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Leave No Leftover Behind: The Story of Food Waste

Oct 10, 2011

by lbrunow

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Laura Brunow Miner is an editor, designer, and entrepreneur based in San Francisco. She founded Pictory, an online publication that showcases the photo stories of people around the world. In 2009, Miner started Phoot Camp, a creative retreat and photography workshop, and in 2011 began Eat Retreat, a workshop for leaders in the food community. 

Spending 48 hours talking about food — and indulging in it — can make anyone go into a mild food coma. During Eat Retreat, a workshop for leaders in the food community, I sampled local oysters, learned to make yogurt, and learned about each attendee’s food philosophy during an intro around the campfire. In the months that followed I’ve had the opportunity to compile the feast of information into a book by the same name.

The Story of Eat Retreat dives deeper into the food philosophies shared at the event. However, there’s one in particular that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. When Kirsten Bourne, the marketing director for San Francisco’s community organization and food mecca Bi-Rite Market, shared the phrase “Leave no leftover behind,” it stuck with me. At the time, I didn’t realize the “waste-not-want-not” weight class she was punching in or the creative eye with which she considers consumption. Since then, I’ve thought twice about every discard.

I caught up with Kirsten to find out more. She shared stories of being influenced by Depression-era grandparents and finding her passion for both food and leftovers at an early age. “It’s always been a fun challenge for myself, but it’s only in the last year that I’ve started thinking about food waste in a more broad, political way.”

Playing devil’s advocate, I asked her how she felt she could make a difference given the sheer amount of waste in every part of the food system. “I think one of the reasons that we as a society should be convinced that this is a way we can affect change is that it worked for us a hundred years ago. I don’t know if you’ve seen the canvas bag we carry at Bi-Rite with the lithograph from the US Food Administration, but the main message is ‘Don’t Waste.’ There are certain core things that we as humans understand.”

“I’m not very political,” Kirsten continued, “and as a city dweller I can’t know everything about where my trash, compost, and recycling ends up. But what I do have control over is the amount I myself consume and waste. It’s empowering.”

Kirsten also uses her day job at Bi Rite to help spread her food waste message. An excellent example is the Kansha Kitchen Challenge at sister organization 18 Reasons. During this workshop, guests are broken into teams and given a bag of vegetables to use to create a meal, knowing that their food waste (seeds, husks, etc.) will be measured at the end. Challenging, yes, but a fun exercise with friendly helpers around to offer suggestions. “Although deeply rooted in Japanese culture, kansha can be experienced and practiced by anyone, anywhere. The key to demonstrating appreciation in the kitchen and at table is to practice kansha cooking for yourself: use food fully, with no waste.”

Given the amount of money I waste each week on spoilage, I’m eager to put some of Kirsten’s MacGyver- like food conservation tips to work:

  • Out of sight, out of mind. Keep perishables front and center in the pantry or fridge.
  • Convenience is key. If you buy a lot of vegetables, cook or slice them up right when you bring them home. Then they’ll be the first thing you reach for when you need a snack. Same for a loaf of levain: if you slice it up first thing, each piece may not stay quite as fresh, but I guarantee you’re more likely to finish the loaf.
  • Plan ahead. Think about all of your meals at the beginning of the week and go from there. For example, try cooking up a big batch of beans and freezing them in meal serving sizes.
  • Give perishables room to breathe. If you notice that you have fruits and vegetables mold in your fruit bowl, switch to a hanging basket or a festive colander and you’ll notice they last much longer when they’re allowed air on all sides.

Timothy Valentine

"Garbage" soup using food prep peelings and cuttings.

  • Bread pudding

    Leftovers are delicious. Have some stale bread? Make savory bread pudding for one. Simply take a few slices of rock hard bread and break it into small pieces in a bowl. Add a mixture of whipped eggs with a splash of milk, some herbs, sliced veggies, and grated cheese until the bread is covered. (Roughly 2 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, and the rest to taste.) Pour into a mason jar, though don’t fill too high or it will spill over. Then cover with foil and bake at 350 in your toaster oven until it’s nicely browned.

  • Bring in leftovers for breakfast! (Savory breakfast is where it’s at: cold pizza, Thai food, veggie stew, etc.)
  • Eat the skin of veggies and fruit whenever possible. (Carrots, squash, and kiwis provide great vitamins and texture.)
  •  To use tough stems of chard, collards or kale, separate them from the leaves, dice them into 1/2 inch pieces and sauté with onions. (Delicious with eggs, as a base for hash browns, or soups.)
  • Make a fruit salad of bruised or over-ripe fruit — no one will know the difference! (Always add mint — it takes any fruit salad from zero to hero in an instant.)
  • Cut the hard outer peels off melon rinds and use crunchy rinds in place of cucumber in salads and cold soups. (Or just be sure to chomp every last bit up to the fibrous rind of a melon slice!)

 

For more great tips from Kirsten (and many others!), check out the The Story of Eat Retreat. I’d argue it’s worth the $10 donation to the Food Pantry just for Mirit Cohen’s “World’s Best Hummus” recipe or the whiskey list from the Eat Retreat weekend. Check out a preview here.

 

 

 

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4 Featured Comments

  • elisatrue

    elisatrue said 7 years ago Featured

    As a child, I was (and knew it) overfed, but my mother and grandmother were continuously ranting "Eat it, don't waste it!" When I became a mother, I had a breakthough moment when I realized eating food you don't need is a form of wasting it. What was left in my fridge or on my child's plate was already wasted when I bought too much, cooked too much or served to much. My eating their leftovers wasn't helping anything. This article has inspired me to consider peeling less often, but I don't see myslef munching on melon peels!

  • keibers

    keibers said 7 years ago Featured

    A lot of the ideas suggested I already do (eating skins, rinds and using stale bread for meatloaves and bread pudding..) Another thing is, broccoli. I see people buy a whole fresh broccoli stalk with trees and everything, but only ever cut off those trees, throw the stalk out! It's wasteful, and the stalk is DELICIOUS! Simmer it in water with a teaspoon of honey or nothing at all and it's super great, just when it's tender (think carrots :D) Great article. Love to know there are like-minded people out there!

  • pouch

    pouch said 7 years ago Featured

    Interesting article... I find the whole 'freeganism' movement really interesting - supermarkets dump so much food that can still be eaten and yet when freegans try to take it from ttheir bins, they get chased away by security - even worse, some supermarkets have started locking their bins so people can't take out the food. We live in such a wasteful society, why do many big businesses actively have to make it worse??? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeganism

  • dekoprojects

    dekoprojects said 7 years ago Featured

    Important subject. I really hate to see when something that precious is wasting. My mother likes to cook big portions of one kind of meal - more than we could eat in two days - because she learned as a child that is good to cook once for some days. But I think it's not true. We are not the pigs and we like to eat various things only if we can. Less portions, more variety, less stock in the fridge. There aren't many more abhorrent activities in our comfortable lives than throwing out stinking, addled food. I hate this. I believe I would manage my fridge better in the future.

153 comments

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 7 years ago

    Good article. I am not a great cook, so recipes for leftovers do not have as much value to me personally as much as it does to others. But, my Yankee roots will not allow me to throw perfectly good food away because it is slightly past its prime. I have always taken the stance (and so I was happy to see it in this article) that people should really only buy what they know they will use (and eat!) So, I plan my family meals around sales, coupons and what I know my family will consume.

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 7 years ago

    I loved this story. I have worked in the food industry and it was horrible how much food was wasted daily. We could have fed so many...

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 7 years ago

    Definitely a lot of waste especially when going out to eat. I came from France where portions are perfect. No left overs to think about. But here, oh boy! My husband and I now limit how big our dinners are, and it's healthier too. Thanks for sharing!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 7 years ago

    I despise waste! Way to go Etsy for sharing this article; wealth of knowledge found here, thank you!!

  • rebourne

    rebourne said 7 years ago

    kiwi skins!?! I had no idea!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 7 years ago

    Such a great post! I worked in the restaunt business for years and the amount of food wasted was terrible. Its so upsetting when there are people out there who are starving.

  • WoodentItBeNice

    WoodentItBeNice said 7 years ago

    This is very inspiring to do better. Thanks for reminding us that each of us can effect major change by just changing small things - one at a time.

  • NobleTextiles

    NobleTextiles said 7 years ago

    Very interesting read!

