Did you know that Australian’s discard 20% of the food they buy? That’s one out of every 5 bags of groceries we buy! And this equates to $1,036 per household each year. We live in a lucky country at a time when we have access to an abundance of food. The fact that most of us don’t have to scrimp and save to buy a loaf of bread or put a meal on the table means we don’t value food and see it as a consumable that can just be thrown out if we don’t eat it. The other issue compounding this is the distance between us and where the food is grown. We are so removed from the original source of our food that we don’t appreciate the resources, time and money that went into producing it.
I’m on a mission to reduce my family’s food waste. On the whole we are pretty good since we have chickens and a worm composting waste system so most things do get recycled. However, food costs us money and although I’m happy to feed our chickens and worms, I’d rather the food get eaten by us to reduce our food bill and to give more value to the resources that went into producing it. Don’t worry, the chickens and worms won’t go hungry! There is still plenty of peelings, scraps etc for them.
This week I started a new routine. Every Thursday or Friday I will go through the fridge contents and look for items that need using up before they go bad. I already menu plan and make a shopping list but I still end up with some food that sits there unnoticed. And the kids sometimes go through fads where they are loving blueberries and eating them every day and then randomly decide they’d prefer watermelon. The veg crisper is my worst nightmare because produce ends up hiding in the bottom getting wilted and slimy.
So here’s what my fridge looked like once I took out food that needed to be used up.
Staples like eggs, milk and cheese are always in the fridge and don’t go to waste. The beetroot I plan to make pickled beetroot with (I bought it specifically for that reason). The mince was for our dinner and the ice cream mixture was cooling before going into the ice cream churner. The berry coulis was made by a friend and we had it on New Years eve. It will last a while and I have been having it on homemade vanilla ice cream.
Here are the foods that were getting close to going bad or will be if we don’t eat them soon.
Here was my plan:
- I ate the leftover burrito filling with the tofu and some veg for lunch. How yummy does it look!!
2. I made some mini egg frittatas adding spring onion, ham, capsicum and cream.
3. I froze the strawberries to be used for smoothies (I just have to remember that they are there! I think a freezer clean out is needed).
4. The pita bread I toasted and used as chips with a dip for a snack.
5. The yoghurt was made into frozen yoghurt. I added some berry coulis to make it extra yum.
6. The apricots were not being eaten because they were tasteless – another factor for food waste! So I made an apricot cake.
7. The other vegetables I used in meals over the next few days. Unfortunately most of the celery was brown so that went to the worms. The blueberries were also quite shrivelled and there weren’t enough to make a cake so the chooks got them. The marscapone cheese was difficult to use as there was only a little bit left. I had used it for a creamy pasta and should have just used the whole lot.
This was the food from the fridge that couldn’t be saved. Hopefully a regular fridge check will reduce the amount wasted in the future. The vegetables went to the chooks, the chicken to the dogs and the stale ground coffee went into the garden. The sour cream went in the worm compost so non of this actually went into the bin.
I will keep you up to date with how I go over the next month. I was really happy that I found interesting ways to use up the food before it went bad. Making a specific time and a plan of what to make was the key. I didn’t make all these things on one day. I did over a few days so that when it got to our shopping day (Sunday) the fridge was fairly empty!
What are your best tips for reducing food waste? I might write some other articles in the future with the tips that I use.
Until next time, thank you for stopping by.