Waste Not, Want Not: Creative Ways To Repurpose Not-So-Fresh Food
There’s probably not a person in the nation who hasn’t faced the dilemma of not eating all the fresh produce we’ve purchased by the end of the week. And probably why the average Australian throws away 300 kilograms of food each, every year.
Food wastage is not only an issue for the environment, but fighting food wastage can also help fight food insecurity. So how can we, as individuals, do more at home to lessen waste by stopping ripe food turning rotten. Here’s a few tips and tricks from the Food For Change team:
- Pickling and pureeing for preservation: When your fresh produce is on the verge of turning, do a little research on different ways to use it and extend the shelf life. For example, did you know you can pickle carrots and keep them in the fridge for two or three weeks, sometimes longer? A simple brine within a glass jar and you’ve got yourself crispy, flavoured carrots perfect for salads and sandwiches. Pureeing is another really good option for fruit and vegetables. If you’re not likely to eat all your ripe apples for example, blend them up and turn into an applesauce – delicious with your roast pork – and you can split into smaller jars and keep frozen to enjoy it all year round.
- Do-it-yourself dog food: This is great for vegetables that are about to turn, or for using all the odds and ends that you tend not to eat – such as broccoli stalks, or the stems of celery. Simply mix up with something starchy like sweet potato or pumpkin, boil or slow cook until the vegetables are mashable. If you’ve got meat leftovers or raw meat that might have been in the fridge a little long, cook it up and stir through your vegetable mash. You can even beef this up further with some cooked rice or pasta, and there you have it – a healthy wet food option that reduces food waste, costs a lot less than tinned food and will get tails wagging. Haven’t got a dog? Why not cook up or donate to a doggie friend in the neighbourhood?
- Find the perfect blend: More than just a craze on Instagram, bright coloured, healthy vegetable and fruit juice or smoothie mixtures are not only tasty, but great for preventing food waste. There are so many recipes available online but a couple of tips from us when it comes to smoothies – make sure you have almost equal parts of a liquid base (like milk, juice or water) along with fruits and vegetables and finish off with a bit of thickener – which is normally something like a banaga, oats or even just ice cubes. When it comes to juicing, follow a similar recipe for flavour success – ensure you have a base (such as celery or cucumber), citrus, leafy veggies, a touch of something sweet (such as appeal or pear) and a good solid flavour (this last point is why you often see ginger, mint and turmeric in vegetable juices).
All in the all, the key is to get creative, or seek out suggestions. Before you pop that piece of produce in the bin – have a quick google and see what other ways you might be able to get a second life out of it. Yum!