  • elisatrue

    elisatrue said 7 years ago Featured

    As a child, I was (and knew it) overfed, but my mother and grandmother were continuously ranting "Eat it, don't waste it!" When I became a mother, I had a breakthough moment when I realized eating food you don't need is a form of wasting it. What was left in my fridge or on my child's plate was already wasted when I bought too much, cooked too much or served to much. My eating their leftovers wasn't helping anything. This article has inspired me to consider peeling less often, but I don't see myslef munching on melon peels!

  • bodicegoddess

    bodicegoddess said 7 years ago

    We save vegetable cuttings to make broth, and use stale bread to make croutons. My roommates and I have gotten really good at getting the most use out of our food!

  • angelspin

    angelspin said 7 years ago

    Great article!!! Very encouraging.

  • DarriellesClayArt

    DarriellesClayArt said 7 years ago

    Spicy Zucchini Pickles!!, great idea, I will pass it along to my daughter. She grew zucchini this summer and has so may of them. :) Thanks

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 7 years ago

    Clever: this little article purports to be about food waste. But in fact, you've captured a very deep philosophy about all sorts of things in this discussion. Wonderful! Being a daughter of a very frugal and down-to-earth pair of parents, I've been privileged to know the pleasure of using every little bit of the food I eat. I didn't appreciate what my mum & dad did for us as kids, whipping up home-cooked meals out of what seemed like thin air. We didn't have a ton of money, but we ate like kings! As I get older, I appreciate more & more the art of making delicious things out of what most people would consider trash. My mum took classes in French cooking, and knew the basic tenets of making sauces & such from scratch. My dad grew up just shy of the depression in Southern California, and has a deep love of "enough" that pervades everything he does. This shaped who I am, and my relationship to food, and just about everything else in my life & I'm grateful for it. I really hope that something so simple and elemental as making a fantastic stock out of bones & vegetable scraps makes a come-back amongst busy, modern people that feel that time is slipping out of their grasp. There is nothing like a Sunday afternoon, listening to the radio & chopping up onion ends, celery leaves, and other unmentionables to throw into the pot. Not only do you end up with a fabulous base for all sorts of weekday dishes; it forces you to slow down and enjoy the small things in life. The aroma of bay leaves and thyme simmering...the meditative 'chop-chop'.....it's like Magic! And nothing is wasted. It is a type of poetry that I practice often. Thanks for a great article, one of my favourite subjects. :^) And may I echo something others have said before me? I wrote this posting with multiple paragraphs, and when I press that 'Add Your Comment' it will all come out like one big jumble. So frustrating! Etsy, would you consider allowing paragraphs in posts sometime in the future? It's so much nicer to read when it doesn't all get posted as one big diatribe! Thanks, Heidi

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 7 years ago

    PS: I never knew there was a name for what I practise: Kansha-cooking! Awesome! Heidi

  • NabiliwaM

    NabiliwaM said 7 years ago

    Excellent post, thank you for sharing. We try to use as much out of our food that we can, but I have even learned a few new tricks here.

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite said 7 years ago

    Inspiring. I like the hanging fruit basket idea, fun and practical at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

  • JulieMeyer

    JulieMeyer said 7 years ago

    Reminds me of all the Frugal Gourmet I watched growing up!

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens said 7 years ago

    Reminds me of visiting my grandmother, who could make a delicious soup out of any leftovers.

  • VintageEyeFashion

    VintageEyeFashion said 7 years ago

    Between my grandmother & the nuns who taught me in school, I absorbed the message early that it is a sin to waste food. "Take all you want but eat all you take" was Nana's motto.... & you didn't cross Nana....or those nuns, come to think of it! I save & reuse what I can & compost what I can't. Wonderful post.

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons said 7 years ago

    And everyone thought I was weird for eating my kiwis whole! I rarely peel carrots or potatoes because a good scrub will do the job. Except for summer squash and small zucchinis, I don't know if I could eat the rinds. Bread rarely goes stale in our house but we smash up what does, into breadcrumbs. Isn't there also an Italian salad that is made from stale bread?

  • Faunalia

    Faunalia said 7 years ago

    Overall this is a great article and I admire the philosophy behind it. The only suggestion that bugged me was the "use spoiled fruit in a fruit salad - no one will notice" because it's a pet peeve for me, and I ALWAYS notice. I notice when sandwich places use "past it" avocado too. A better suggestion would be to make a compote or quick freezer jam, where the fruits texture really doesn't matter...

  • mylenefoster

    mylenefoster said 7 years ago

    A long time ago, I used to shop at Costco for big containers of anything. Since it was only my husband and I, most of the food spoiled once opened or brought home or we were forced to eat it. I thought I saved money. Now I buy small portions of grocery items, vegetables and fruits but go more often to the store. Some larger than needed packaging still gets me though specially the refrigerated items like hummus, heavy cream, stock, salsa and salad dressings.

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 7 years ago

    Great article ~ Growing up we cooked our meals with the skins mostly on. Veggies, potato's, squashes ~ we used broc.stalks sliced in soups ad salads and was told all the vitamins and fibers are in the toughest parts. I never peeled anything ~ Marrying later on I used the peeler upside down for weeks. Ohhh it goes this way !

  • keibers

    keibers said 7 years ago Featured

    A lot of the ideas suggested I already do (eating skins, rinds and using stale bread for meatloaves and bread pudding..) Another thing is, broccoli. I see people buy a whole fresh broccoli stalk with trees and everything, but only ever cut off those trees, throw the stalk out! It's wasteful, and the stalk is DELICIOUS! Simmer it in water with a teaspoon of honey or nothing at all and it's super great, just when it's tender (think carrots :D) Great article. Love to know there are like-minded people out there!

  • pouch

    pouch said 7 years ago Featured

    Interesting article... I find the whole 'freeganism' movement really interesting - supermarkets dump so much food that can still be eaten and yet when freegans try to take it from ttheir bins, they get chased away by security - even worse, some supermarkets have started locking their bins so people can't take out the food. We live in such a wasteful society, why do many big businesses actively have to make it worse??? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeganism

  • dekoprojects

    dekoprojects said 7 years ago Featured

    Important subject. I really hate to see when something that precious is wasting. My mother likes to cook big portions of one kind of meal - more than we could eat in two days - because she learned as a child that is good to cook once for some days. But I think it's not true. We are not the pigs and we like to eat various things only if we can. Less portions, more variety, less stock in the fridge. There aren't many more abhorrent activities in our comfortable lives than throwing out stinking, addled food. I hate this. I believe I would manage my fridge better in the future.

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering said 7 years ago

    Great story! Very thought provoking. Don't forget to donate extra food to your local homeless shelter!

  • dbabcock

    dbabcock said 7 years ago

    Great article....I'm having leftovers for lunch today as I read this. I find that my husband and I are more likely to eat the fresh berries and veggies in the fridge when they are all washed, cut up and ready to reach in and grab.

  • oldsnapshot

    oldsnapshot said 7 years ago

    Laura, I haven't heard the term Kansha- cooking, I'll have to give that a google :) Pioneers Kansha cooked without knowing it? I do many of your suggestions, but I did learn a few things. Such a passionate article. Thank you for the sustainable info and inspiration! Also, wasting not, you spend not..or less.

  • WeThreeTrees

    WeThreeTrees said 7 years ago

    This article grabbed my attention immediately. I recently have been reading a lot about what has been going on in North Korea for the past few decades, and it has made me look at every meal differently. The "government" has declared that non-food items are a great alternative, such as saw dust. Rice is on the black market. People have been starving to death there for decades. Cannibalism is a huge problem because the people have no food, and no other choice. I don't want to waste any food, it is a precious gift.

  • rabbitdance

    rabbitdance said 7 years ago

    I have made many a pot of "Garbage" soup! ^_^ It's a great veggie stock base, too. Another option is to put it in quiche. You can turn damn near anything into quiche.

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 7 years ago

    Great thought-provoking article! Due to a health crisis with my parents, I have taken on cooking for them as well as myself and my husband--something I've never had to do before. Planning, shopping and preparing meals for 4 adults, plus thinking about what's the next meal (and the meal after that) has made me so much more aware of what I buy and how I will use it. My goal when I food shop and cook it to have everything consumed. If there are leftovers, I try to have a plan for them. We have "bits and bobs" dinners every week where all the leftover bits get used up.

  • BelieveInHappy

    BelieveInHappy said 7 years ago

    Fantastic! I think I'm pretty savvy with leftovers, but this gives me inspiration to try harder! I'll make some soup today, yeay!

