eat at lower prices so that people buy them. The number of people who buy food based on appearance would shock you, and I’m pretty sure that we’re all guilty in some way.
These tips will help reduce food wastage, which is a huge problem right now. Many people do not have food, and the amount being wasted is probably enough to feed them all. Some chefs are actually using these tips, and I hope you will too. Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. If we all do our small part in helping reduce food waste, there might come a time when no food is wasted.
See you soon with more delicious recipes, cooking tips, and experiments!
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