Zero-waste eating: get crafty in the kitchen
It’s a growing foodie trend right now, but how easy is it to go waste-free in the kitchen?
Here’s a scary fact for you: more than five million tonnes of food ends up in landfill in Australia each year, according to food rescue organisation OzHarvest.
Whats more, the Australian Government reckons it’s costing our economy $20 billion each year, with all that rotting food releasing greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change.
Here’s how we can do our bit to cut back on food waste at home.
Let your leftovers lead the way to zero-waste
A top tip is to take stock of what you have in the fridge, freezer and pantry before you go grocery shopping. It’ll help you get a handle on what ingredients you already have and what foods needs to be eaten up, which will help you plan your menu.
When you hit the shops, make sure you stick to your leftover-led shopping list. Even better, do your shopping at a bulk store and buy the exact amount you need.
Learn the difference between best before and use by
Hands up if you’re guilty of ditching food that’s past its best before date. Well step away from the rubbish bin because it’s probably still edible.
The best before date is the supplier’s recommendation of when the product is at its best. A use by date is the makers’ guide to when food can be consumed without harm from bacteria.
Good storage is key for zero-waste
Invest in good airtight storage containers and bag clips to help food last longer.
Keep your fridge temperature at a food-saving four degrees. And if you’ve food nearing its use by date, pop it in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it.
Don’t bother with peeling
Not only are most vegetable skins edible, they’re also highly nutritious. Pumpkin, beetroot, potatoes and carrots are just a few of the veggies that you don’t need to peel.
Go root to stem to shoot
This micro food movement is about eating the edible vegetable leaves, greens and stems that we tend to throw away.
The easiest way to use them up is by making soups and stock, with any bitterness taken care of as they bubble away. Add carrot tops and beet greens to salads and smoothies. Broccoli stalks and the green part of a leek go great in stir fries.
Get creative with your scraps
It isn’t hard to make bone broth with leftover bones. Put them in a slow cooker, cover with water and cook on low for several hours.
Stale bread can be made into French toast or blitzed into bread crumbs. Citrus peel can be candied for a sweet treat and fruit scraps used to make vinegar.
Buy from waste-free producers
Do your research and buy from producers that are doing their bit to cut waste.
Plantagenet Pork is a good example. The straw bedding used in their animal eco-shelters is composted and used on other areas of the farm, rather than binned.
WA restaurants going the whole hog with kitchen waste
- Young George Fremantle
These guys score top marks for working nose to nail with their proteins and root to stem with veggies
- Millbrook Winery – Jarrahdale
On Mondays, diners can tuck into a leftover-led three-course menu before the kitchen closes for a couple of days. Plus, the restaurant’s fruits and vegetables are grown on site.
- Swan Valley Gourmet Farm Cafe – Baskerville
At this eco-friendly café, any food scraps get fed to the dog, chickens and goats.
- Mother – Fremantle
With a plant-based menu, this eatery prides itself on waste minimisation. Even leftover table water is kept for the plants.
- May Street Larder – East Fremantle and Mount Hawthorn
The May Street team pickles, ferments, smokes and preserves to keep food waste low.
- Steam Haus – Maylands
Kitchen waste at Steam Haus is collected and composted by Kooda, a start-up that’s all about seeing food waste saved from landfill.
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