  • Postindustrialist

    Postindustrialist said 7 years ago

    This has always been a conscious part of my cooking. Growing up poor, I was always are of how precious food was, and later on in life, how much of it people tend to waste. From tossing out half a bagel because you're full to wasting zest when using lemons for juice (actually, most of "lemon" flavor is in the zest, and it's easy to dry and save for future recipies). Some of my favorite ways to utilize "waste" would be to use ham bones for stock, (or buy chickens whole, save money per pound, butcher them yourself, and use the scraps for chicken stock), and using the yolks from an angel food cake recipe for a lemon curd to serve with it. Food waste can also be utilized in crafty ways. Dying easter eggs with onion peels or beets is an old practice, and eggshells (once cleaned) can work great for an innovative container, (such as "planters" for seedlings in the spring) . With the exception of grocery days (I still have yet to figure out how to reduce packaging related food waste), it's also helped reduce my garbage to the point of only filling one plastic bag (from the grocery store) a week.

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas said 7 years ago

    I didnt know you could eat rinds? Thanks !

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 7 years ago

    Greatness.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    If I have fruit that's gone too ripe I turn it into cakes or puddings like apple or pear crumble. The soft fruit actually needs less cooking time too, bonus!

  • BeatificBijoux

    BeatificBijoux said 7 years ago

    I wholeheartedly support this article and it's message. I was raised by very frugal, food-loving parents and lived with a grandmother that experienced the Great Depression as a child. As a result, I thought nothing of bringing dinner leftovers to lunch at school in a Thermos, or enjoying oddball, creative meals of odds and ends. What an eye opener when I married a man from a family with a "just toss it" mentality. My views haven't changed, however. I feel downright guilty when a loaf of bread goes moldy, or a veg turns slimy in the fridge. I believe that to truly appreciate the value of food, the best lesson is to raise it yourself. Spend a spring, summer, and early fall turning soil by hand, breaking up clods and sifting through weeds, bugs, rocks, and stubborn tree roots and the debris of previous inhabitants. Then plant seeds,water carefully, and fuss over young plants... fight bugs, bemoan diseases, and weed, weed weed. Nourish and fertilize. Weed some more and water some more. At last your efforts bear fruit (probably). Then you harvest, clean, and trim. Hint: plants are dirty! This is WORK! You will never look at $.99 head of iceberg at the supermarket the same way again.

  • MaJentaDesigns

    MaJentaDesigns said 7 years ago

    wow thank so much for the useful tips! I cant wait to try the bread pudding recipe sometime!

  • swanmountainsoaps

    swanmountainsoaps said 7 years ago

    Buy chickens. They get the "waste," you get fresh eggs. It doesn't get much better than that.

  • MilliesGarden

    MilliesGarden said 7 years ago

    To add, I think that perishables do better if they are not stacked on each other, or rotated daily. Good read.

  • gardenmis

    gardenmis said 7 years ago

    Love this message! We need to all work harder towards this goal. It really is shameful to think how much is wasted in the US when there is so much hunger. We try to raise our children with this philosophy + less truly is more :)

  • iHeartAdornment

    iHeartAdornment said 7 years ago

    Great stuff. Hubby and I didn't even know you could eat melon rinds! Just goes to show you how society raised us to be dirty wasters. I'm gonna work on this. Thanx

  • aspendreams

    aspendreams said 7 years ago

    Very interesting for me. A recent retiree and senior citizen. I do pretty well with foods buy I need to practise only buying what I need. Thanks again.

  • FranceGallery

    FranceGallery said 7 years ago

    Great ideas! We eat our leftovers too.

  • eatcolor

    eatcolor said 7 years ago

    Great tips! Sorry compost pile, I guess you won't be getting any more of my stale bread!

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 7 years ago

    I work at an elementary school and the kids throw away so much food!!! Fortunately my school composts leftover food and paper products, but it doesn't solve the root of the problem...

  • reuseitmt

    reuseitmt said 7 years ago

    I think it's great to only buy what you can eat and use every last scrap! However, this does nothing to correct the problems with our broken food system that produces so much excess in the first place and does little to ensure equal distribution for all. Food will still rot in the store dumpster and someone will still be starving. I work at a farm and what we can't sell, eat or send to the food bank will not go to waste in the chicken coop or compost bin because it ultimately gets worked back into the soil and nourishes us again and again. If we really want to do something about the overall problem we need to get back to smaller local food systems!

  • modernlogic

    modernlogic said 7 years ago

    My husband makes green smoothies every morning, what a great start for our day. Whole apples, avocado pits, kale, swiss chard, whole strawberries and whatever else is on hand. Love our mega blender! Thank you Etsy for sharing!

  • blackrockvintage

    blackrockvintage said 7 years ago

    That garbage soup pic looks pretty fresh, to me...and I have yet to figure out how to fit a mason jar full of stale bread and eggs into a toaster oven.

  • blackrockvintage

    blackrockvintage said 7 years ago

    Equal access and fair distribution is right on reusitmt!

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 7 years ago

    Great food philosophy. Growing up in a third world country we value food and avoid waste as much as possible.

  • nevinackered

    nevinackered said 7 years ago

    While the idea of leaving a carrot unpeeled for cooking has never crossed my mind, it does make sense and seems rather harmless if it's given a good scrub down! When I was in uni I never peeled potatoes when I made roasts or stews. And now I've picked up a habit from my mum to eat apples whole - core and all (though I do find it hard to do the same with pears). I get a lot of funny looks.

  • lavalamplavalamp

    lavalamplavalamp said 7 years ago

    Great article! Remember to recycle your spoiled leftovers in your compost heap !!

  • SkateBetty

    SkateBetty said 7 years ago

    Garbage soup looks better than it sounds : )

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 7 years ago

    Very good ideas, I'll try everything... apart from Thai food and cold pizza for breakfast!

  • BrittneyWest

    BrittneyWest said 7 years ago

    What an awesome article! Thanks for all the great tips! "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."--Rumi

  • laromaticaperfume

    laromaticaperfume said 7 years ago

    Thank you for this article! I have found that the best meals I've ever cooked were from various leftovers and scraps. You definitely become more creative in the kitchen when you follow the waste-not philosophy. I'm a lot more likely to improvise with a recipe if I'm missing a particular ingredient by substituting with something I already have, rather than going out and buying it. And lets be honest, food always tastes better the next day!

  • cadreams

    cadreams said 7 years ago

    Good Post! My daily bread here in France is the traditional baguette. If we don't eat it all that day, I do make bread pudding with the leftovers-:)

  • fauxiroxi

    fauxiroxi said 7 years ago

    This is a great article, but honestly, I feel a bit overwhelmed. Although my mom is a great cook, makes many things from scratch, and reinvents leftovers into new meals, I never had the skills for cooking and the urge to learn. I married a man who love to cook for me (how lucky!!) but he's big on boxed dinners: hamburger helper type stuff. I've realized how much I miss the home cooked meals my mom made and I have started to try to make some dinners but they almost always turn into a disaster. I waste so much in preperation and honestly, the meal usually turns out pretty awful so leftovers are usually out of the question. (Althought I try - I usually package them up and they make it to the fridge where the suffer a long and ugly death). I want to learn how to cook and stop wasting food in prep and stop throwing away leftovers. I try to be frugal in so many other aspects that it's about time I got onboard with not wasting my food anymore! Thanks for the eyeopener! I'll see if I can find a Kansha cooking class in the area and learn how to conserve food from the start.

  • volcanogirlcreations

    volcanogirlcreations said 7 years ago

    Really appreciated this article. I was just saying to my husband today how NONE of our food goes to waste. Veggies in the compost pile, and only those things we just could not eat. Chickens are great for that last serving of spaghetti or casserole that you normally throw out. I do feel good about it, I wasn't always like this, however I feel that I am being more and more conscientious about the way my Hawaiian ancestors would have lived.

  • laughingorangestudio

    laughingorangestudio said 7 years ago

    I've been an avid composter for years and this is such a great article. I've shared it so that I can make others aware. Thanks so much and I love that it follows my mantra of "use what you have until it is gone".

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 7 years ago

    Awesome tips.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 7 years ago

    Leftovers? We don't have "food" left over, if it's food we eat it!

  • HouseOfMoss

    HouseOfMoss said 7 years ago

    So many good tips! And I love this worldview of careful consumption. Wasting food is an egregious thing for so many reasons! I just wanted to remind us all to be knowledgeable when using parts of plants that you haven't used before. Some parts of vegetables have a level of toxicity; for example, eating rhubarb leaves can make you sick.

