Whether you’re one of those people who panic-bought an abundance of food or you’re doing your darnedest to avoid making any more trips to the supermarket than you have to, there’s no time like a lockdown for making sure we’re not wasting our food.
It turns out, however, as a nation we don’t have a great track record when it comes to our groceries ending up in the bin.
A new study from the University of Otago estimates the average Kiwi household produces almost 10 times more food waste than supermarkets.
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Co-author Professor Sheila Skeaff, from the Department of Human Nutrition, says consumers need to stop blaming supermarkets for food waste and realise most food waste happens in the home.
“Reducing food waste is one of the most practical things people can do to help reduce the impacts of climate change,” she says.
So, how can you do your bit during lockdown to make those groceries go just a little bit further? Here are five creative and delicious ways to use up those food scraps that would go straight in the bin otherwise.
Use up broccoli stems
We usually chuck out broccoli stalks without a second thought – but these actually have as much nutritional value as the florets. Try blending up the entire head of broccoli for a flavoursome soup, steaming along with the florets, cut up into matchsticks or shred for a salad. If you’ve got a spiraliser on hand, you can also make an easy noodle replacement.
Make chicken or vegetable stock
Home-made stock is the perfect base for so many winter comfort meals. You can use leftover beef or chicken bones, save them up in a container in the fridge or freeze them if you’re waiting to make your stock. Chuck in some vegetables, water and an onion for flavour and let it simmer away for a tasty base to your winter soups – like this winter carrot soup.
For a vegetarian stock, freeze vegetable scraps as you go and then boil up for a few hours with water, salt and pepper.
Roast leftover pumpkin seeds
When you’re scraping the seeds out of your pumpkin the next time you make soup, set aside the seeds. You can roast them as they are or add some flavour, either sweet or savoury. They’re great as a healthy snack or delicious scattered over breakfast porridge. Try out this recipe from the Food Waste Doctor Lilly Da Gama on Instagram.
Homemade apple cider vinegar
You can make your own homemade apple cider vinegar from the peels and cores of apples. Save them up in the freezer and then boil up and strain. As a bonus, apple cider vinegar is a great sore throat remedy.
Make chips from vegetable peel
Next time you’re roasting vegetables and find yourself with a stack of leftover peelings, why not put them to good use by turning them into chips? You can turn them into a tasty snack by tossing them on to a baking tray with a dash of oil, salt and some seasoning. Potato and kumara peelings work well – and for a sweet option, try apple peels with cinnamon and a little brown sugar.