Every year in EU countries around 88 million tonnes of food are thrown away, of which the most is thrown away in households (53%) and food processing processes (19%), which makes 72% of total food waste. This is the biggest reason why everyone should consider composting, but there are plenty of ways to use food leftovers before it finds its way into compost bin.
Did you know that cutting, chopping and peeling vegetables and fruits according to some data, makes up as much as 35% of total waste?
We have a habit of throwing away leaves, peel, seeds and stems which are full of antioxidants and dietary fiber and contain more nutrients than the usual edible parts. You don’t need to be an environmental expert or a top chef to reduce kitchen waste, with just a few tips you can manage the waste in your home and actually save money.
The first step is meal planning and smart shopping. That way the food will always be fresh, just use what is available before it spoils so there is no excess.
The second step is to cook without waste, as if the trash bin doesn’t exist. Below we bring you a few ideas on how to take advantage of the entire product.
1. VEGETABLE STOCK CUBE
Store the tops, stems, heart, peel (if you use organically grown vegetables), seeds, hard parts, outer leaves and other leftover vegetables in an airtight container, in the freezer. When a sufficient amount is collected, wash, simmer in a pan for an hour and strain. You can use cooked vegetables immediately, or freeze them in small vegetable cubes.
Kale, broccoli, chard, spinach and dill are full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Therefore, use every gram of green leafy vegetables and make pesto from the leftovers. Blanch for just one minute and chop in a blender along with the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and oil. Sometimes it is necessary to add a little water for creaminess.
You can serve it as a topping for pasta or as a spread to sandwiches.
3. SMOOTHIE ADD ON
Broccoli leaves contain more vitamin A than its flowers, while beetroot leaves are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and iron. So don’t throw away beet, cauliflower, beets and radishes leaves, but chop them up, simmer a bit and add them to your smoothie.
4. ALTERNATIVE TO PARSLEY
You can add celery, carrot or fennel leaves to salads, soups or risottos, as a substitute for parsley.
5. SALAD SEEDS
Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber and magnesium. You can briefly fry them in the oven in a little oil and flavor with spices and add to salads and other dishes.
6. BREADED CHARD ROOTS
Isn’t it a shame to throw away the “eye vitamin” rich in magnesium, iron and vitamins B and C?
Cut the chard roots lengthwise, if larger, and pat dry. Make the pancakes like dough, just a little thicker. If you like bread crumbs, you can add them too. Dip the roots into the mixture and fry briefly.
7. USE THE PEEL
Carrots, potatoes, apples, peaches and some other fruits and vegetables are peeled before eating and preparation. Be sure to clean them well before peeling and use the remaining peel.
When making mashed or boiled potatoes, do not throw away the potato peel, but bake them in the oven with a teaspoon of olive oil and some spices to make chips.
Turn cucumber peels into the famous Greek tzatziki sauce with cream and yogurt.
Dehydrate the apples. Dried apple peels are a healthy snack that can stay in good condition for months.
You can use organic lemon peel to prepare cakes, marinades or lemonades, put it in a tea, but also use it for household cleaning.
8. INEDIBLE PARTS
Don’t discard inedible parts of food either, as most can be used to water plants.
Wash the banana peel well, dry it in the sun and put it in a bowl with water for a few days. This process will give you a liquid rich in minerals, with which you can water indoor or garden plants, as well as fruit trees.
In addition, banana peels are great for insect bites itching removal.
Egg shells can be used to grate pots and pans, and citrus seeds are used in the production of pectin which in acidic conditions forms jams, jellies and similar products.
Only after you have really used up all the ingredients to it’s maximum, throw what’s left in the compost bin. To help you, in our next post we bring you “How to compost in the apartment”.