  • good4you

    good4you said 7 years ago

    i totally try to be aware of all my 'waste'. i actually try to have non. i reuse stuff as much as possible. when it comes to food, i am super selective about what i choose to prepare, making sure i use it all. when i cut vegetables and fruit, i make sure to use Everything i can. we even have 2 composts!! one for the chickens to eat and one for the garden. my business reflects that... i make my own shipping boxes and recycle newspaper and magazines for packaging paper. i harvest most of my herbs myself too. foraging is amazing!!

  • elegantjewelz

    elegantjewelz said 7 years ago

    we do waste alot of food here in the states . im glad they gave us some ideas on how to use the foods are left over or starting to go bad....

  • BarbaraATurner

    BarbaraATurner said 7 years ago

    Excellent post. I love my compost heap. Put some into a solid (no holes) galvanized can and keep a little fire on it for half an hour once a week. That makes terra preta, a carbon rich compost. Here in Maryland, the soil is gone. I'm going to return topsoil to the whole yard.

  • thehappycouple

    thehappycouple said 7 years ago

    My girlfriends and I tried to get Bi-Rite ice cream one day and the line was out the door and around the corner! My husband and I talk about this topic a lot. We eat a ton of fresh foods but often our grocery store is stocked with food that is literally rotting on the shelf. I don't know if that means that they're overbuying or if people in our neighborhood don't eat many veggies, but it's really frustrating.

  • ClickityClack

    ClickityClack said 7 years ago

    Nothing like a flock of free range chickens to recyle what spoils or what we can't eat! The spoiled brat hens charge the door every time we open it in the hopes that they can help us recycle something. I make garbage soup out of leftovers not rinds and stuff like that. Those hard bits can be cooked up, strained and used as veggie stock, but I don't want them in my soup! Same thing for cooking chicken or turkey bones. I pick out the bones, cleaning them of anything good before I make soup or stock out of the broth. I don't want to pick bones out of my soup! I recently tried to gather up all the old "non-recipes" (things that everyone knows how to do so nothing is ever written down) I could think of and wrote them up as best I could so that way of cooking would not be lost to the younger generation. I realized that a lot of this was a way of using up leftovers; I just never thought about it that way before. When I got a bunch of these simple everyday non-recipes written up, I showed them to my adult friends and suddenly I had to nearly double the recipes because of all the suggestions! If you have a way of "throwing foods together", write it down so it is not lost. You don't need a cup of this or a teaspoon of that type recipe, just a general outline and why you do it this way or that. It is amazing to me at 65 to see how much the younger generations have lost to the fast food, buy it in a box mentality. Phyllis

  • jmayoriginals

    jmayoriginals said 7 years ago

    i'm not trading cucumbers for melon rinds.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 7 years ago

    Interesting!

  • sistersilver

    sistersilver said 7 years ago

    yes, yes. More power to this plan. I, too, wast little in the food department. I certainly never put it into the garbage. If there is something "going," remember the stir fry! Also always remember the compost pile so you can fertilize the next crop in the garden....and once in a while when my neighbors ask me to wach them, their chickens really enjoy a special treat. Keeping purchases down and toward the easier-to-reach areas of the fridge is your best suggestion. My veggie drawer is filled with dried fruit and nuts so nothing goes rotten when I am not looking! Thanks for bringing this subject to the forefront. It is most important that we understand that we are responsible and need to act so!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Love this! I have always looked into my fridge for inspiration- bountiful or not!

  • NaturalFlipside

    NaturalFlipside said 7 years ago

    So awesome. It's absolutely jaw-dropping to think about the amount of food wasted in the U.S alone. Not to mention that we don't know or think about where most of it comes from, what it's made of, or what happens to it when we are through with it.

  • Reclaimedcrafts

    Reclaimedcrafts said 7 years ago

    Haha, what a nice read this was! I think its good to know where your food originates from ! :):) exellent!!!!

  • GitanaMama

    GitanaMama said 7 years ago

    Great article. I admit that I need to be much more conscious about what I throw away--especially in the produce department. Many of my friends are self-proclaimed "freegans." They get the bulk of their food and other household supplies by dumpster diving. It's been really eye-opening for me to see just how much food goes to waste in restaurants and grocery stores.

  • Rewoodtoys

    Rewoodtoys said 7 years ago

    Awesome article. We try our best to reduce waste in our home, but I am always still amazed at how much we as north americans consume and waste.

  • Copaesthetics

    Copaesthetics said 7 years ago

    As a mostly veg-eater, I'm more inclined to eat meat if it's cooked at home and I can really try to utilize every last bit! Last week I made a chicken and rice stew, using the bones and giblets for a 2nd pot of broth for meals down the line. Freezing leftover's helps insure I'll have a warm meal in a couple weeks when's Seattle's drizzle get's to my bones! I even saved some of the less desirable cooked bits for my cat. I know many already do this, and it's something our mums did/do a lot, but as a 27 year old I find my generation is really removed from "the process" of our food. Where it comes from, how it's cooked, what's leftover, etc. And, as gimmicky (ie, Wholefoods Market) as it may be sometimes, I'm glad to see and be apart of this whole "local-organic-nonGMO" movement that has gained momentum.

  • ToosDetectiveAgency

    ToosDetectiveAgency said 7 years ago

    I made radish-top soup for the first time this summer, and my boyfriend and I love it! I've since tried making it with other greens that would typically be thrown away. I've liked radish-top the best, but my boyfriend will eat anything, so we've had to take a lot less to the composter this summer.

  • ToosDetectiveAgency

    ToosDetectiveAgency said 7 years ago

    I recently read of a study (sponsored by garbage disposal manufacturers) that putting food waste into the garbage disposal rather than in the trash significantly decreases the amount of solid waste that ends up in landfills. Thinking about all the food that is thrown away, this makes a lot of sense. It seems to me that using as much food as possible and composting the rest are the best way to go, but for people not inclined to make these changes, using a garbage disposal is another step in the right direction!

  • LeighsArt

    LeighsArt said 7 years ago

    great tips! thanks!

  • Josephine14

    Josephine14 said 7 years ago

    My mother never gave us what we couldnt eat but she did tend to cook too much so we would find ourselves eating lots of leftovers lol at the end of the week. But sometimes it was fun because we would have leftover night. It was interesting to see who would eat what or who would get the last piece of this or that. And now I try not to cook too much, watch our snack intake and have been cooking healthier and healthier. This article has inspired me more! Thanks! leftovers are fun to in the sense that you can sometimes create something new with them!

  • sweetmixcreations

    sweetmixcreations said 7 years ago

    It's amazing how a pie crust can turn leftovers into a fantastic meal. I make "leftovers pie" every so often and throw all our leftovers in it, along with an egg. The kids love it!

  • catiques

    catiques said 7 years ago

    I am glad my children and myself broke away from the "EAT IT, DON'T WASTE IT" which came from my grandparents and parents. Great Article.

  • tensirk

    tensirk said 7 years ago

    It is a great thing to do for the environment and you save some money. I find in big supermarkets potatoes and apples and many items come in big packages and in return half go bad. There are many great things people can do to reduce waste, and I find eating everything all up is a great idea. Kristen http://bodyofyoga.wordpress.com/

  • robin101

    robin101 said 7 years ago

    Lovely piece. It really is amazing how much food can go to waste nowadays and how eating habits have changed in half a century. Another thing that shocks me is the amount of packaging waste, I buy loose fruit and veg and meat from the butcher but at the end of the week my recycling bin still manages to be full.

  • BOODWAH

    BOODWAH said 7 years ago

    A lot of the way we eat now is based on our desire of food rather than the necessity of eating to live. We have become untuned to our natural understanding of the needs of our body.. which is actually.. relatively little..Some of the healthiest groups of people on this planet eat minimal food. Our need to 'treat our selves' means we consume unnecessary food. With my children I am torn sometimes between saying"finish your meal" and allowing them to know when they are full..I choose the latter most often!..thankfully

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 7 years ago

    Wonderful advice! Thank you!

  • kgosh

    kgosh said 7 years ago

    excellent article. thanks!

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 7 years ago

    Great article! Thanks for sharing! I always try to plan my meals out a week in advance, sometimes its tough when things start to get crazy, but if I plan out my meals, not only do I eliminate a lot of waste, but I also eat a lot healthier!

