Easy ways to reduce food waste in your kitchen
An ethical, economical and practical issue
We hear a lot about how veganism can save the world, but there's an even more ethical thing to do than to stop eating meat: stop wasting food.
Around a third of the food produced in the world is thrown away when it is still edible and not expired. With the food that ends up in the bin, 200 million people could be fed.
On 5 February in Italy, the national day against food waste will be celebrated. Italy isn't perfect, and we still waste food here, perhaps through sheer laziness, but we have recipes and tricks that can help limit the damage. Here are a few.
Bread is the thing you risk wasting the most. When several pieces of bread are left over, they can be blended to make breadcrumbs for use in the kitchen, or cut into slices and made into Bruschetta.
Bruschetta is such a simple thing to do with bread that's past its best: toast the bread, rub a little garlic on top, and season it to taste. The classic Bruschetta is garlic, oil and salt, but in restaurants, they prepare a sauce with oil, salt, tomato and basil in advance, which will then soak into the bread.
In all honesty, you can prepare Bruschetta with everything. You can unleash your imagination, but don't put pineapple on it... No Hawaiian Bruschetta, please!
Other options include cutting it into cubes and drying it in the oven (at a low temperature). They become excellent crunchy croutons to eat with soups.
Or you can make a delicious Panzanella salad. It's a Tuscan dish of chopped salad, made with soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes. It often includes cucumbers, basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
Vegetable broth with potatoes, zucchini, onions, celery and carrots
Fresh ingredients like vegetables are the first to risk going to waste. Here are two quick and easy solutions.
Are potatoes, carrots and onion left? Nothing better than to make a vegetable broth.
There is also a solution for ingredients such as fennel, aubergines, courgettes and peppers. Cut the vegetables into small pieces or strips, spread everything on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, sprinkle with a mix of breadcrumbs (what you did with the stale bread before), a drizzle of olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper and put in the oven for no more than 10 minutes with the grill on. An easy and tasty midweek dinner.
Chicory, eggs, Parmesan
There is plenty you can do with eggs which are nearing the end of their life. Do you have any leftover vegetables from the day before? Please don't throw them away! Put them in a pan with a little oil and break two eggs on top. It doesn't matter if you beat them or leave them whole: they revitalise the vegetables and give you an extra hit of protein.
In Italy, we also use eggs to make pasta omelettes, with pasta leftover from the previous day. Honestly, though, this is a problematic recipe if you want to do it without committing crimes against Italian grandmothers, so let's postpone it for another time...
If the lemons in the fridge are becoming dry, do not throw them away: use them as a detergent for kitchen surfaces, or put them in the dishwasher to freshen it up.
The first rule and best way to fight food waste is to stop doing it! Sometimes a little imagination is enough.