Moldy cheese, sour milk, leftovers from yesterday. I like throwing away food, but even at home we don’t always process 100% of what we buy and cook. I try not to waste food consistently, and today I will share with you tips on how we are far from reaching the terrible European average of discarded food.
I will focus on:
- cooked food and its leftovers,
- processing of fresh ingredients from the refrigerator.
It’s basically a few regular acts that make me throw away a minimum of food today, even without hens in the backyard. They instilled them in my family or I came to them myself by running my own household.
Maybe it’s the little things you already do. Maybe I inspire you. And maybe I’ll come out of it as a race that cooks according to the fridge and not according to taste.
These are my tips on how not to waste food even if we bring home a reasonable purchase.
Tip 1 – Reduce the size of the cooked side dish
A great discovery in recent months. I mean the side dish, which I pour dry into the pot and cook (or sliced potatoes). I really cooked it unnecessarily much and I’m already paying attention to it.
I scatter from the eye, I do not measure with a mug or otherwise. I measure the style: when it seems small to me, it’s just ok. It worked and I don’t constantly deal with those boiled potatoes or millet.
Tip 2 – Do not mix the cooked side dish with vegetables or meat
When there is more of the cooked side dish, I leave it aside. Separate from meat or vegetables. Banality, however, greatly expands my repertoire of possible uses of the remaining supplement.
Mixed buckwheat with meat and vegetables can basically only be heated. When the buckwheat is separate, it will go into a sweet porridge, patties or I will add it to the soup.
In addition, the mixed side dish sometimes smells badly with sauce or vegetables and it’s all warmer and less tempting to finish.
Tip 3 – Process the leftovers the next meal
Number 3 follows on from the previous tip. I always try to process leftovers from the last meal so that I don’t throw them away.
In the “proceed everything” championship, I gradually improved by trial and error method. Error = nobody wants to eat it at home :-).
Most often I process leftovers from cooked food and leftovers from the fridge into:
- soups – here the remnants of cooked cereals, legumes, cooked vegetables or fresh and wither,
- spreads – the remaining grated cheese, the remnants of open packages of jelly, meadows, cottage cheese,
- salads – the remaining pasta, cheese, cold cuts, remnants of “crispy” vegetables,
- sweet porridge – here are leftovers of cooked cereals, open syrups,
- sweet buns – a lot of ripe fruit, remnants of less popular and open jams, remnants of uneaten sweets, chocolate pieces,
- fingerfood – that is, food that can be “eaten” by hand from a plate. Leftover cheese or cold cuts. I’ll cut it into cubes and put it on the table or on the most available shelf in the fridge. Someone always seasons it when it’s close at hand and has a taste for something.
Others like to process leftover food into risotto, pancakes or omelets.
Tip 4 – As long as you have leftovers from the last cooked food, do not cook other food
This cannot be followed 100%, but we understand. When I cook something else, everyone tends to have something new. The old one will remain uneaten and who will want to eat it on the 3rd and 4th day?
We usually eat the same thing twice in a row. It only seems inefficient to cook it for just one meal (for a four-member household, where I want hot food every day). Cooking it three times means a great chance that the last portion will be left. Ideal option: lunch on the first day, dinner on the second day. It changes and the menu is more varied.
We have dinner a few times a week in the style of “what the house gave”. We each have something different on the plate and we run out of leftovers.
Tip 5 – Adjust cooking to current fresh supplies
The kids would like some pancakes, but first I’ll just process the root vegetables from last week…
In order not to waste money and food, I have to balance what we want with what I need to consume. Logical. Sometimes annoying.
I cook according to what we have in the fridge and what a state of freshness it is. Only then according to the recipe I just want to try.
Tip 6 – Set the fridge shelf to “eat as soon as possible”
Such a trifle that helps me with one eye to find out what I need to use quickly.
We use part of the most accessible shelf in the refrigerator as a “hot spot”, where I put food that we need to finish or cook as soon as possible. Something like part of a supermarket shelf where they put groceries approaching their expiration date.
Accurate menus for the whole week ahead did not work for us at home. Precisely because I need flexibility to include raw materials from this shelf in cooking.
Tip 7 – Cool cooked food quickly
Have you ever forgotten a pot of cooked food on the stove and it went wrong?
That’s exactly why I cool everything quickly and I don’t leave anything on the stove overnight or long during the day.
I also temporarily put hot pots with a more sensitive content (with meat or dairy products) on the balcony (where I can put them right after cooking) and then chilled them in the fridge. I put the rest of the food in the fridge as soon as the pot is at room temperature.
Tip 8 – Take the older first from the fridge
Such a classic, but I’ll write it. We always take the older food from the fridge when we have more with different consumption dates.
I put my food like this when I unpack my purchase. Older yogurts move forward, newer ones I’ll give for them. The same for cheeses, vegetables, eggs.
Tip 9 – Throw away unnecessary plastic bags straight away
What I buy wrapped in plastic wrap, I also unpack as soon as I unpack the purchase and pour it into an open box: packaged peppers, mushrooms, lemons. Basically everything you bring in a plastic.
Then there is a much lower chance that it will start to mold before we eat it.
Tip 10 – If you don’t eat it quickly, shove it into the freezer
Sometimes it happens that a lot of food suddenly comes together. We’ll get candy, I’ll bake the bun over the whole plate, we won’t estimate the pastry. I don’t wait for it to dry and everyone’s throat is crawling. I freeze the part immediately (straight sliced so that it can be taken in parts) and in a few weeks we seem to find it.
What about older pastries when they’re no longer for freezing?
Fortunately, we don’t have that much bread. We bake our own bread regularly.
What else if you don’t just want breadcrumbs?
- Soup or dough. I cut older rolls and bread into cubes and fry a little oil in a pan. Kids love it.
- Baked rolls with cheese. I cut the rolls in half, spread them with butter, treasure with a hard slice of eidam or gouda and bake for about 10-15 minutes. in the oven.
- Thick the soup. I boil the bread in soup and mix it with other vegetables for cream soup.
- Hide in something baked. For French potatoes and pasta. It isn’t Michelin, but better than throwing pastries.
10 tips on how not to waste food even if you buy it appropriately
Let’s sum it up once again:
- Reduce the size of the cooked side dish.
- Do not mix the cooked side dish with vegetables or meat.
- Process the leftovers the next meal.
- Do not cook others until you have leftover last cooked food.
- Adjust cooking to current fresh stocks.
- Set the shelf in the fridge to “eat as soon as possible”.
- Cool cooked food quickly.
- Take first the older item from the fridge.
- Throw away unnecessary plastic bags straight away.
- If you don’t eat it quickly, shove it into the freezer.
I’m not saying we’re one hundred percent in all this. Only partial adherence to these principles will do enough to treat food with respect at home. To our wallet, to those who grew or produced it for us, and to the resources of the planet.