Zero waste food.
If that even possible? Can you really produce NO waste when it comes to food? The short answer…not really. But we can certainly aspire to be as low waste as possible when it comes to how we buy, prepare and discard our food. So the term ‘zero’ or ‘NO’ food waste is one that we should not get so hung up on, but rather our focus should be on doing the best that we can to minimize any food that we waste. The idea of zero food waste is also not a new one. Most people are aware of this issue but may not understand their impact on this global problem. The truth is that while 168 million metric tons of food is being wasted in North America EACH YEAR, 67 million tonnes of that food waste occurs at the consumer level (that’s you!). That means what you do with your food has a major impact on the total amount of food that is being wasted (ref). This my friend is great news, because that mean the small steps you take really can have a big impact on change! So what can you do? And how hard will it be? Don’t worry, I got you covered! Here are five simple things our family does to reduce our food waste and environmental footprint.
Whether it is for financial or food waste reasons if I can help anyone reduce or recycle their food scraps then I have done something to help this global problem! It is a small step but small steps are what counts right. Like I mentioned above, steps will amount to one giant one! Homemade veggie broth is one of the EASIEST ways you can reduce unnecessary food waste in your home. Plus it saves you a ton of money, reduces packaging waste from store bought versions, and lets you control what ingredients and flavours are inside your food!
The first thing you’ll need is a big bag for your freezer. I have an old rice bag in my freezer but you can use a brown paper bag, old ziplock or reusable freezer bag. Every day I add any veggie scraps or expiring veggies to that bag. Now while it may be obvious I’ll mention that is important to not add spoiled produce here! My favorite things to add are the ends and skins from onions, garlic, carrot, celery ends, kale, cabbage and the stems from herbs. All leftover items that would otherwise go into my compost bin. When the bag is full I simply use what is inside to make my broth. The best part of making your own stock is that you can tailor it and change the flavors each time you make it. You can add in ginger or lemongrass for a curry stock or a hot pepper and oregano to use for a chili recipe. The options are endless!
To read more about reducing your food waste, check out my guest post over at Earth Mama International. And check them out over on IG too! They have lots of great tips and tricks.
Now onto the recipe, remember you can add anything you want but the basic veggies you should have are:
-herb (if you don’t have the stem add dried herbs like oregano or parsley)
-kale or spinach stem
** There are no amounts here because this is a ‘kitchen scrap’ recipe. You will have varying amounts each time depending on how long it takes to fill you bag and what your have been cooking.
1. Remove your veggie scraps from the freezer and add it to your instant pot or a large stove pot. Fill it with water until the veggies are submerged (you want more than 6 cups, about 8-10).
2. Next add in some salt and pepper (about 1/2 to 1 tsp) and if you like some extra herbs or spices. I usually add in some dried oregano or parsley and extra garlic if I didn’t save enough.
3. Cover and cook in the instant pot under soup setting for 70 minutes. If using the stovetop bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
4. Once finished cooking let it cool until you can handle the veggies. Strain the mixture to remove all the veggie scraps. Pour the broth into mason jars and seal. The broth is good for 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.