Saturday, 10 October 2015

Our World's Resources are Precious

Let us play our part by Reducing Food Waste

While it is certainly thrilling and encouraging to live in a country where awareness of food wastage is finally gathering momentum, we need not wait  for others to show a lead  before taking action in our own kitchens. We are often reminded of the extent of the problem when we see the wastage of fresh food in Supermarket bins & Fine eating Restaurants, & it is refreshing to know that volunteers in many areas of community are now utilising excess supplies & wastage caused from over ordering. We see delicious meals being created from good food often thrown out, for those who are less fortunate & do not have the availability, often on a daily basis, of a healthy meal. There is however, an awful lot we can do within our own households to get the ball rolling on this important subject. With all that we now know about the environmental damage, & the massive ongoing need for fresh food & water for all citizens of our Global Family, it is easy to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go to solve the in-discriminant wastage of food & the resources required to produce it. In our own very small way, I believe we can each make a difference, so why not get started right away?

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

While it may be tedious to sit down to plan our meals for the week before heading out to the Supermarket, it can be very helpful in reducing food waste. When we know exactly what we should be buying for all of our meals and snacks, we’re less likely to make mindless food decisions and buy things we won’t end up eating. We will also have a plan to use all of the perishables like fresh fruits and veggies before they spoil. If we know they’re going into a stir-fry this Tuesday night, we won’t have to worry about finding them molded in the crisper drawer next Sunday morning. This simple idea alone reduces wastage of food, resources & the budget bottom line.

2. Compost

 We can put our food scraps to good use in a number of ways.
Wash the tops of root veggies, the peels & end cuts otherwise thrown in the bin, even the fibre from juicing makes a wonderful broth for soups & casseroles; just boil it all up with some water, herbs & spices & a little salt & the result is a yummy & very cheap veggie broth which can be finely strained & kept in the frig for a few days or otherwise frozen for future use.
Wilted veggies can be revitalised & used in soups & casseroles too, wash them well but make sure they haven't become spoilt with mould; these would need throwing out!
Capturing the nutrients we’d otherwise pop in our bin for garbage collection, and saving them instead to feed our flowers, our worm farm or herb garden or even our chooks, is a wise choice to utilize our food waste.There are also home composting units available, which can easily be explored.

3. Eat Your Leftovers

Chances are the food we have left over from dinner tonight will still be just as good tomorrow. We can also adjust our thinking to create a new recipe incorporating these leftovers which can have amazing results. Maybe toss those cooked veggies from dinner into a tortilla with beans for a taco or wrap at lunch the next day, or make breakfast smoothies with the leftover fruit salad we have. If we buy or make something, try to eat all of it and resist the urge to toss it.

4. Help Someone in Need

Routinely go through our pantry to check dates on our canned beans, dry pastas, and soups. Do we see something in there we might not be able to use within a reasonable amount of time? Food banks would love to take our extra food off our hands and send it home with someone in need.  Donating our food is a much better social and environmental choice than throwing away food or letting it become out dated or decay in the back of our pantry.

5. Get Preserving! 

Pickling, drying, canning, and freezing are just a few ways to preserve food and add some flare to them in the process. This can be especially helpful to get the most out of our bumper crops of tomatoes or apples from our home garden before they go to waste. It’s also a great way to get creative with fruits and vegetables, giving our diet some more diversity. Before the raspberries, we bought have a chance to mold, freeze them for pies or smoothies later. And utilize that great sale on apples to make dried apple rings our children can snack on throughout the day.

6. Use the Refrigerator Wisely

Not properly utilizing our fridge and freezer can lead to food waste with things spoiling. Set our fridge at the ideal temperature (40 degrees or below which is 5 degrees Centigrade, to prevent bacterial growth), arrange our fridge shelves for optimal safety and freshness, and know which items can be stored in the fridge door where the temperature is warmest. Keeping our food fresh and safe is a great way to reduce waste.

These are just a few simple ideas, but I'm sure everyone can come up with others to put into use in our homes. Our World needs our help environmentally & sustainably, our Community needs our help in supporting others less fortunate, & in saving water & resources through education & action; the good practices we implement in our homes is a great place to start, as we are also teaching our children respect for our environment & respect for the food that reaches our dining table.

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