Page from Ikea’s The Scraps Book: A Waste-Less Cookbook
By Lorelee A. Sankarlal
I have been doing a personal research project on food waste and ways to reduce it. Increasing food stability for the global population is serious business, especially as land resources decrease, water becomes more polluted, and populations continue to rise. Add to that the fact that millions of pounds of food are thrown away from grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants every day, not to mention from our own homes and you will see there is a real food waste problem.
Responsible Food Companies
Ensuring companies are more responsible with their food waste is a key step. It is up to us as consumers to know what groceries, bakeries and restaurants are doing with the unsold food they have each day. Our own Port Union Bakery offers day-old products at reduced prices, helping consumers on a budget and keeping products from ending up in the garbage.
It makes sense for restaurants that can, within Toronto Public Health guidelines, find innovative ways to reduce food waste as well. Offering daily cooked foods to local food banks and shelters is one way And as a business, it is to your advantage to advertise how you are reducing food waste. People love to shop where they know the proprietor is providing more to the community than just the service advertised.
Buy Less at the Grocery
Let’s face it, we all overspend, over purchase and often waste food from our weekly shopping trips. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Over the next couple of weeks, watch what goes into the compost and garbage from your household. Then, either reduce the amount of those items that you buy each trip or buy that amount but freeze half of it for use later. This works really well with bread. I keep our bread in the freezer and if my family wants a piece they can bring it out and toast it or leave it to thaw for a sandwich later that day. And if a few pieces do go stale? Well, stale bread makes perfect breadcrumbs, bread puddings, and French toast, too.
If you aren’t a gardener but know someone who is, ask them if they can make use of your old tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, and eggshells. These items are useful additions to make soil conditions just right for plants and vegetables to grow and keep certain insects away.
If you do garden and you find you have an abundance of zucchini, tomatoes, herbs or other produce this summer, offer them to your neighbours or put a basket out at the end of your driveway with a “Free Veggies” sign or post your bounty on one of our many West Rouge/Centennial/Port Union Facebook groups. Your neighbours will thank you!
Kitchen Scraps Reinvented
It is interesting to see the new ways people are using food scraps. If you haven’t already, you should download Ikea’s (yes, the Swedish store has done it again) The Scraps Book: A Waste-Less Cookbook. It is chock full of ideas from chefs across North America for how to make new, tasty recipes from common food scraps. like Banana Bacon, an innovative creation from chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther of Manitoba. Using banana skins that we normally throw out, simply scrape the inner white part out and marinate in soy sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and maple syrup. Then fry in grape seed oil to make some tasty faux bacon for breakfast or to sprinkle on a salad. Or try Ontario chef Jason Sheardown’s Watermelon Rind Jam that uses watermelon rinds, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and an apple to make a delicious treat for your toast. There are over 50 recipes in the book.
Everyone can reduce their food waste. It just takes a little thought, a little ingenuity and a willingness to try. You won’t regret the money you save or how much less food you throw out.