Don’t waste food – what you can do with leftovers

In school i learnt about how much food goes to waste each year and it is absaloutly crazy. It almost makes me a little mad to think about how much food is thrown away. According to FAO: “

  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
  • Per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia, each throw away only 6-11 kg a year.
  • Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.
  • The food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people
  • Even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.
It makes me sad to think about how much food i have wasted over the years. The food i have thrown up. The food i have purposely thrown away. The food i have hidden and the food i did everything i could to get rid of. It makes me sad for many reasons, one that it was waste, two, that my mum spent money on food which i then just threw away or would throw up, and three because i couldnt just see food as something amazing and something i needed and something i should be thankful for.
Ive grown up in a family where ive always been told to eat up what is on my plate and to not throw away so that is something i am glad i have with me. I never throw away left overs, instead if i cant eat it all at once i save it for the next day or freeze it. At first when i heard about how much food goes to waste just in the household it shocked me as i wondered… what is it that they throw away? Almost nothing i buy goes uneaten or into the trash unless it is maybe some salad that was moldy when i bought it.
Vegetables and fruit are what contribute to the most waste as they rot so quickly and rot even faster if they are not stored correctly.
To minimize waste of fruit read HERE about how to store fruit and vegetables properly 🙂 Also to know which fruits to not store together as the enzymes of the fruit can cause rotting quicker in the other fruits!
Restaurants and food stores of course have the highest food wastage as they cant sell anything that isnt “perfect!” i.e cans or packages that are a little bit “off” cant be sold and also arent allowed to be given away…. they are just thrown away. And with restaurants they cant/dont give away food to homeless so the food is just thrown away.
One of my friends worked at a bakery and when she told me how she would throw away cakes and buns and bread each evening it made me feel so sad… all that waste? Of course its hard to know how much to produce each morning but to have to throw away so much just seems so wrong.
I thought i would write some tips about how to minimize waste for anyone who is interested 🙂 I think its important with these types of posts and advice and about climate and environment and veganism and other posts – knowing i can make a difference and increase awareness 🙂 But also maybe to make you NOT waste food.. its better to eat the food and nourish your body or save it for the next day. Food is nourishment – dont purge it, dont throw it away, dont hide it, dont try to compensate and exercise the food away. Instead be thankful that you can eat!!!
So my tips: (in the order that i think of them – so no structure haha!)
1) Dont buy more than you will eat. At times its tempting to buy big packs because they are cheaper, but if you wont eat it… then dont buy it.
2) Freeze left overs or freeze ripe bananas if you wont have the time to eat them.
3) If you see salad or vegetables that are 50% off at the store and you know you will eat them right away then buy them! Less waste for the store and cheaper for you 🙂
4) If you wont be able to eat/finish fresh fruit or vegetables buy frozen ones instead.
5) If your apples are rotting make apple sauce or muffins or pancakes etc out of them. Same goes for other fruit… just bake something with them 🙂
6) You can eat the peel of the potatoes and carrots and even sweet potatoe. Just make sure to rinse them properly. But if you do cut them away, then make vegetable broth out of them. (Recipe HERE)
7) You can always fry or bake potatoe peels to make a tasty (and fiber rich!) snack! Recipe HERE
8) You can use the water from chickpeas (or other beans) i.e aquafaba to make a whole range of foods and is perfect for vegan baking. You can make meringues, mayonnaise, brownies, pancakes, ice cream, marshmallow fluff etc etc recipes HERE
9) Throw left overs into a wrap and eat them like that!
10) Cook food before it rots if possible and then freeze it if you cant eat it all at once/within the closest days.
11) Vegetables and grains and beans have less bacteria risk than meat and dairy so will hold longer if stored and cooked properly.
12) Dont buy more meat than you will eat.
13) Smell and taste is important when it comes to milk and milk products. It may have passed the “best before” date but it might still be ok to eat. It is mostly just about the quality of the food and not as much about the bacteria or health risks. Read more HERE. So if the milk smells ok and looks ok then its fine to eat. However remember its all about storing food properly, and in summer food rots quicker due to the temperature rise.
14) If spinach or kale or ruccola is going bad you can just heat it up and make a sauce out of it or add it to pies or make muffins or omelettes etc
15) Eat up the food you have in the house before buying more food!
16) Be creative… create new recipes.. throw food into a pan and fry it and make a wok. Sometimes your plate might be filled with a little bit of everything but thats ok!
17) If you go to a restaurant and you dont finish your meal, take home the left overs… even if it just means giving it to your dog!
18) If you are someone who freezes alot of food, make sure to do a weekly or ever 2 weeks where you declutter your freezer and eat what you have in there before buying new food.
19) You can pickle vegetables before they rot to preserve them!
20) Make sure to use compost if you do throw away scraps!
21) Give food away to homeless, for example if you buy a food and realise you dont like it or you wont finish it… give it away.
These were all the tips i could think of on this Friday morning, but please comment below if you have any more tips or advice. Im pretty sure i can make a post about what to do with different left overs or how to make a new meal out of left overs 🙂
Whats your opion on waste? Do you waste alot of food?

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Haphazard Evolution says:

    Great post about an important issue! In my town there is a tiny shop that collects leftovers from bakeries all around the area and sells them the next day when they are still perfectly fine for half the price 🙂


  2. ||Jar|| says:

    I absoultely hate wasting and throwind away food. If I have some leftovers, I put them in a freezer. With fruits and vegetables, if they are getting bad, I just cut off the really necessary parts and eat it anyway 😀 Gross? I don’t think so. Why throw away the whole cucumber, when you can get rid of a small piece of it and consume the rest?
    I almost cry when I see the amount of food which my roommate is putting into waste. She never eats what se buys, lets it sit in the fridge for a week, than she decides that she will not eat anyway and disposes of it. It is so sad.


  3. The amount of food we waste is horrendous and uneccessary. I saw a program recently where a farmer was throwing away much of his crop of parsnips because the supermarket where they were destined for rejected them on the grounds they were “imperfect” – ie irregular shapes and the customer would not buy them like that. Why does fruit and veg have to be a certain size or shape to make it sell – whats wrong with mis shapen carrots anyway, you only chop them up! I have noticed some supermarkets are now selling boxes of “ugly fruit and veg” at a reduced cost but I don`t think they are all that popular as you don`t see them that often.
    I try hard not to waste food and manage to use most of any left overs. With a bit of thought and forward planning a lot of waste can be avoided. It is so sad that we as a nation waste so much food and I think its great that you are trying to heighten awareness of this. Interesting post!


  4. I also have a cookery recipe book just on how to use up left overs – its amazing the meals you can make out of food that could have been thrown away – I use it a lot and it saves money too! I think you can get this one and books like it on amazon.


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