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 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again 
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Post 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
Yes, this is my latest soap box issue at my house. East Texas has taken to calling me "Nancy Reagan" for my just say no to throwing out perfectly good food! GAH it irritates me to no end to throw out perfectly usable food!!!!! :banned

Ran across this at Planet Green and thought I would share.


Simple ideas that make a big difference in your budget and help save resources too.
By Colleen Vanderlinden
Harper Woods, MI, USA | Tue Oct 13 07:00:00 GMT 2009

"Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" is a favorite adage in both frugal and green circles, and it is something I strive to live by. One of the best ways to "use it up" is to think differently about our food and ways to avoid wasting it. Lloyd wrote a great post a while back about the statistics for how much food we waste in the U.S., and the numbers are, frankly, appalling. On average, we waste 14% of our food purchases per year, and the average American family throws out over $600 of fruit per year. Most of the food we waste is due to spoilage; we're buying too much and using too little of it.

We've all had it happen: half the loaf of bread goes stale because no one wants to eat sandwiches today, and the grapes we bought as healthy snacks for the kids' lunches languish in the crisper. With a little creativity, and an eye toward vanquishing waste in our lives, we can make use of more of our food before it goes to waste. Here are a few ideas for you.

Using Up Vegetables

1. Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good "mock hash brown."

2. Don't toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs. :hmm

3. Don't toss broccoli stalks. They can be peeled and sliced, then prepared just like broccoli florets.

4. If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don't waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers.

5. Roasted root vegetable leftovers can be turned into an easy, simple soup the next day. Add the veggies to a blender, along with enough broth or water to thin them enough to blend. Heat and enjoy.

6. If you're preparing squash, don't toss the seeds. Rinse and roast them in the oven, just like you would with pumpkin seeds. The taste is pretty much the same. :heart

7. Celery leaves usually get tossed. There's a lot of good flavor in them; chop them up and add them to meatloaf, soups, or stews. :noway Not in my house - celery leaves are the bestest PART!

8. Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. You can then store them in olive oil in the refrigerator (if you plan on using them within a week) or in the freezer. :hmm

9. Canning is always a good option. If you're doing tomatoes, you can use a boiling water bath. If you're canning any other type of veggie, a pressure canner is necessary for food safety.

10. Before it goes bad, blanch it and toss it in the freezer. This works for peas, beans, corn, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and leafy greens like spinach and kale.

11. Too many zucchini? Make zucchini bread or muffins. If you don't want to eat the bread now, bake it and freeze it, then defrost when you're ready to eat it.

12.Pickle it. Cucumbers are the first veggie most of us think of pickling, but in reality, just about any vegetable can be preserved through pickling.

Ideas for Cutting Down on Fruit Waste

13. Make smoothies with fruit before it goes bad. Berries, bananas, and melons are great candidates for this use-up idea.

14. Jam is really easy to make, and will keep for up to a year if you process the jars in a hot water bath. If you don't do the water processing part, you can keep the jam in the refrigerator for a month, which is a lot longer than the fruits would have lasted.

15. Dry your fruit and store it in the freezer or in airtight containers.

16. Make fruit leather.

17. Make a big fruit salad or "fruit kebabs" for your kids. For some reason, they seem to eat more fruit if it's in these "fancier" forms. ;)

18. Use up the fall bounty of apples by making applesauce or apple butter.

19. Don't throw out those watermelon rinds! Pickled watermelon rind is a pretty tasty treat.

20. Make a fruit crumble out of almost any fruit you have on hand. Assemble and bake it now, or leave it unbaked and store it in the freezer for a quick dessert.

Putting Extra Grains to Good Use

21. Make croutons out of day-old bread.

22. Turn day-old bread into homemade bread crumbs.

23. Freeze leftover bread. This way you'll have day-old on hand whenever you need bread crumbs, or croutons rather than using fresh bread.

24. All of those little broken pieces of pasta in the bottom of the box? Collect them and mix with rice and veggies for a simple side dish. :hmm

25. A few tablespoons of leftover oatmeal isn't enough for a meal, but it is great sprinkled on top of yogurt.

26. Add chopped bread to a soup. It will dissolve and thicken the soup.

27. Made too many pancakes for breakfast? Put them in the freezer, then toss in the toaster for a fast, tasty weekday breakfast. Ditto waffles.

28. If you make plain white or brown rice with dinner, use leftovers for breakfast the next morning by adding them to oatmeal. This provides extra fiber and allows you to use up that rice.

29. If you our your kids don't like the bread crusts on your sandwiches, save these bits and pieces in the freezer to turn into bread crumbs later. Just throw the crusts into a food processor or coffee grinder to make them into crumbs. Season as you like.

30. If you have just a smidge of baby cereal left in the box, and it's not enough for a full meal, add it to your babies pureed fruit. It adds bulk and fiber, and keeps baby full longer.

