A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to dramatically reduce the waste in my kitchen as a way to cut down on my grocery bill (which made my husband ecstatic). My biggest source of waste tends to be unused food in my refrigerator. In general, I’m making a larger effort to use produce before it goes bad.
Here are three things I was able to do right away with leftovers in my fridge:
Vegetable broth is a staple in my house. Regardless of what I am making for meals during the week, I will always find a way to use vegetable broth. So when I noticed carrots and onions were the only vegetables left in the house at the end of the week, I made broth! Typically vegetable broth also has celery so I substituted celery seed.
It’s super easy. Just chop the vegetables up, put them in a pot of water on medium heat, and leave them for an hour or two. I also added garlic and salt for additional flavor.
For storage, I freeze the broth in a bowl. When the bowl is completely frozen, I pop it out and vacuum seal it! This makes it the perfect shape for a pot on the stove or a crock pot and doesn’t hog a precious tupperware container.
I tend to buy all my vegetables fresh and in their original state from the grocery store. I avoid buying canned or frozen vegetables if I am able. This reduces the sodium and preservatives in my diet and tends to be cheaper! Having said that, I almost always end up throwing some vegetables away at the end of the week.
Broccoli for example, is about $3 from the frozen aisle. This isn’t that much but considering two heads of organic broccoli is under $2, it’s cheaper to wash, chop, blanch, and freeze.
Another food I froze last week was pomegranate seeds. A week or so ago, pomegranates were on sale for $2 so I bought two with the intention of using them in smoothies and as a snack.
Then they sat on my counter for two weeks. Before they went bad, I popped the seeds out, put them in an ice cube tray with water and froze them! These were the perfect addition to my morning smoothies. My favorite pomegranate smoothie recipe is:
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 handful of baby spinach
- 3 pomegranate ice cubes
- 1 banana
How do you reduce waste in your kitchen or home?