no food waste

Garden potatoes

Hi guys!  Hope your week is going well.  Today I woke up with a super hoarse voice and itchy throat, coincidentally it’s super windy today and I think it’s an allergy thing.  I feel super tired, not sleepy but just fatigued.  I never used to get allergies until the super bad years with my rheumatoid arthritis, it’s like it triggered allergies in me that way.  So odd.  I gargled with salt water and used my Neti Pot (haha) and that seems to have helped a lot.  Sometimes when I feel bad it is really easy to feel focus on feeling bad…you know what I mean?!  Like once you’re focusing on something negative it’s really easy to focus on and find more negatives.  I’m trying to break that and focus on positives.

I just planted some tomatoes in the garden (hello summer!) and I had to go out to water them.  Vin, my little garden man always, has been begging me to pull up the potatoes the last few days.  If you’ve never harvested potatoes, it’s so fun- like a treasure hunt!  Basically you wait for the above ground part of the plant to die.  Then, carefully poke around in the soil for all the little jewels- the new potatoes!  These potatoes were extra special because I planted them from spoiled potatoes.

garden garlic drying

garlic drying from my garden

Months ago, I had forgotten about a couple potatoes in the back of my cupboard and when I rediscovered them, they were super sprouted, definitely inedible.  In the past I definitely would have tossed them in the trash without a second thought.  But a great tool I’ve learned on my journey to less waste is resourcefulness. So, I cut the potatoes up into chunks- one sprout or “eye” per piece, let them sit for a day or two to scar over, and planted them.  I promptly forgot about them, but here we are, months later, with many more potatoes than I started with and a delicious side for dinner.

Plants garden

more plant friends!  Tomatoes, basil, and a ficus elastica (variegated variety).  I bring the plastic pots back to the nursery for reuse.

Thinking and ruminating on the gratitude I felt for seeing the potatoes come full circle again was more than enough to lift my mood- and it also reminded me of how, a while back, my friend @rubysunn tagged me to talk about how I eliminate food waste in the kitchen.  Repurposing food scraps is definitely my favorite way.  So many parts we usually throwaway are actually good and usable and tasty!  Here are my top tips for reducing food waste (bonus: they also saves you money!).

stop peeling veggies and fruits.  Eat the whole thing!  The peel is where the nutrients are concentrated, so throwing it away is like throwing away all that.  Obviously things like mango and pineapple should be peeled, but most don’t need to be!  Kiwis, apples, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes….leave the peel on.

fruit bowl

skin on kiwi: delicious!

use the whole thing.  Eat the greens of beets, turnips and radishes, the stems of broccoli,  kale (cut it finely and it’s a delicious crunch!), candy the citrus peels or make cleaning vinegar with them.  If you’re making a smoothie with strawberries, throw the whole berry in- greens/leaves and all!  Make herbal tea with pomegranate skin.  Save water from cooking pasta or beans for a delicious base for soups.  Save your veggie scraps and make stock (I keep adding them to a paper bag in the freezer and when I have enough I add them to THIS recipe for a delicious vegan stock).

Veggie stock

food scraps for stock

eat your leftovers.  Repurpose these guys into a new meal, eat for lunch, roll them into a wrap, make soup with them.  Just eat them.  I should do a post on transforming leftovers because I’m the leftover queen haha.  If you’re going out to eat, order an appropriate amount; or bring a container and take home leftovers.  I work in a restaurant and the amount of food I see getting thrown away from people not eating it is disgusting.

Cabbage soup

clean out the fridge soup with leftovers: the “recipe” is saved in my story highlights on instagram if you want to make this

don’t buy more than you can eat.  experiment with your shopping trips so you know what is the right amount to buy for your household.  This way you don’t buy too much and it ends up rotting in the fridge.  Meal planning can be helpful in this regard.  If there’s something you buy too much of, freeze it, pickle it, can it, make jam with it, or share with neighbors/friends!  Berries, fruit, greens, zucchini, cooked beans, tomatoes, soup and more can all be chucked into the freezer to prolong its life.  I freeze in mason jars (just don’t fill all the way and make sure they’re room temp before they go in the freezer).

regrow it!  Like these potatoes.  Some people do this with green onions, celery, pineapple, lettuces, basil and more.

rethink your standards.  It’s ok if fruit or veggies don’t look perfect or uniform!  That’s how they naturally grow.  The uniform produce you see in stores is only because of store demand- they want their apples to be perfectly shaped, similar sized, no bumps etc.  If you’ve ever grown food at home you’ll know that it doesn’t naturally look like that!  Odd shapes, colors and textures are beautiful and not an indicator of poor taste- actually I find the opposite to be true.  Embrace the imperfection and buy “ugly” produce.  THIS article says it so well:

“From measuring the millimeters of a cucumber’s curve to fearing a bird-like tomato, industry standards and consumer perceptions determine what produce is pretty enough to sell. This is a surface-level judgment that fails to consider the item’s nutritional value and the 48.1 million food-insecure people in the US who would benefit from the energy, vitamins and minerals on the inside.

In a country where nearly 40% of the food supply is never eaten and 20% never even ends up in grocery stores (primarily because it looks bad), the number of food-insecure people is unacceptable. Our hunger issue is partially an image problem. The millions of Americans who support anti-hunger initiatives believe this, too. Yet our collective efforts to end hunger are often undermined by the inefficiencies before food even reaches the consumer.”

I see this a lot with spotty bananas or sad looking pineapples being thrown away by grocers when they are actually the sweetest ones!  Also, I have to say I’m not above buying plastic wrapped food sometimes that’s on clearance- because what’s worse, plastic in the landfill or plastic + food in the landfill?  And you know they’re not separating the plastic from the food to recycle.

vin farmers market cart

that’s a day old bread in plastic- personally I feel it’s better us eat it and recycle/reuse the bag than it all go into landfill bread and all if no one buys it.

Food gratitude (my kids call this grati-food haha- we go around the table every night when we sit down to dinner and express this gratitude to pause before eating) is so important especially when many, many people in the world don’t have food security, access to clean, fresh, affordable, non toxic foods.  Don’t waste this beautiful gift!  Any food waste tips I missed?  Leave them below!  I’d love to hear (and I’m sure others would love to read too!).  Let’s inspire each other.  Ok off to make dinner now (see what I’m cooking this week HERE)!  Have a great night xx