Disposing of leftovers may be a bit easy on the hand. But truly, it is nothing short of a heart-wrenching moment in reality. Those wilted cauliflowers, wrinkled capsicums, shrivelled tomatoes and droopy leafy vegetables that reach the bin are an eyesore and nothing short of heartbreak in the kitchen. Food wastage is a big defeat in the kitchen and feels like a victory snatched from the hands.
A whopping estimate of 1.6 billion tonnes of the global volume of food of “primary product equivalents. is wasted “, while edible food wastage amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes. ( Source: FAO – News Article: Food wastage: Key facts and figures )
Here are few tips which can help you reduce food wastage and save up some money too –
- Plan Ahead – It takes minimal effort to plan out the meals ahead( at least a week) and make an easy ‘To Do’ grocery list. Buying what you really need and not stockpiling the groceries helps you in reducing wastage. Shop smart and save enough should be your motto. Some meal planner apps can rescue you in planning your meals.
- Stock and Store Wisely – Not knowing how to store the fruits, vegetables and other items in the pantry can cause pre-mature spoilage and food wastage. For instance, never refrigerate potatoes, onions and garlic. Similarly, labelling products and using the ready-to-expire foods ahead reduces wastage. Properly storing meats and dairy in the refrigerator increases their shelf life. Making a list of what’s in your refrigerator might sound strange, but it reminds you what to use first.
- Remodel Your Left Overs – Left Overs make great dinners. Plan your pantry accordingly so that you use your leftovers first. Try to recreate a new menu with the leftovers so that your family loves them and is not repetitive. For example, I use leftover roast to make a curry or stew and serve it with fresh bread. Stews, gravies and salads are great accompaniments to the leftovers.
- Save and Preserve – When something is in abundance, transform it and save it. Drying, pickling, curing, fermenting, freezing, and canning can save food and comes in handy when needed. In South India, raw mangoes are pickled with beautiful spices to last a year very easily. It is called Aavakayi, which is a hot favourite and not for the fainty heart. Similarly, cured meats are delicious and stay longer when appropriately handled in the kitchen.
- Be Creative – Kitchen can be your playground or a battlefield unless you choose wisely. Take time to understand how you can reduce wastage and be innovative. When fruits are in abundance, make smoothies, popsicles or jams. Likewise, make stocks, ready-to-cook pastes or marinades when vegetables are plentiful. Managing the produce is the key to reduce wastage. Re-use seeds in your garden and make compost out of your kitchen.
I hope this helps you to manage the food in your kitchen. Well, let’s keep going. Stay smart and save smart.