There is a serious waste problem not only Canada, but throughout the world. One of the main issues is that we as consumers are huge contributors.
It’s a fact that most households waste an entire bag of groceries worth of food for every five bags bought. That’s a huge percentage.
Maybe it’s the casserole you put in the back of the fridge and forgot about, or maybe it’s half a pack of mushrooms that look kind of shrivelled and dead.
Even if you’re generally good with your wastage and do your best to recycle and have a compost bin, before you toss those scraps, think about how you could really get the most out of them before you chuck ‘em.
Here are some handy tips on how you can repurpose your waste food:
#1 – Don’t Throw Away The Leaves
For many people, whenever they buy vegetables where the leaves aren’t the star of the show (think broccoli, beets, celery or cauliflower) the go-to action is to cut them off and throw them straight out.
The leaves are just as edible as the main part of the veggie and are like any leafy green – incredibly nutritious!
Cook the leaves like you would cabbage our kale. They make a great addition to soups and smoothies too!
#2 – Scraps Equals Stock
Potato and carrot peels, chicken bones and onion skin all make the best flavorings for stock. Believe me, you will never use a stock cube again!
Do you know just how nutrient rich the skins of vegetables are? Yet many of us peel them and throw them away.
Whether you want to make a veggie stock from peels and ends, chicken stock from bones or a mixture of the two, just throw all the scraps into a slow cooker or pot filled with water, bring it to a heavy boil and then let it simmer for around eight hours. All you have to do is strain out the solids and it’s done.
The best part is, as soon as the stock is made you can freeze it for months, meaning you have delicious homemade stock on hand for anything.
My personal favorite thing to do is to freeze stock in ice cube trays. Then you can just pop a cube or two out any time you need one. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a base for soups or stews, you’d be amazed how tasty a spag bol can be with a homemade stock cube thrown in.
#3 – Tasty Baked Skins
One of my favorite, easiest and cheapest treats to make is baked potato skins. Considering you would otherwise be throwing the skins away, this is a super cheap treat!
Potato are the best from my personal opinion, but any of your favorite veggies will work (carrot taste great too).
Simply ensure you wash your veggies thoroughly before you peel them. Then take the peelings, drizzle them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe some chilli flakes if you’re feeling feisty, then bake until crispy.
I make these with a garlic mayo and small side salad and you have a great starter for a dinner party you made with scraps!
#4 – Pet Popsicle
I have two very longhaired dogs and in the summer it gets pretty hot for them. One of their favorite all time summer treats is a meaty popsicle.
The first time I made this, it was as a kind of birthday cake for my dog and it was not only a hit with her but all the cats in the neighbourhood!
In the same way you would make stock, boil meat and or chicken bones – you can throw in some veggie skins for some added nutrition but let’s face it, the meaty flavor is what they are going for – then once you strain off the bones put some in small bowls and freeze.
One of the things I do is throw in some dog treats or if I have any scraps of meat or liver. Once frozen you just tip them out and watch your pet go crazy!
Not only is it super tasty and nutritious, it’s a great cool treat on a hot day and the little treats the find inside now and again make a welcome surprise.
#5 – Pack Your Scraps as You Go
Many times you may not have enough scraps from one meal to make a stock smoothie or pesto, but the great thing is, you can save any off cuts, peels, leaves or bones and bag them and freeze them.
Then when you have enough, simply toss them straight in a pot of water.
This week’s guest blogger is Helen Sanders.Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.