  • lauraslastditch

    lauraslastditch said 7 years ago

    Thank you, thank you! We have little waste around our house, and when people come over and help me cook, it about drives me nuts. I love the help, but I can't help looking askance at wasted broccoli stalks and too-big ends cut off zucchini. Who says you need to chop the end off a half inch from the stem? Some of my friends have picked up on some of this, though, but I find it so hard to be gentle when I'm appalled--something I really, really need to work on.

  • AzaferraJewelry

    AzaferraJewelry said 7 years ago

    I was hospitalized for 2 1/2 months at the end of last year, and I could not believe how much food was wasted (even by me) in the hospital. They bring entirely too much food. Breakfast was at about 8 am and 11:30 or so, i could hear the lunch cart. Dinner was at about 5:30 or so, and I'd still be full from the half lunch that i had eaten. I tried to save half a sandwich or fruit sometimes, but the attendants would say, oh you don't want that do you, dinner is coming. At one point I had gone for an exray and ended up with 2 trays of food waiting for me. Since then, I noticed that I wasted food at home because I forgot it was there, because of smooshing things into the fridge after grocery shopping. I've thrown away enough lettuces and cucumbers to feed the whole country. Also, I noticed I go grocery shopping sometimes when I'm depressed. It dawned on me recently when I saw how many of the same items I had. I'm disciplining myself to not cook anything til all the cooked stuff has been eaten, though I'm not a fan of leftovers. Usually if its not eaten the next day, it too will "die a long and ugly death"! But even my fridge looks better when i can actually see what's in it! Hopefully a slimmed down,healthy fridge will equal a slimmed down and healthy me! Oh, and about rinds, I've had "candied rinds" but never eaten it otherwise.

  • kataarii

    kataarii said 7 years ago

    thanks for sharing! its a great article and its always good to challenge what you are used to and rethink why you do things the way you do!

  • redginkgodesigns

    redginkgodesigns said 7 years ago

    About a week ago, my sister laughingly said, "Thanks for raising the bar...again! My boys came home from your house and wanted quiche for Sunday breakfast and when I went to the store to get things for it and made it, they said,'nice try, mom, but her's was better!" I laughed--and shared my secret: Quiche is one of the ways you clean out the fridge on the days before you shop! I love to throw in all kinds of things and use up those last little bits for unexpected flavor punches. A few years ago, our oldest nephew was quite adamant that he "wouldn't ever eat zucchini!" Guess what went into the next morning's quiche? (And he asked for seconds! LOL)

  • dhudson017

    dhudson017 said 7 years ago

    I had no idea Etsy had a blog. What an interesting article and the comments people have shared are fantastic. In the US God has blessed us with SO much that I don't think most people even realize the waste in our every-day lives. Thanks for the article!

  • dhudson017

    dhudson017 said 7 years ago

    P.S. We bought a Vitamix blender which really helps with eliminating food waste . . . it now becomes a shake or soup!

  • JustHanginAroundPrim

    JustHanginAroundPrim said 7 years ago

    Interesting article...love the blog....I live by myself and I love to cook too....but am not the most EAGER on when it comes up to cleaning up the mess LOL.....my dishwasher and I are BEST FRIENDS should I add?. I came from a large family of 9 and mom was the "bestest" cook living on a farm out in the country of beautiful Upstate NY near Niagara Falls. I am th baby of the bunch and picked up alot of "know how" along the way. We came from a "waste not, want not" way of bringing up and MOST proud of it. I still cook in full LARGE batches, but now with modern techie stuff that continues to come out like Rectangular Brownie or Muffin pans or rubber came out....What a genious...so I often cook / bake in portions and freeze. I am a genious at WAKING UP leftovers and hardly EVER use the microwave to do it or should I say RUIN it... I still use the LG BATCH method but I individualize everything I make sometimes and they POP OUT and for easy storage, and I waste nothing. At the same time I watch my waistline too by NOT overeating and try to add to my GOOD HEALTH......but I do have a weakness sometimes I am the "quilty one" when it comes to those double fudge brownies I build, or my special "PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE".....I for one think it's SINFUL to limit ones self to just ONE PIECE of my special PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE lol....I knew you all would see things MY WAY...I totally agree. LOL.... My point to the is frenzy is that I make alot of food with ONE MESS to clean up, instead of a bunch of little food preps with also alot of little messes to clean up. It is easier for me to make and bake a WHOLE Lasagna with ONE DISH to clean up instead of making a little lasagna 12 different times and cleaning 12 different sets of times..... I can make a WHOLE BATCH of those Scrumptious, Moist, Yummy, Heavenly, delicious, Non fattening for the moment, fantastic, delightful BROWNIES..(sorry I got carried away in a blurr of brownie passion ladies)...now where was I........Oh yes...I can make a whole batch of brownies in my rectangular muffin pan and freeze them separately for convenience purposes and POOF...I only made ONE MESS and prepared for future MOMENTS OF PASSION to my Freezer LOL everytime I want a brownie LOL....so for me it is cheaper to buy whole ingredients and cook whole recipe's and Portion everything to my liking ahead of time..... I enjoyed this......blog....... hmmmmmmmmmm now where did I say those Delicious, delightful, scrumptious, moist etc etc etc BROWNIES were? Oh.....I am RUNNING TO THE FREEZER......... ENJOY..... Ken from "Just Hangin' Around Primitives"

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 7 years ago

    Waste not, want not. I think this was one Ben Franklin's maxims. Weve always cooked mostly from scratch, being mindful that eating the leftovers next day will be an instant 'heat & eat' meal, especially if schedules are getting busy. So easy, time efficient and economical on any scale. Buying foodstuffs and cooking w/ a sense of proportion for one's household is the key to little or no waste.

  • YarnUiPhoneApp

    YarnUiPhoneApp said 7 years ago

    This same concept can be applied to any hobby. I'll discuss knitting. All those cut ends? Put like-minded one together (say wool) felt that make fabric. You could also make a Solvy stabilizer 'sandwich' with all the bits in the sandwich...sew a grid on the sandwich with your sewing machine. Wash out Solvy. Instant scarf and not a wasted a yarn bit in sight!

  • daftcrafts

    daftcrafts said 7 years ago

    This post, as well as a few of the comments, remind me of my mother when i was growing up. As a child everyone puts the food on your plate for you, and most of the time there was too much for me. I remember my Mom telling me that I never, ever had to finish what was on my plate before I got up. If I was full, fine. She used to have to eat the entire thing, and once she sat and the table all night until she fell asleep there because her mother wouldn't let her get up. And all these years later, that's helped me to reverse my eating methods and give myself smaller portions, and only eat what's on my plate, and to not buy things I don't plan to eat. And for those serious about food waste, don't worry, my leftovers always went to my Dad, although now he's fat so maybe that wasn't the best plan....

  • Blinkett

    Blinkett said 7 years ago

    I don't think I have ever had a leftover. I measure everything out before I make it and then prepare the correct amount. I don't like having excess in the refrigerator that can go bad.

  • WheresMyCape

    WheresMyCape said 7 years ago

    Just another little tip: pineapple. After I slice up for meal, I freeze the fibrous center of the pineapple to use later in fruit & yogurt smoothies. Just don't throw them in fresh as I've find they don't puree as smoothly as after they've been frozen.

  • StephensonStudio

    StephensonStudio said 7 years ago

    I never waste food because I have discovered that with few exceptions, almost everything we humans deign not to eat is relished by other animals. I have goats, chickens, dogs and cats, so there are four different digestive systems to make food of whatever leftovers I may end up with. Chickens will eat almost anything -- as long as it is chopped into small enough pieces so they can get it down (they do not have teeth to chew with). Goats are crazy about greens and fruits. Dogs love all the vegetables cooked in with their brown rice or beans (I confess, I cook all my dog's meals) and are especially fond of squash and pumpkin! I even chop fresh greens, fruits and veggies into their bowls before serving. I have never had a refusal to eat. Cats are the toughest to please since they are obligatory carnivores and I am a vegetarian, but I do buy meat for both dogs and cats to consume with their grains and vegetables. One thing about them though is that they have a strange love for melons and cucumbers! Bottom line... if you have leftovers from your leftovers and are running out of ideas, try giving you pets a go at them. (I MUST STRESS THAT I NEVER FEED RANCID OR DECAYED FOOD TO MY PETS! THEY ONLY EAT WHAT I WOULD EAT MYSELF IF I WAS NOT FULL OR BORED TO TEARS WITH IT. NEVER FEED ANYTHING BUT WHOLESOME, FRESH FOODS TO YOUR BELOVED PETS, PLEASE!)

