Repurpose food to avoid waste - GulfToday

Repurpose food to avoid waste

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Photo used for illustrative purposes.

It’s hard for a bruised apple to find a home.”

That’s how registered dietitian Judy Barbe began a recent webinar sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics titled "Fuel for the Future: Solutions to Reduce Food Waste at Home."

We’ve all been perpetrators of food waste in ways which we may not be aware, she explained. Turning away from slightly blemished produce is one of them. So is leaving behind that lone banana that was separated from its bunch at the grocery store. And how about letting letting leftovers die a slow death in the fridge? Guilty.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is the single most common material in United States landfills. And apart from consumer-facing businesses like grocery stores and restaurants, home is where most food waste happens, according to data from ReFED, a nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste in the U.S.

Barbe, a self-proclaimed food enthusiast, gave us some pretty cool solutions to repurpose food in our own homes.


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“When planning meals, ask, ‘What do I have to eat?’ not ‘What do I want to eat?’” she says. “And don’t forget to shop your freezer!”

A grocery list is still the best way to buy wisely.

A lot of waste happens when we buy more than we need, says Barbe, which reminded me of the giant container of onion flakes I once bought at a big box store. Never did get to the bottom of that one.

Then, make sure to store your food wisely.

Milk, for example, does not belong on the door, but in the coldest part of the refrigerator: in the back, on a bottom shelf. And keep eggs in their carton to retain moisture, she advises.

Use the humidity levers on your produce drawers. Set it to higher humidity for leafy greens, herbs and cucumbers, and lower humidity for apples, pears, stone fruit and avocados.

And yes, bananas can be stored in the fridge after they ripen, says Barbe. “The skin will turn black,” says Barbe, “But the inside will stay perfectly fine.”

Don’t toss what you can use.

Carrots, for example, don’t need to be peeled. And if you peel potatoes, turn them into a snack.

“Toss with a little olive oil and seasoning, then roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until slightly browned," Barbe says. Yum.

Then eat it all, which doesn’t necessarily mean no leftovers. In fact, you’ll be more efficient — and avoid overeating — if you cook once and eat two or three times, says Barbe.

Ever find a half-used can of tomato paste molding in your fridge? Barbe freezes what she hasn’t used in one-tablespoon portions. Voila! They are always ready to plop into the next pasta sauce.

I liked her idea for a “soup bag” in the freezer with bits and pieces of leftover veggies and meat. Leftover broth and even wine can also be stored in the freezer for future soups and sauces.

Tribune News Service

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