Food waste is a massive problem the world over but Canada is one of the worst offenders when it comes to throwing out what could have been a great meal. These 12 tips and recipes from Canadian food bloggers are just a few of the ways anyone can limit food waste and stretch a dollar at the same time.
Canadians are terrible when it comes to wasting food. There's no gentler way to say it.
And the numbers don't lie. Waste happens at every point in our food chain from production to transport to storage and retail. But according to the Canadian Government's Taking Stock Report, it's estimated that organic and kitchen waste make up 30% of the stuff Canadians toss out each week.
Most of what we waste in our own kitchens are fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals.
But here's the good news: most of that waste is totally avoidable. The report found the most common reasons for food waste in our own kitchens to:
- over-purchasing (buy less next time);
- food going bad from improper storage;
- we worry about food safety and don't always understand those confusing shelf life terms like sell by, use by, best before, and expired mean so we err on the side of caution;
- a lack of willingness to eat leftovers (leftovers can be so good!);
- a lack of understanding of the costs and impacts of food waste.
It's easy to reduce food waste in your kitchen with some simple tips, creative recipes and a little bit of planning. I turned to food bloggers from across Canada to share some of their best tips, tricks and recipes to whittle away at food waste. Here's what they suggest:
Herbs can quickly wind up wilting in your fridge's crisper drawers, but it doesn't have to be that way. Maple + Mango shares two easy ways you can preserve fresh herbs at home to give them a longer life.
Fruit that's starting to turn a little soft is perfect for making these Sugar Free Zero Waste Fruit Popsicles from Food Meanderings. Kids will love them and they're a great way to use up less than perfect fruit, especially in the summer months.
Juicers are one of those countertop appliances that people either love or hate. They love it for the fresh fruit and vegetable juice they make. They hate the cleanup and all that pulp. This vegan recipe for "Smoked Salmon" with Fried Capers breathes new life into carrot pulp left behind after your morning juice.
Everyone loves a slice of decadently moist, dark chocolate cake. Adding beets to your cake can give it luscious texture and this Chocolate Beet Snack Cake by Simple Bites is an inventive way to use up extra beets — peels and all.
Every winter you'll see Pomelos in the grocery store. They look like giant grapefruit and you might have wondered what you can do with them. Well, it turns out you can do a lot with a pomelo. In fact, you can use every inch of it in the kitchen as Urb'n'Spice shows us in this pomelo tutorial. You can make everything from a delicious citrus dish to candied peel and even scented potpourri. And that goes for just about any citrus fruit, too.
It's easy to use mushy bananas in banana bread but what about those peels? The Stingy Vegan's Banana Peel Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich might just be the answer.
Carrot tops are enjoying a bit of moment right now. But more often than not, they're still thrown out. The cashiers at the grocery store will even offer to do it for you if you pull into a checkout lane with carrots attached to their tops. These Halloumi and Carrot Top Pesto Baguettes put that greenery in a tasty spotlight with an appetizer that dazzles and comes together quickly, too.
Veggie Desserts' Carrot Peel Cake with Cinnamon Icing is a delicious way to minimize food waste. Carrot cake is always a crowd-pleaser and with tempting cinnamon icing, nobody will even notice that the peels are part of the cake.
Here's another delicious way to use up overripe fruit before it's past the point of no return: West Coast Kitchen Garden's "Use it Up" Fruit Salsa is a flexible recipe that lets you use up whatever you have on hand.
If you roast a turkey, chicken or anything with bones, don't throw them out. They can be used to make a nutrient-dense bone broth or soup stock that you can keep in the freezer for all kinds of soups throughout the year. Try Maple + Mango's Turkey Bone Broth to get you started. Freeze it in the amounts you most commonly use broth and you'll never go back to buying soup stock or wondering what to do with that last little bit in the tetra pack again.
This Grains & Greens Stuffed Squash with Herb Salsa from Simple Bites is an easy way to use up leftovers in the fridge. The herb salsa makes the most of any herbs that are getting past their prime while adding a whole bucketload of flavour to this dish or others.