Are you trying to eliminate food waste?
At Stoney Creek Farm, our mission is to live sustainably and to teach others to do the same.
We’ve covered how to repurpose common household items in the past… but what about food? Is it okay to toss kitchen scraps into the trash can? After all, isn’t food biodegradable?
You’ll be shocked to discover that tossing those potato skins into the bin isn’t as innocent as you think.
Keep reading to discover why you should eliminate your food waste and how to repurpose your food.
Why try to eliminate food waste?
Food waste is a BIG waste.
A study by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics discovered that the average American throws away about 30 – 40% of their food.
The study found that even the most mindful household still wasted a little less than 9% of the food they bought.
You’ll save money — lots of money.
That 30 – 40% of food thrown away each year? That equals more than $1800 worth of food annually. You might as well be throwing your cash straight into the trash!
Food scraps in landfills don’t properly decompose.
The lack of light and air in a landfill mound doesn’t allow for food to properly decompose as it would in your backyard compost pile. However, food scraps in landfills do decompose enough to release alarming amounts of methane gas — which is not good for our planet’s atmosphere.
How to Eliminate Food Waste by Avoiding it in the First Place:
Inventory the food you already have.
Chances are, you have food sitting on your pantry shelf that you haven’t thought about in weeks. Before planning your weekly grocery store haul, take inventory of what you already have (and their expiration dates), then plan your meals around using these ingredients.
BigOven is a website that allows you to type in up to 3 ingredients you have on hand — and then it will populate recipe ideas based on those ingredients!
Most of our food waste comes simply from a lack of planning. We stack up our carts, fill our fridge, and then forget about the container of lettuce wilting on the back shelf until it’s too late. By meal planning each week, you can make sure you use every bit of food we grow or purchase — including leftovers.
If you like keeping everything organized digitally, Yummly is a free meal-planning app.
Shop with a list.
In line with meal planning is grocery shopping with a list — not with our stomachs. Before dropping by the store, always have your meals planned for the week, and a grocery list to guide you.
Vacuum seal your food.
A vacuum sealer allows you to seal your food in an airtight container, so you can freeze it for months. This is a great option for those who like to buy in bulk!
Preserve your food.
Do you grow your own food, but not sure what to do with all that garden bounty? Preserve it! That’s what we do here at Stoney Creek Farm. Not only do we get to enjoy our summer produce all year long when we preserve it, we also save hundreds of dollars on our grocery bill each year.
If you’re local to the Nashville area, we offer in-person canning 101 classes several times a year. Check our Classes Calendar here.
We’ve also packaged up our popular Canning 101 class into an online video course — so you can learn to preserve your food no matter where you live!
How to Repurpose Your Food to Eliminate Food Waste:
Freeze or dehydrate your fruit.
Is your produce looking lackluster? Don’t toss it — freeze it! Stick it in the freezer, then use it for smoothies, drinks, or recipes that call for pureed fruit. In fact, most produce can be frozen for several months before going bad.
Dehydration is another method for preserving your fruit. Who doesn’t love dried banana chips? And why not make them yourself? A dehydration tool like this one makes it possible if you are on a budget. Need one that handles more food at a time? Check out this article from Buyers Guide for their top 10 Dehydrators for 2021. I have a Magic Mill myself and love dehydrating food for future use instead of throwing it in the compost.
Eat your greens — all of them.
Did you know… ?
Many of the parts of veggies and produce that we discard can actually be eaten.
For instance, potato peels are great to eat, just as long as the peel hasn’t turned green. Radish tops and carrot tops are greens that go great in salads, sauteed, or added to soups and stews. Swiss chard stems add a yummy crunch to stir fry recipes.
Here are 10+ surprising food parts that you should eat instead of throwing away.
Make croutons from stale bread.
Bread can go bad quickly — but don’t toss it just yet.
Make the stale bread into tasty croutons! Here’s how: cut the bread into small squares and bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees f0r about 2 hours. Voila — homemade croutons for a crispy salad.
Sautee your salad greens.
Salad greens about to go bad? Sauté them for a tasty, healthy side dish! Just toss them in olive oil with a dash of garlic. You can also add red wine vinegar at the end, right before serving. Trust us — it’s delicious.
Start a compost pile.
Create a compost pile! This is a must for any gardener, and a great way to repurpose many of your food scraps. Our Gardening Without Pesticides e-book provides an easy guide for starting your own compost pile.