  • medicinewheelcrafts

    medicinewheelcrafts said 7 years ago

    This is a great article. One must always stress the importance of the overconsumption issue, because this is definitely a huge issue in our modern society. In my household we do what is called 'eating smart', which consists of planning out flexible menus before visiting the local co-op grocery. We also make our own breads, jams, pasta, and many other things! I believe that pre-packaged goods do a lot in promoting a wasteful lifestyle. When one makes their own bread or jam from scratch, they tend to savor and appreciate it more than something bought from the store. And there is always time to make your own goods, seriously! We hope to soon have our own vegetable garden as well. Another good thing to do is to eat seasonal and try as hard as one can to buy local vegetables and foods. This can add up, albeit, but one should catalog their daily activity level with their BMI and see how many calories one *really needs* to be eating. I think a lot of individuals overeat, and I'm not talking about obesity or curvier people, but skinny ones as well! Think of how much your body actually needs to function well. Many yogis consider only eating until you are 80% full. Once again, wonderful post, thanks for the information!

  • medicinewheelcrafts

    medicinewheelcrafts said 7 years ago

    This also made me think about he idea of 'low' or 'zero calorie' foods. My reason for this is that people in other countries are dying for calories to nourish their bodies, and here in the 'civilized' world, we make these foods that have virtually no nutritional value, no calories, just so we can keep shoveling crap in our mouths.. That really made me think. Maybe that kind of mindset also permeates our overconsumption habits.

  • Decadence2artbar

    Decadence2artbar said 7 years ago

    I find the whole 'freeganism' movement really interesting - supermarkets dump so much food that can still be eaten and yet when freegans try to take it from ttheir bins, they get chased away by security - even worse, some supermarkets have started locking their bins so people can't take out the food. >>> They do that because they are legally liable for any injuries or worse, yes, even from their garbage. They also do that because the pilferers probably leave a mess behind, my son worked at a grocery store and spent every morning cleaning up after the trespassers (yes, you ARE trespassing!) then they started locking it all up or opening all the cans/dumping the old products so they couldn't be taken.

  • berthabrightmarke

    berthabrightmarke said 7 years ago

    This article's well overdue. For some reason some people refuse to eat leftovers because it's either not cool or shows that they're on a "certain" level ! If only they knew the truth!!!

  • Fluturi

    Fluturi said 7 years ago

    What a fantastic article, I have been living this way my whole life, my kids are now learning the same way. That's what we really need to do, set a great example for the next generation. I would like to add to the discussion though that as artisians we also need to look at the waste in our studios. With my main medium being fabric, I have developed ways to use up many of my little scraps (donated to my kids class rooms for craft), selvedge off cuts (making fabric flowers) and other bits and pieces which I challenge myself to use. If you have some unused or no longer needed craft items and a fellow artisian doesn't want them think of your local schools they always love a donation or in some cities there are community groups who assist through art therapy, which help people with a variety of difficulties. No supplies should ever meet their end in the bin.

  • Fluturi

    Fluturi said 7 years ago

    Curry the next day is the best, as is soup and pizza. If you don't eat it the next day, then when you are making your next dinner, take a few minutes to package and freeze your leftovers, that way it won't decompose in the fridge. I also keep the crust ends of my bread loaves and blend them in my food processor to keep as bread crumbs in the freezer or to make my dog's food stretch a little further.

  • estateoriginals

    estateoriginals said 7 years ago

    We live in the country and if we have any leftovers I throw them out in the woods for the "critters." They are always gone the next morning. I know they look forward to them during the winter months when it is freezing cold and the snow has covered the ground and it is hard for them to find food. I know I am helping them out.

  • rushcreekmosaics

    rushcreekmosaics said 7 years ago

    When I met my husband five years ago, he introduced me to "peasant food." Being a middle class consumer all of my life, I initially frowned upon the perceived strangeness of this elemental type of eating .. It seemed a lot more time consuming, rather boring, and repetitive. We now eat a primarily plant-based diet with little waste, and it is not boring at all. Rather, it is empowering to use our skills in the kitchen to create delicious, healthy, waste-less meals that are honest and nutritious and a helpful, if minuscule contribution to our environment. Thank you for a thought-provoking article in our consumer-driven society.

  • savetheworldwithtea

    savetheworldwithtea said 7 years ago

    thank you for the "garbage soup" idea, with a water reduction it will make a brilliant bouillon base to freeze instead of buying vegetable bouillon cubes. i recently read Americans throw away on average 40%!!!! now equipped with this new bouillon recipe, our household food waster should hover around >2%. looking forward to the next entry Laura. thank you.

  • brandyjimenez

    brandyjimenez said 7 years ago

    My best friend’s mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here NuttyRich dot com

  • thenakedbird

    thenakedbird said 7 years ago

    When I go to the grocery store, I'm always over budget, buying what I might want instead of what I know I can eat before things start to spoil. I was once at a whole foods and envied the girl behind me with her three bananas, two yogurts and protein bar. I thought, she's just buying what she needs for a couple of days and then she'll come back! Why in the world can't I do that!? I think of that every time I shop now and am so proud of myself when I am around the $30 mark with a good variety in my cart, knowing that I bought what I needed and nothing will go to waste!

  • rikiwidesigns

    rikiwidesigns said 7 years ago

    less is more

  • VictoriaWest

    VictoriaWest said 7 years ago

    I'm so pleased to see that there are more people out there who are against food waste. As a family we try to throw out as little food as possible. I hadn't heard of "freeganism" before, but it's certainly interesting. I must admit I don't see myself "dumpster diving" any time soon, but it's great to get new ideas, tips and tricks on how to be less wasteful. Personally I try to employ this philosophy to more aspects of my life. I love converting old clothes to something wearable, and I create accessories and brooches from upcycled fabrics. Thanks for the great post!

  • vegetableivoryshop

    vegetableivoryshop said 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Great article ! And great new ideas and tips with cut offs and peels. Another thing is i try and buy my vegetables and fruit from the small corner shops , they are slightly pricier but also better and fresher quality ,the tomatoes actually smell great and lemons are not completely waxed up not to lose their color and the so called 'freshness' Supermarket vegetables seam to be genetically modified into perfection not to have any strange shape and size ! Just so that they look more appealing to it's customers , bananas cucumbers you name it they all need to have a certain shape ... while naturally and organically grown they could be a lot more random and oddly shaped... Anyways if everyone could just try and avoid buying fruit and veg (and meats and all fresh produce) in big supermarkets that way we also keep smaller businesses in the loop of trading, so buy from local butchers or corner shops have less waste keep small shops open and everybody happy

  • AnneMashekCreations

    AnneMashekCreations said 7 years ago

    I really try to only buy what I think we'll eat at the store. I hate throwing out food! I'm always trying to figure out how to incorporate what's left in the fridge into dinner. Leftover gravies go into casseroles and soups. Leftover meat sometimes gets chopped and frozen for use later on after it builds up (especially chopped chicken - just keep adding to it in the freezer until you have enough for a soup or salad or casserole). Less than perky strawberries get made into "macerated" strawberries, mushy but still good bananas get made into muffins, and less than stellar apples get chopped into tuna or chicken salad. I'm sharing this article! Great read!

  • kellyemeraldhart

    kellyemeraldhart said 7 years ago

    great tips! i will start implementing them right away!!

  • sillysister

    sillysister said 7 years ago

    I have some comments about the comments about this nice article. The first is that the garbage disposal is NOT something to use instead of a trash can. It wastes water and electricity, and the solids (more left than you think) just have to be taken out at the other end and trucked off (ah - gas waste and smog, too) to the landfill. (You might want to think about this when you put sanitary supplies in the toilet, too.) Second, many supermarkets now lock their dumpsters, which does discourage dumpster diving. But it isn't that they don't want you to have the "free stuff" in there as much as they want to discourage non-supermarket waste from being tossed in there (I've seen people drive around looking for empty bins to toss chairs or huge bags of yard waste in) and to keep their liability insurance down. People have been killed by being trapped in those bins. It seems a shame that they can't leave edible waste in some sort of separate, smaller bin, but they'd probably still have to lock the lid down to keep rodents out. It's a real puzzle. I don't have the solution, but I worked in the environmental engineering business for many years and know that every solution as its own problems. Buying less and using it all is the best way to reduce waste. We can't all live in the country and throw our yard waste out "to the critters." On a different note, remember you can use the "garbage soup" broth to cook rice in, too. Yum!

