As individuals, our collective and concerted efforts can help in improving the situation of food wastage. Simple steps that we take in our kitchen can make a huge difference. It all starts with planning well even before you start preparing a meal. For instance, check the items in the refrigerator and use the ones that you think are going to perish soon. Similarly, plan your grocery shopping. Figure out what you have at home and make a list of items that you really need with the exact quantities. More importantly, stick to the list! It’s easy to get tempted to buy an attractive jar full of cookies purely out of impulse.
STORINGIt’s important to learn about the method of storing different fruits and veggies – this can reduce a lot of wastage. Keep track of all the home-cooked and packaged food stored in the refrigerator. (Here are some tips to get the best out of your refrigerator.) Also, be cautious of how you store your spices and make optimal use of them.
Fill your plate with adequate quantity of food that you think you’ll be able to consume, especially when eating out. “Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry”, Pope Francis had once said. From a broader perspective, food wastage is also leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Try making the most of all edible parts of the food which you may not usually eat.
OPTIMISINGYou can be creative and transform your food into a new dish. For instance, leftover chicken curry can be used to make curried chicken salad. (For more ideas, read our article on converting leftover chicken curry into a brand new delicacy.) Similarly, you can use your culinary skills and make a pickle out of leftover veggies like cucumber, carrot, celery, turnip, cauliflower, etc. Make croutons out of day-old stale bread. Use vegetable peelings, roots, stalks and leaves to make a broth, which you can use to flavour rice or while kneading dough for rotis. You can even use watermelon rind to make dosas! (Learn more about some unusual dosa combinations.) Blend all your leftover greens to make a fresh dip or chutney. If you know you have excess food that you’ll not be able to consume till it’s fresh, donate it to NGOs or food banks.
Food businesses around the world are focusing on environmentally responsible menus. People are making conscious efforts to reduce their food footprint. Chefs and consumers are favouring nose-to-tail or root-to-stalk eating, shopping locally and seasonally, supporting the hyper-local movement, and more. The idea is to make the most of the resources to feed more people and reduce the detrimental impact of food wastage on the environment. The journey has begun, but there’s a long way to go before every person in the world maintains a zero-waste kitchen!
How do you manage food wastage at home? Do you have any ideas that can help in sustainable cooking? Please let us know in the comments section below.