3 Easy Recipes to Fight Food Waste

This guest post is brought to you by Jackie Vitale of Sunshine+Microbes.

Estimated reading time: 3 min

I am definitely guilty of having a smelly fridge full of food that has been ignored past edibility. Perhaps that’s a gross way to get your attention, but you know I’m not alone. According to the NRDC, the average American tosses 23 pounds of edible food per month. Yikes! We can break this cycle by not overbuying at the supermarket, having a plan for what we do buy, and getting serious about changing our behavior around food waste (got some turnips in the fridge that you don’t really feel like eating? Eat them anyway! You’ll survive, and they’ll probably end up being delicious).


Learning to improvise in the kitchen is one of the best ways to curb food waste. If you don’t feel confident at the stove, it can feel daunting to figure out how best to jazz up those leftovers, or what to do with that unexciting turnip (I don’t know why I am ragging on turnips. They are delicious). The best way to build up that confidence? Cook more! Cook new recipes. Make mistakes. Figure out what you like and what you’re good at. I recommend finding a guide that works for you. Samin Nosrat’s “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” is accessible and revelatory for cooks of all levels. My friends Jessie and Rob say the website cooksmarts.com has single handedly raised their kitchen game to another level. There are so many potential starting points.


It’s also useful to keep a few versatile recipes in the proverbial apron pocket. I’ve got a savory pancake recipe that I whip up when I’ve got leftover rice or quinoa or barley. I also throw in leftover roasted veggies or past-their-prime greens right into the batter. Below are a few simple recipes for turning would-be food waste into kitchen magic!

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Veggie or Meat Stock


Ingredients:


  1. Collect scraps. I keep a few Ziplock bags in the freezer — one for veggies, one for chicken, one for fish, etc. When making meat stock, you may choose to roast bones in a 450 F oven for 45 minutes, which will give the stock a deeper flavor, before proceeding to the next step.


  1. Place scraps in a pot. Add a healthy amount of salt (about a palmful per gallon of water) and any wine or aromatics like garlic or herbs. Fill pot with water. 


  1. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for an hour or longer. Taste and adjust flavor with more salt or water.


  1. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain out the liquid. Store in fridge or freezer until ready to use.




Gazpacho


Ingredients

Step-by-step

  1. Add all the herbs and veggies to the blender. Pour in a small handful of salt and a healthy glug or two of vinegar. Blend until happy with the consistency. Taste to determine if the gazpacho is acceptably zingy. Add more vinegar, salt, and pepper as needed. 
  2. Feeling fancy? Top with chopped herbs and veggies, yogurt, and a swizzle of olive oil.



Vinegar

My favorite food waste fighting technique combines my obsession with fermentation. I save all of my fruit peels and scraps and use them to make homemade vinegar. This super easy, hands-off process takes about 3-4 weeks, and the results are better than any boring apple cider vinegar from the supermarket. Check out my recipe and start brewing vinegar today!


Thoughts or questions or hot tips for handling food waste? Please get in touch at sunshineandmicrobes.com. If you are interested in exploring how food connects us to the world around us, subscribe to my newsletter, Sunshine + Microbes.

Fight climate change in a way that works for you.

💌 Thinking about sustainability can be overwhelming after a busy workday, so we're here to help. Join over 4,000 other busy people and subscribe to Changeletter, a bite-sized action plan that'll take you 3 minutes or less to read every week.
Thank you! You're signed up for the fight against climate change. Make sure you add us to your contacts or mark our welcome email as important so we stay in your primary inbox instead of your promotions tab.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. it's okay; try this!
"The info is always timely, actionable, and never stale." - Aishwarya Borkar, Change.org
"Making social change always felt so overwhelming until I started reading this newsletter." - Meghan Mehta, Google