  • BiscottiQueen

    BiscottiQueen said 7 years ago

    We've taken 'No Waste' to a new level. Create little trash we say here. We only have one small trash bin to goto the dump each week, and no more. Usually its only 1 bag. We bring 3 bins for recycling as well, but we separate everything to be efficient. Food waste is a no no. What we don't eat as a family gets fed to our 18 bantam chickens, and they waste nothing. What they won't eat from our home or garden going into our compost pile. Which includes the chickens' waste. The returns from all that waste go into our garden in the winter so that we can grow even more. Sometimes, we grow more then me need and that extra food goes to the food pantry in town. You can see in our shop with our jams/jellies that we use apple cores and scraps to make our own homemade pectin. So what goes around comes around in the end, and we feel good and comfortable in each meal we serve. We've created a sustainable family.

  • JKistlerStudios

    JKistlerStudios said 7 years ago

    While I'm not the best at avoiding waste (that package was dated WHEN?! and ewww, I forgot about using that veggie before it went bad!), I try. Working at home makes it easy to use leftovers, they make great lunches for one during the day. Leftover steak? Slice thinly and heat on a skillet with a little oil and salt/pepper/garlic powder/onion powder/chili powder, or with salt/pepper and add white cheese (like monterey jack) on top. I make large batches of taco meat and heat up a little each day for a taco lunch, that's my favorite. The bonus is these are quick, great if you're like me and don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Also, if the ground beef I buy has a lot of juices to remove after browning (like when I make taco meat), let it cool and save for beef broth later. (I no longer buy those MSG-laden "broth" cubes for stews and other recipes) Same for chicken juices after baking chicken if I didn't add a lot of flavorings, or if I scoop it off before adding a sauce. Celery bits that I don't want to snack on get chopped up and frozen for later use in stews/soups. So there's a few more tips!

  • JKistlerStudios

    JKistlerStudios said 7 years ago

    Oh, and I have to second the point about prepping veggies, etc. as soon as you buy them... When I do that, I make much better use of them, and yes I am more likely to snack on them! Otherwise it seems like too much trouble, and pretty soon they've gone to waste. That is such a great tip.

  • LoveStoneArts

    LoveStoneArts said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful, stimulating topic. I don't know why I am frugal but food waste does really bother me. Cooking is a passion for myself and my grown daughters. An enthusiasm for cooking requires respect for the ingredients. My strategy is to have several recipes in mind if the quantity in a can of coconut milk for instance is too much for a single use. Thai curry, coconut chicken soup and coconut gelatin dessert; all wonderful; best used over a week of meals rather than in one great big coconut feast! I cook a lot of Asian style and if you ever shop in an Asian grocery you will notice that most of the special flavor ingredients last a long, long time. Dried, salted, fermented. I have a long practice of shopping in bulk but I am converting from the 50# bag of rice purchase to a just right quantity from the bulk bin. We consume less packaging that way too. Yes, I make old-time watermelon rind preserves and they are yummy. My husband will love the bread pudding in a mason jar idea!! (Try using stale donuts and cinnemon buns for your pudding!) Thanks for sharing, Laura.

  • MarysMilkMonsters

    MarysMilkMonsters said 7 years ago

    Great topic! I am lucky to have dairy goats as pets. We keep the best bits of food we buy for the kitchen, and the peels and ends go out as goatie treats. There are some people foods they can't eat, like avocados, meat obviously, or something moldy or rotten, but they will power right through apple cores, melon rinds and that last cold pancake. The extra treats help make richer milk, which yields more cream and butter. So with dairy goats, banana peels become butter cookies!

  • nicilaskin

    nicilaskin said 7 years ago

    i do most of it allready a nice thing to do too is when you make soups and have leftover soups, strech them the next day with either beans or lentils, they are cheap to come by and have lots of protein, or add some noodles,

  • nicilaskin

    nicilaskin said 7 years ago

    i love love love leftovers

  • imjack

    imjack said 7 years ago

    You would be amazed on what you can put together with left overs.We usually do a leftover night by Thursday night, with no complaint from my family.

  • VikingX

    VikingX said 7 years ago

    This is an issue that's really important to me! Its been great reading everyone's tips. I like planing the week's meals ahead of time, saving leftovers for the next day's lunch, recycling everything and keeping a compost box for the garden. Its pretty empowering knowing that small changes make a big difference, and much better than feeling guilty for ignoring the damage you're doing to the environment. Taking your own bags to the supermarket and trying to buy items with less packaging, which only becomes rubbish, is good too. I really think more should be done, by governments, councils and businesses, to reduce plastic wrapping and unnecessary food packaging. Recyclable paper bags are better than plastic bags, and probably better for the veggies too!

  • screenprinting

    screenprinting said 7 years ago

    I hate to see food waist that's why I always cook for a family of 4 sorry for the guess. Love this article. I ones work for a food industry and I hated when we had to waste all that food and were not allow to give or take. :(

  • tropicalbear

    tropicalbear said 7 years ago

    Best thing I've ever learned in this matter was leftover vegetable broth. I just keep all the peels (carrots, zucchini, squash, potato), unused parts of vegetables, like the stem of broccoli and mushroom (just as an example). Then I throw everything in a pot with water, boil for 30 or 40 minutes, and, voila! You have homemade delicious, cheap and healthy broth. And the leftovers go to the compost bin. Everything is used!

  • TheHeartsMuse

    TheHeartsMuse said 7 years ago

    I hate to say it, but it has been far too long since the last time I made good use of our leftovers. This article has been a good reminder. Great article!

  • SisterMaryTopiary

    SisterMaryTopiary said 7 years ago

    This is a very interesting topic that shows how far away we have grown from our source of food. I live on a small farm, and when you grow your own food, be it animal or vegetable, you appreciate where it comes from, how much effort it takes to sow, grow, reap, and yes, even kill it, before preparing it to eat. I was an urban dweller, eating a variety of manufactured foods, and I thought little of where it came from. Now I see the crops growing and the animals in the field, and I am thankful. True gratitude for the life given by the creatures you live with makes wasting food a practice that shows disrespect for our fellow creatures. I think I understand now the practice of Native People to thank the spirit of the animal they kill for food, and to let none of that creature go to waste.

  • curlymonkey

    curlymonkey said 7 years ago

    Great article! I couldn't agree more with reuseitmt!

  • HAPpyNaturals

    HAPpyNaturals said 7 years ago

    I can relate to the waste not want not. As i grew up we were expected to clear our plates that were usually overfilled to begin with. We were rewarded with food as is common to many american families. All this has led to me being overweight for much of my life. But the realization has changed my family forever. My husband and I no longer ask our children to clear there plates but instead ask them to eat whatever they take but don't force the issue if they are full before there plate is clean. In a country where more seems to be better ,I believe that its not how much you eat ,it is the quality of foods that you are consuming that matter. It is an awesome idea to adopt the idea of using all leftovers in your next recipe.This idea will help the obesity epidemic here in America by not expecting our selves and families to eat all we cook. We can stretch our meals, environment and our dollars by reusing. Great Topic!!

  • SamanthaMcKay

    SamanthaMcKay said 7 years ago

    I am always driven mad at my MIL's house. She throws canned goods out before they expire if they are close to the date, tosses veggies and fruits that do not look perfect, lets bread spoil, etc. She can literally feed 10 people a week with what she buys for her household, and only 3 people live there. My FIL can't stand it either and tries his best to use or save things, but out it goes when he's not looking. Unfortunately many people fall victim to the grocery store and if they were to buy fresh as needed in order to save on that waste, they would be buying 10 unnecessary things each trip. I have been guilty of this. When I was a little girl growing up in Alaska we were very aware of what could be used food wise. Including animals that were hunted. I was sick and I felt horrible last week having forgotten clean and rotate the fridge, a few too many things were wasted and sadly it was far less than most people probably throw away as leftovers in a single day. Growing up we only had fresh game meats and fish, garden veggies and whatever kept well from the stores that were hours away in decent weather. We shared many animal kills with neighbors because no matter how icky you may think it is, many of the native people there used all sorts of animal parts we don't think about as edible. We are so very wasteful these days, I try but I am part of this too often for my liking. I encourage everyone who still have grandparents and older people in their lives to discuss food uses with them. From scratch cooking and more knowledge about the things we use can really save. Take advantage of what others learned before everything was convenient. Save your bread heels, crackers, pretzels, cereals, etc for breadcrumbs. Pickle your watermelon rinds. Turn your chicken cascaras and veggie scraps into soups and stocks. Save bacon grease for cooking with when possible. Store many cut fruits with a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning as quickly. Freeze or dry fresh herbs that you cannot use in time, or better yet grow these in your kitchen window.

