Happy Friday! The following is a post by my friend, Mallorie George. Mallorie is an avid camper, a fellow frugal gal and has one of the most gorgeous families I’ve ever seen! Today Mallorie is here to talk about how to save your hard earned pennies and combat waste at the same time. Take it away, Mallorie!
Let’s face it. We live in a society of overabundance, too large portions, and a sad acceptance of food waste. We’re all guilty of trashing food, and though we wince every time, it continues to happen. It’s a glum reality that humans have been trying to fight since the first caveman made a batch of woolly mammoth jerky. So we remind ourselves to cook smaller portions and buy only what we need. But those steps only fight the most obvious causes of food waste. Read on for five ways you’re still throwing good food in the trash.
1. Apples: They’re wrinkled, they’re mealy, they have spots- and yet they still hold immense and delicious potential. Instead of tossing them in the compost this time, why not whip up one of the following: Apple cake, apple sauce, pork chops with apples, caramel apple ice cream topping, apple muffins…the list goes on. Your old apples still taste amazing after they’ve been cooked, so get creative! At the very least, slice them up and freeze with some lemon and cinnamon sugar for baking later.
2. Bananas: Same concept. They’re starting to scare your toddler and an army of fruit flies is en route as you stare at them rotting on the counter. So use those puppies! Banana bread, banana cake, banana muffins, banana smoothie, banana ice cream. Brown is beautiful, folks. Again, if you’re not ready to use them now- slice them up and freeze them for later.
3. Stale bread: No one in your family eats the heels? Your teenager still doesn’t fully comprehend the concept of a twist-tie? Not all is lost. Cube those leftovers and throw in the oven with some olive oil and herbs for homemade croutons. Feeling lazy? Throw your stale bread pieces in the food processor and voila! Breadcrumbs for the next time you make meatballs or oven baked chicken strips- get wild and add some spices for a kick. An airtight container will keep breadcrumbs safe in the freezer as well.
4. Citrus: Oranges, limes, lemons.. invariably there are two or three sad looking fellas left in the fruit bowl. Be proactive and squeeze them before they turn- freeze this juice for the next time you need a few tablespoons and there’s not a lemon in sight. Or if the juice is dried up, fill a small pot with 2 cups of water, slices of citrus, and a few cinnamon sticks or cloves. Let this simmer on the back burner of your stove and your house will smell one of grandma’s hugs. Don’t forget to keep an eye on it, and top off the water if needed.
5. This final tip covers more than one food item, but they all serve the same purpose. Broth. This kitchen staple is one I cannot live without. It is also hugely overpriced in most grocery stores. Not to mention the preservatives and excess sodium some companies dump into their products. If you get nothing else from this article, hear this: make your own broth. It can be made from 90% ingredients that you were going to throw away anyways! Here’s how to do it. You roasted a chicken and shredded the meat for chicken salad. Save those bones! Toss the roasted bones and drippings from the bottom of the pan right into a freezer bag if you don’t have time to wait for broth right now. But if you’re going to be home all day, throw them in the stock pot with those two withered carrots and that limp celery that’s been hanging around in the crisper. Throw in a few bay leaves, onion, and garlic; salt to taste and leave it on to simmer as long as you can. And here’s a tip within a tip: every time you peel an onion- don’t trash the skins! I keep a baggie in my freezer dedicated to onion skins. Just keep adding, and when you make broth, grab an extra handful out of the freezer. Not only does this really bring out the onion flavor, but the skins create that perfect golden color in your broth. If you prefer, leave out the chicken bones and just make veggie broth, or use your beef bones or fish instead. The possibilities are endless, and what you used to pay $3 or more for a quart now only costs pennies, is healthy and homemade, and it’s waiting patiently in your freezer to impress your dinner guests. And when they want to know the secret to your chicken and noodles? Just tell them you found the recipe in File 13.