No one buys food with the intention of wasting it but a lot of kitchen waste can occur if you don’t take steps to negate it. We have already designed our Bosch mixers to be incredibly efficient, so we would like to give you 10 other ways you can increase your kitchen efficiency and reduce your waste!
1. Plan Your Meals
To cut down on forgotten food spoiling in the refrigerator and to lower your stress levels, we recommend you plan your meals at least a week at a time. Meal planning will help you avoid scrambling in the kitchen right before mealtimes and help you stay on top of what you should buy when at the grocery store.
2. Bring Your Own Bags To The Grocery Store
You can dramatically reduce your waste by reusing your grocery bags.
3. Examine Food Closely Before Buying
Ever bought some produce only to find it rotting a few days after you brought it home from the store? Part of what can help prevent food spoiling too early is carefully examining its condition before you buy it. Some things you should check are:
- Expiration dates
- Wilting, insect marks, and dark spots on your produce
- Punctures on packaged foods
- Overall color (does it look the way it should?)
4. Choose High-Utility Foods
Many experimental home chefs tend to buy ingredients for one meal then waste whatever was not used for the singular meal. Meal planning can help eliminate this problem but another way to solve it is to rely on high-utility foods. Some foods which go well with many meals are:
- Greek yogurt – Can be sweet or savory depending on the food pairings. It can be an excellent replacement for sour cream and oil in recipes.
- Chicken and Pork Loin – Both these meats are light, lean and inexpensive. Most meat-based dishes can be made with chicken or pork (you might decide to use whichever is cheapest at the grocery store) instead of other meats.
- Rice – A grain staple, rice does not need to be restricted to sushi night or enchiladas. Rice is a great additive to soups, stir-frys, curry, and other dishes where you may feel the need to add a dinner roll or something more satiating.
5. Saving Energy In the Kitchen
To cut down on energy waste in the kitchen, you could use an induction cooktop and non-aluminum cookware. You will lose very little energy to heat waste and be able to cook your foods more quickly. More ways to save energy:
- Keep freezers in temperature controlled environments and NOT the garage. They have to work extra hard during the summer to stay cool which will dramatically increase your energy bills each month.
- Cook as many parts of your meal in the same place at once. If you’re heating up the oven for chicken, find a veggie side that can back in the oven at the same time to avoid energy expenditure from the microwave or stove top. One-pot meals are great energy savers.
- Cook meals in bulk. If you’re okay with eating the same thing a few times a week, you can cook larger dishes one day of the week to save energy use during the following days of the week.
6. Recycle Menu Items
Take inventory of leftovers in the fridge and get creative. Many leftover items can be turned into some sort of pasta salad or hearty soup.
7. Move Away From Disposables
Plastic utensils and paper plates represent kitchen wastes in a couple ways. First, it is a waste of your money as you will need to constantly replace disposable utensils and plates. Using kitchen disposables also create more landfill waste in general. Even if you choose biodegradable paper plates and utensils, you will still be spending a lot of money just so you can later throw away your purchase. This can also clearly apply to things like bottled water and other pre-packaged food items. Also, consider washing and saving plastic containers (sour cream and cottage cheese containers for example) to be used later!
8. To Peel Or Not To Peel
If you buy organic, you don’t necessarily need to peel your fruits and vegetables. This can help reduce the amount of food you end up throwing away. We don’t recommend this if you are buying non-organic food as this kind of produce generally has had pesticides in contact with it, which is not the case with organic produce.
9. Feed It To The Dog
Obviously there are food items our pets shouldn’t consume. Be sure to read this resource for a list of specific items you can and cannot feed your dog. But if you have a handful of veggies that need to be used, or soon tossed, chop them up and feed them to your pets.
10. Soak Your Grains And Beans
To waste less energy cooking your food and to enrich flavors, you should soak your grains and dried beans. The soaking can cut your cooking time down, sometimes by half, and can cut down how much water you need to cook your food in. Some foods you should try soaking are:
11. Skip Plastics
Plastics are everywhere in the kitchen. They can leech the flavor from your foods as well as break down over time. Plastic containers are the most ubiquitous, but there are other areas you can easily cut out the use of plastic. Some things you can swap out in the kitchen are:
- Plastic cooking utensils for wooden utensils
- Plastic storage containers exchanged for a mix of glass and metal
- Swap sandwich bags and use parchment paper or waxed paper bags
- Store-provided plastic bags swapped for reusable grocery bags
12. Use Your Food Scraps For New Meals
There are plenty of times we peel, chop, or grate our food then toss the “scraps”. But there are many times where the food scraps we throw away can be utilized in an entirely new meal! A few of our favorite things to reuse are:
- Meat bones – Not only can you reclaim the scraps of meat which cling to the bones of your meat, but you can enrich soups and stews by cooking bones.
- Citrus peel – You could probably eat the rind of most citrus fruits, but we can think of a few better things to do. Such as grate the peel to add some zest to vinaigrettes, pasta sauces, and various Asian dishes.
- Veggie odds-and-ends – We lop off the ends of carrots, broccoli, onions, and more. But instead of dropping these ends in the trash, you can use a food processor to make vegetable sauce bases or boil into soup stock.
13. Compost Everything You Can
If you can’t possibly find a way to use the food scraps you have left, then you should send these scraps to the compost heap. It is an excellent way to make sure every last bit of your food is utilized and can help you grow new food for your kitchen in the future.
If you aren’t much of a gardener, a coop full of chickens will devour just about anything you toss in there. They’ll eat your scraps of meat, vegetable peels, and stale bread.
We hope you have been inspired and found a few new ways to reduce your kitchen’s waste. If you have any tips or tricks we didn’t cover, feel free to share them and comment below!