  • Marumadrid

    Marumadrid said 7 years ago

    Here in Spain people love to waste food, but I've heard in the USA it's even worse: for example, a kid who didn't eat his cereal? BANG! Directly to the garbage can! :O

  • MaijaFeja

    MaijaFeja said 7 years ago

    Hi! I spent whole my life teaching my kids not waste food. They know how to appreciated food. And it is not surprising for me that they choose to be vegetarians since they were very small. As for me....I love meat....I want it....a little bit. Maybe not every day, but sometimes :) and it is upsetting my kids (now 18 and 16). We have lived all life almost not wasting any food. In Latvia for example appreciation of bread is cultural thing. It is normal not to waist any food. In countryside, people who can, keep one or too pigs almost as hobbie, just to have home grown (very valuable because you know what food animals eat) meat. All food scraps go to pigs. As kids and me we are living in city, for vegetable scraps we have guinea pig :) :) :) at home. :) it is great pet and as kids say - big recycling machine. Piggies waste go to my flower pots as good fertilizer. Meat leftovers (bones) go to our friends dogs. :) :) :) Best! And live green!

  • MaijaFeja

    MaijaFeja said 7 years ago

    :) When I red what I wrote it looked for me like I wanted to say - I use my guinea pig as meat! No! :) No! We all love it! It is pet! I just mention leftovers of meat what I sometimes consume! Best Maija

  • sheilalovesdogs

    sheilalovesdogs said 7 years ago

    All of these awesome posts make me want to live cleaner then I do already! Thanks everyone. Cheers to a cleaner healthier life... To our mother earth!!!! :)

  • busterbeanknows

    busterbeanknows said 7 years ago

    What a great article to stimulate more creativity in the kitchen! And for those of us who are getting up in years, using leftover fruits & green vegetables in green smoothies is a easy and surprisingly tasty way to get the most vitamins and minerals.... good idea for the younger crowd too... : ^ )

  • panoramicway

    panoramicway said 7 years ago

    There was another article about this in the NYT about a week or so ago - a single mother feeding herself and 3 children for $100/week while out of work by being frugal and using everything from her kitchen garden and 3 egg laying hens. It was a wonderful example of no waste and using everything! My first foray into this was blending leftover salad to make gazpacho for the following days lunch - no waste there. I don't cook much-for one person it takes too much time so I grab here and there, but waste is a problem. Soup is always an answer, and half is frozen so I don't get sick of it before it's finished. I loved your article, and I think it was Buckminster Fuller who said America could feed the world if it were not for politics. If we all became more frugal in our daily living patterns, hunger would disappear - if - and this is a big one - the political will appeared.

  • APERFECTSTITCH

    APERFECTSTITCH said 7 years ago

    I have just found this topic thread and have not read the whole set of comments, but want to reply to "pouch" and the remark about grocery stores and restaurants locking their dumpsters. There are two reasons that stand out when you talk about this phemonenon-1. the mess that is caused by people getting food out of a dumpster and left for the store or restaurant to clean up, and 2. there is always and foremost a problem with people suing the restaurant or store when they get sick from the product they took from the dumpsters. Unfortunately, this is the main reason the dumpster locking has come about. Also, restaurants can no longer donate cooked food to shelters because of the same liability issues. The food must be sealed in it's original package before you can donate. Yes!! A huge waste when so many are hungry!!!

  • EyvindsAlchemy

    EyvindsAlchemy said 7 years ago

    What about composting our food scraps? composting food materials would generate new soil and nourish the garden, then it will not go to waste but turn into another form of food for plants that we can consume again in a later time. And also safe space in our landfill :). Wonderful article by the way!

  • EyvindsAlchemy

    EyvindsAlchemy said 7 years ago

    We can also composting our food scraps, composting food materials would turn to soil and nourish the garden. Therefore, it would not going to waste but turn to another form of food for plants that we will consume in later time. Safe space in our landfill :).

  • Abigaillw

    Abigaillw said 7 years ago

    Great article and great comments and ideas from the Etsy community . I also was raised to not waste food. After living in a foreign country, I learned to waste even less- often veggies and fruits are bought at the corner store- one meal at a time. These veggies and fruits are not the perfect ones we see here at our grocery stores- but they can still be used to make delicious fruit waters or smoothies, and the tomatoes for salsas. Broccoli and califlower stems are cooked and then put in a blender with milk, water, and chicken brooth to make a soup base. It tastes great! Lastly, for those fortunate enough to eat out- the portions are usually so large- much is wasted and left. I always take mine to go. If you don't want to take yours home, someone on the street is hungry and would be grateful, at least here in a big city.

  • mystichintime

    mystichintime said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • joeyandaleethea

    joeyandaleethea said 7 years ago

    Wonderful article! As an avid watcher of "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" - which features restaurants all over the world - where the renowned Chef Ramsey helps to turn a restaurant around from debt and no customers into a profitable thriving establishment, I was shocked when I was shown how the waste of food is more than the everyday consumer cooking for their own family. It is also the owners, chefs, and the managers of restaurants who purchase much more food than they need, which leads to plenty of spoiled food (which gets dumped) and dumpsters full of unused fruit, vegetables, meats, and other food products. Having a stocked fridge - whether it's at home or at a restaurant - is not a sign of your health or your financial status or even what you need or think you need to survive - which is unfortunately how some of us in the world have been raised or somehow been taught to believe. Ultimately, Chef Ramsey gets rid of the garbage, cleans up the kitchen, and shows the restaurant owner and chef how to shop local, and get fresh produce/smaller cuts of meat from the butcher shop. Shopping local, independent, makes them all profitable and overall more healthy. Personally, with two small children and a baby on the way, in our house our kids know to stop eating when they're full. And before they start eating, if they initially ask for 2 of something, we tell them you can have 1 and then think about if you can fit another before you ask for seconds. We also let them know some children are hungry right now, and don't have this meal that you have. Hopefully we are raising them to eat healthy and to be thankful for what they are given, what they are blessed with, and what they work for. Growing up in the 70's and 80's, when I left food on my plate, my mom would tell me "Your eyes were bigger than your stomach." and "Don't throw that away. Are you kidding me?" and "Some children have no food in this world." And so I learned healthy eating habits and portion control from an early age. My mom grew up in Honduras, Central America - one of the poorest 3rd countries in the world and she knew what it was like to lack. To share what you have, to live on next to nothing, with dirt as your floor, and a hut-like home, no running water, and outhouse and outside tub for bathing, with no shoes on her feet, and sometimes only 1 or 2 meals daily, for many years prior to migrating to the US in her 20's to begin a career and raise 3 children in NYC, and show us how to re-use scraps of food, fabric, household items, etc etc...Oh gosh...I'm off to call my mom! :)

  • daddieslittleartist

    daddieslittleartist said 7 years ago

    My parents throw out half of what they buy because they do not use it, and let it get moldy or old. It's extremely wasteful, you could fill up one house hold garbage can a month with their waste. She'll make a huge pot of stew, enough to feed us for 3 days and then leave it out on the stove an not put it away and the entire pot will go to waste. My dad keeps shaking his head about what a waste and talking about doing better but they never do.

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 7 years ago

    Great tips and a great reminder. Thank you for sharing and bringing awareness.

  • lauraslastditch

    lauraslastditch said 7 years ago

    When I was in college I was broke. I fed myself, in part, by being willing to take my picky roommate's rejects. If my roommate had a pepper or apple or any other produce with a bad spot or a little past its prime, she'd dump it, so I trained her to give it to me instead. Ditto for anything expired. I grew very adept at food rescue and coming up with uses for odds and ends. My shampoo and toothpaste were the dregs of my roommates' bottles and tubes. I'd cut them open to get every last bit, and I never had to buy any.

  • AlteredPhotos

    AlteredPhotos said 6 years ago

    Enjoyed all the information and the many great positive comments. I too hate waste of any kind; food, water, fuel, heat, electric, etc. I appreciate the many things I have and to the best of my ability I try not to waste anything. I recycle and try to do my share. My dog is on a 'raw' diet so with that I don't even waste raw meat scraps. It just makes me happy and makes me feel good. And composting too is great for the garden.

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