Make the Most of Meat

31. Don't toss those chicken bones after you eat the chicken. Boil them to make chicken stock.

32. Ditto for bones from beef and pork.

33. The fat you trim from beef can be melted down and turned into suet for backyard birds. :heart

34. Turn leftover bits of cooked chicken into chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.

35. Use leftover roast beef or pot roast in an easy vegetable beef soup the next day by adding veggies, water, and the cooking juices from the meat.

Use Dairy Before It Expires

36. If you've got a few chunks of different types of cheese sitting around after a party, make macaroni and cheese. :heart

37. Eggs can be frozen. Break them, mix the yolks and whites together, and pour into an ice cube tray. Two frozen egg cubes is the equivalent of one large egg.

38. You can also freeze milk. Leave enough room in the container for expansion, and defrost in the refrigerator.

39. Use cream cheese in mashed potatoes or white sauces to give them thickness and tang.

40. Put Parmesan cheese into the food processor with day-old bread to make Parmesan bread crumbs. This is excellent as a coating for eggplant slices, pork, or chicken.

Herbs and How to Get the Most Out of Them

41. Chop herbs and add them to ice cube trays with just a little water. Drop whole cubes into the pan when a recipe calls for that type of herb. :hmm

42. You can also freeze herbs by placing them in plastic containers. Certain herbs, such as basil, will turn black, but the flavor will still be great.

43. Make pesto with extra basil or parsley.

44. Dry herbs by hanging them by their stems in a cool, dry location. Once they're dry, remove them from the stems and store them in airtight containers. :heart

Don't Waste a Drop

45. Leftover coffee in the carafe? Freeze it in ice cube trays. Use the cubes for iced coffee or to cool down too-hot coffee without diluting it. You can do the same with leftover tea. :hmm

46. If there's a splash or two of wine left in the bottle, use it to de-glaze pans to add flavor to whatever you're cooking.

47. If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don't pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of refrigerator pickles, or add it to salad dressings (or dirty martinis).

48. You can also freeze broth or stock in ice cube trays, and use a cube or two whenever you make a pan sauce or gravy.

49. If there's just a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and swish it around. The lemon juice will loosen up the honey, and you have the perfect addition to a cup of tea. :heart

Finally....

50. If you can't think of any way to use that food in the kitchen, compost it. Everything except for meat and dairy will work in a compost pile, and at least your extra food can be used for something useful. Such as growing more food! :brockoli :banana :elephant

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/ways-avoid-waste-food.html

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The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:41 am
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Post Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
Excellent ideas, Blue, butI think the real problem is:

1) Most Americans don't cook their own food, they just buy ready-to-eat microwaveable "stuff", and stuff it into the fridge;

2) They don't plan weekly or daily menus, they just wander though the grocery store with brains set on 'duh' and buy "stuff" and "snacks" that look interesting...

The excellent list of suggestions above is mostly based on actual leftovers from real cooking. If only. I suspect that most of what really gets tossed from the average American household fridge (since it is religion that no food must ever leave the frozen dark until moments before eating) is:

a) veggies and meats that never left their wrapping,
b) salad dressings etc that have been sitting in the fridge door since the fridge was built,
c) leftover bits that have descended into biology experiments,
d) carryout and the contents of pointless 'doggie bags' that a real dog wouldn't touch..

I cannot fail to notice that the average American 'grocery store' has perhaps six or seven aisles of snack foods, munchies, treats, candies, condiments, soda pop and t.p. per aisle containing actual nutrition....

All of which is purchased in its 'ready-to-eat' stage, which is the most expensive way to buy food.

Sad.


Thu May 13, 2010 8:10 pm
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 Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
A simple thing I've found out is ***Don't buy what you know no-one in the family will eat*** it's that simple! you can save your money is it really that bad in the U.S. and CehNehDeh thats sad

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Thu May 13, 2010 9:22 pm
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Post Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
Love the new avatar, Freek. :clap

Unforunately, yes it is that bad in the US. Some folks I know (most, in fact) never cook at home anymore except on the weekends. We have, sadly, become a Fast Food Nation.

Some folks I know have really good intentions of cooking and, well, life just happens and they wind up throwing out pefectly good food that was never prepared or eaten. :gah

Here in the US some are trying what we call "the slow food movement." This means buy locally, consume what you buy, recycle or compost the leavings. East Texas (my husband) and I are very involved in this movement.

It can be difficult at times but it is so rewarding to pull a carrot or potato or tomato from a veggie patch in your own back yard. :heart

Like most Americans, we used to consume wayyyyy too much meat - especially beef. Hey this is TEXAS, ya know? :lol

In the last few months, we've also cut down our consumption of animal protein as well. Now not saying East Texas will ever be a vegan (yeah that ain't happening) but he has learned that, yes indeedy, he can eat 6 ounces of steak and feel full - rather than his usual POUND! :crazy :roflmao

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Fri May 14, 2010 6:38 am
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Post Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
The Slow Food Movemnet is happening here in Canada as well Blue and we too are trying our best to do the same.

