Minimizing waste and reducing our carbon footprint has been a topic of conversation for many years. As time goes on we are becoming more knowledgeable on how to minimize our impact on the environment. Food waste is a big problem in the United States. It is estimated that in the US we throw away 30-40% of the food we produce. We need this cycle to stop as soon as possible. Here are some ways in which to minimize waste in your own kitchen.
- Every city and state has different rules on how to compost in your area.
- You can have a compost pile in your yard that is open or closed. I recommend closed since it degrades faster and helps prevent rodents.
- Compost most food scraps, non-recyclable paper products, yard scraps.
Here is a link to a yard composting kit:
Here is a link to Denver County Composting program.
Canning extra vegetables:
When you have vegetables that you buy in bulk you may benefit from canning some of these vegetables or pickling them. I love pickling vegetables that are about to turn so that I can put them on salads or tacos for the next few weeks.
Here is a link on some of the basics of canning produce
Once you get the hang of how to can and preserve produce you can also start preserving jams and jellies. Take any fruit that is about to turn and freeze them. Once you have enough fruit to justify making a jam then have a Jamming Party.
Please remember that you can replace a ton of sugar with sugar substitutes like Splenda, Stevia and Monkfruit.
Here is a link to some basics on preserves
I absolutely adore what I call dump meals. This means that you take all of the extra vegetables, spices and sauces from the last few weeks and add them all to perfect dump meals. Stews, casseroles, pasta dishes, soups and stir fries are great for these meals.
You can make a vegetarian Daal stew with lentils, spices and all the leftover vegetables in the refrigerator. You can also take some leftover protein like shredded chicken and top it off. Any extra yogurt in the refrigerator can be a nice topping
Asian flavored stir fry can use up a nice variety of vegetables as well as cabinet staples such as soy sauce and ground ginger.
Here is a link for a “clean out the fridge” soup
This is another way to preserve and allow fruits and vegetables to last a bit longer without having to throw these items out in the trash. You can dehydrate food in the oven but this process takes a long time. Another option is to use a dehydrator.
Here is a link to how to dehydrate food in the oven:
I personally feel so terrible every time I use a ziplock bag or plastic wrap. We waste so much of this on a daily basis. Another good thing to start using to avoid things like disposable plastic, Styrofoam and other harmful items is Tupperware. Having a nice assortment of glass Tupperware can help save the planet from so much plastic.
Here is a link to a great company called Stasher that sells reusable bags.
Use Your Freezer:
If you are going to buy food in bulk or on sale don’t be afraid to use your freezer. Most foods can go into the freezer. Fruit that is about to turn can be frozen on a baking sheet and then put into the freezer. This fruit can be great for smoothies!
The dump meal soup and stews can be frozen for a week when you don’t have time to meal prep! This saves on the grocery bill as well.
Items like clasp lids jars, mason and bell jars are great items to have at home. Stores like Sprouts and King Soopers that have bulk bins allow you to bring in reusable bags and then store them in your reusable jars. This also helps to keep your food fresher which allows you to have more time to enjoy these foods.
We hope this has given you some helpful hints on how to minimize your carbon footprint!