5 easy ways to waste less food

2017-01-23 06:01

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Photographs: Jan Ras, Toby Murphy and Russell Smith

Did you know that fruit and veggies generate the highest levels of food waste in SA?

That’s according to research conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature, who also report that of the 31 million tons of food available in SA every year, one third (some 10 million tons!) is lost to waste.

That’s enough to fill the Cape Town stadium more than five times over every year!

You can help reduce food waste by rethinking what you do with some of the food that usually ends up in your kitchen bin.

Here’s how:

Make vegetable stocks

Resist the urge to toss veggie trimmings while you’re making dinner. Save those carrot tops, beetroot and celery leaves, tougher cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus stems and any vegetable peels to make a flavourful vegetable stock. Rinse the bits and bobs, keep in a container in the fridge, then add them to water (about 2 full cups to a litre of water) with any wilted herbs you might have, as well as ½ t each fennel seeds and black peppercorns. Simmer for 20 minutes then strain (the cooked bits can go on the compost heap if you have one), season to taste and use the stock for everything from soups to risottos.

Make smoothies

Have any fruit that’s past its sell-by date? Peel and pop into a blender with a couple of bananas, low-fat plain yoghurt, a dash of milk and a drizzle of honey for a get-up-and-go smoothie. Other tasty (and good for you) smoothie additions to try: a handful of your favourite nuts, a few tablespoons of peanut butter, chia seeds soaked in coconut milk, rolled oats and granola.

Make meaty broth

Those leftover bones from roasts and chicken carcasses are good for more than just dog treats, you know. And, while you’re at it, don’t ditch those Parmesan rinds either – they’re packed with umami goodness. Freeze leftover bones until you have about 2 kg, then simmer in 4 litres water with carrots, onions, celery stalks, bay leaves, garlic, 2 Parmesan rinds and seasoning for a couple of hours, or until flavourful. Strain and use like you would regular meat stock.

Make salads

Think beyond traditional lettuce leaves when making salad. Beetroot, cauliflower, turnip and celery leaves, carrot tops, finely diced broccoli and cauliflower stems and spinach stalks all make excellent salad ingredients – especially when drizzled with a zingy dressing and topped with crispy, pan-fried potato skins. Who needs croutons, right?

Make pestos

You know that half-full bag of spinach and stray sprigs of basil, coriander and parsley that have gone all wilted in the fridge? Whizz them up in a blender with nuts, garlic, olive oil and grated hard cheese to make a punchy pesto. How’s that for a fridge-forage dinner? 

Need further inspiration? Watch how Woolworths is helping the environment and community by cutting down on food waste.

Read more on:    food waste  |  today with woolies  |  partner content
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