Why do we waste so much?
If you caught War on Waste recently on ABC you will have seen that Aussies waste over 30% of the food we bring into our homes. Every time I sit down to a meal now I picture 30% of the food going in the bin and it is devastating!
It’s not just the food that’s being wasted, but also our hard-earned money, plus all of the costs to the environment in growing and transporting that food. Plus, then we have to find somewhere to store all the food we throw out. If you are not composting this food at home it is likely sitting in landfill as long as a plastic bag. Food needs sunlight and soil to compost and most things in our dump never see these two essential components.
So, if a carrot is still a carrot after years of being at the dump then imagine all of our other food scraps and waste adding to the pile. Especially, when we can eat most of them! We are a wasteful society and have come to see certain bits of food as inferior; The ends, skin, seeds and leaves of vegetables for example! All edible, all nutritious and often thrown away. It makes me want to cry!
Lets get back to eating ALL of our food and wasting as little as possible. Here’s a few tips:
Throw that peeler out! There is no need to peel your vegetables - eat the skin. It often contains a lot of the nutrients.
Eat the stems! There is no reason why we need to throw away the end of the broccoli or cauliflower or even our herbs! I use the whole piece of broccoli when cooking and the ends are actually preferred in my house to the trees. They have a different flavour and texture and you can add them to stews and slow cooking and you won’t even notice them.
When using herbs use the whole thing. There are different properties and flavour from the leaves vs the stem of herbs. We use parsley stems when frying up onion and garlic for a tomato based sauce or the roots from the very end of coriander for broths and Mexican while saving the leafy tops for freshness on the table.
If you have an awesome blender you can pop your avocado seed into a smoothie, or get the grater out and grate it over the top of food.
If you are unsure, have a Google. There are some leaves we shouldn’t eat like rhubarb but a quick look online will tell you what you can and can’t eat and also what it may taste good with!
The other thing is to check out some indoor composting solutions so we can stop the waste from building up. In an apartment? So are we, and there are some really great options for bench top composting. We then just tip it out on the trees, gardens and grass up the road.
A huge amount of food that we have come to think of as waste and would normally throw away, we are now thinking twice about!
Take for example beet greens (pictured below), the beautiful bulky stems of your fresh beetroot, they are full of nutrients and great for our liver. After a good rinse (get them from the markets and you will bring home plenty of dirt!), I plan to fry them up with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper plus a squeeze of fresh lemon over the top. Yum!