Having worked in many US Cities I can say with confidence that Canada is NOT as bad as the US for eating out but we are not far behind :nono

Our dining out has been reduced to less than half of what it used to be in fact I bet its more like 3/4's

Now if the DW can just teach me how to make anything other than Chilli and Home Made Pasta (both are KILLER BTW ;) ) we will be in great shape :roflmao

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Fri May 14, 2010 7:11 am
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Post Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
Quote:
Now if the DW can just teach me how to make anything other than Chilli and Home Made Pasta (both are KILLER BTW ) we will be in great shape


Oooh man meals! :clap

East Texas used to only cook steak, burgers, brisket, ribs, chili, and the best stew evah! ;)

Now that he is retired, he has expanded his repertoire and cooks every night! :banana :brockoli :elephant

I will admit that I "help" him by planning the weekly menu and getting together his shopping list. Other than that - he does it all by himself.

I tend to cook what I was taught as a girl and use my enormous library of cookbooks. So I take over the cooking on the weekends. He just kinda wings it! :roflmao

He can now turn out a mean stir fry, great chicken - baked, sauteed, poached - you name it - he does it!

He also cooks spaghetti (with no meat), vegetarian meals, and he has learned to make an awesome shrimp, crab, potato and corn boil like Joe's Crab Shack! Waaayyyy cheaper and much healthier than Joe's.

About the only thing he doesn't do it bake - which is a good thing, if ya know what I mean? ;)

Emeril Lagasse got him interested in cooking. Remember when he was on Food Network back before Food Network was cool?

Anyway, once he saw Emeril cook - he was hooked for life.

Lord help me! I've created a "foodie!" :roflmao

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The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


Fri May 14, 2010 8:45 am
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 Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
I will admit that i..er have a slight weakness for my er.. Chocolate for um.. medicinal purposes! heh heh!

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Sat May 15, 2010 12:19 am
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Post Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
Quote:
I will admit that i..er have a slight weakness for my er.. Chocolate for um.. medicinal purposes! heh heh!


Yeah - medicinal purposes, uh huh that's right! Me, too! :clap

That's why the stuff never hangs around long enough to be called preps! :roflmao

Ummmm chocolate! :heart

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The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


Sat May 15, 2010 11:33 pm
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Post Re: 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again
I don't know if there is a recipe section yet so i'll just put this here

Vegetarian lasagne

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Photography by Ben Dearnley

Cut this family favourite into portions so you can enjoy half now and freeze the rest for later.

Preparation Time
30 minutes

Cooking Time

80 minutes

Ingredients (serves 10)
Olive oil, to grease
700g zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
700g orange sweet potato (kumara), peeled, thinly sliced lengthways
750g fresh ricotta, crumbled
150g Greek-style feta, crumbled
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 x 700g btl passata (tomato pasta sauce)
16 dried lasagne sheets
250g bought chargrilled capsicum, drained on paper towel
250g bought chargrilled eggplant, drained on paper towel
1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
5 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Mixed salad leaves, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a rectangular 3L (12-cup) capacity ovenproof dish with oil. Line a large baking tray with paper towel.

Place the zucchini in a large, shallow microwave-safe dish. Add 2-3 tablespoons water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on High/800 watts/100% power for 2-3 minutes or until almost tender.

Transfer zucchini to the lined tray. Place the sweet potato in the microwave-safe dish and cook on High/800 watts/100% power for 3-4 minutes or until almost tender.

Transfer sweet potato to the lined tray.

Combine the ricotta, feta, milk and eggs in a bowl.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon 125ml (1/2 cup) of passata over the base of the prepared dish. Top with 4 of the lasagne sheets, overlapping or breaking sheets to fit, if necessary.

Top lasagne sheets with half the zucchini and sweet potato slices. Spread half the cheese mixture over the slices.

Top with 4 of the remaining lasagne sheets.

Arrange the capsicum and eggplant over the pasta.

Spoon half of the remaining passata over the capsicum and eggplant. Sprinkle with half of the basil.

Top with 4 lasagne sheets and then the remaining zucchini and sweet potato slices.

Spoon over the remaining passata and sprinkle with remaining basil.

Continue layering with remaining lasagne sheets and spread over the remaining cheese mixture.

Arrange the tomatoes, overlapping slightly, on top of the cheese mixture.

Cover loosely with foil and place on a large baking tray.

Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until the pasta is almost tender (when a small sharp knife can be inserted into the lasagne smoothly).

Continue baking, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender and lasagne golden brown.

Cut into portions and place on serving plates. Serve with mixed salad leaves.

Notes
To freeze: Make the lasagne up to the end of step 5. Set aside to cool for 1 hour.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until chilled.

Once chilled, cut into serving portions.

Wrap each portion individually in plastic wrap.

Place in an airtight container or freezer bags, then seal, label, date and freeze.

To thaw & cook: Place the desired portions of lasagne on a plate in the fridge for 6-8 hours or until defrosted.

Place the defrosted portion/s on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper and cover with foil.

Cook in an oven preheated to 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Serve with mixed salad leaves.

With autumn upon us at Taste.com.au, we're turning to autumn recipes, savoury pie recipes and curry recipes.

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Sun May 16, 2010 12:14 am
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