Article written by Sara Silva, founder of the No Footprint Nomads.

12 Practical Tips to Reduce Kitchen Waste + Recipe

1.6 billion tons of food products are thrown away worldwide (FAO, 2020). In Portugal, waste is around 1 million tons per year and 20% of the waste corresponds to food that is good for consumption (Público, 2020).

As a consumer, you have responsibility in these numbers since food waste also happens in your home.

It is possible to reduce waste by adopting small habits. What can you do?

1. Plan your meals

Create a calendar with the main meals and plan what you are going to eat. Make a list of the ingredients you already have to use for the week’s meals. Prioritizes foods that spoil quickly. Prepare a generous amount to freeze in portions for the rest of the week.

2. Create your favorite cookbook

Having recipes on hand helps with meal planning. Opt for simple, quick, healthy recipes that you and your family enjoy.

 3. Make a shopping list

This is a simple way to avoid waste and save money. Create the list based on the ingredients of the meal plan for the week. Don’t forget about other basic everyday products. Organizes items into categories and add products to the list according to needs.

I use the Notion app for my shopping list that you can print or save on your phone.

4. Eat something before you go shopping

Supermarkets use techniques to make us spend more. For example, the aroma and color of the fruits at the entrance serve to whet your appetite. Avoid going shopping hungry. Most likely, you buy things you don’t need.

5. Clean the refrigerator regularly

The frequency is up to you. When cleaning the fridge, you realize what needs to be consumed immediately and it allows you to organize the products in order to use the oldest one first.

6. Avoid buying food that you tend to spoil

After cleaning the fridge, you should have a good idea of ​​the foods that you spoil most often. Ask yourself why you didn’t consume them: were they hidden? You don’t like to eat them? Or can you store them more efficiently to last longer?

7. Make a broth with the peels and stalks of vegetables

We have a habit of peeling everything. Did you know that the peels and stems are the most nutritious parts of many plants (Storck et al., 2013)? Wash the peels and stalks well and store them in a bag or container in the freezer. When you have enough, make a rich vegetable broth to add to soups or sauces.

8. Eat unpeeled food

Another option is to consume the food with the peel. Wash well under running water and for hard-skinned fruits or vegetables, scrub well with a food brush (CDC, 2020). If you can, choose organic fruits and vegetables to avoid consuming pesticide residues in the peels.

 9. Buy “ugly" fruit and vegetables

Choose to buy fruit and vegetables with spots, blemishes, or strange shapes. You can become a member of the Fruta Feia project and receive a basket every week for less than € 5. This way, you support local farmers and help save products that, for purely aesthetic reasons, would go to waste.

10. Ignores “Consume preferably before”

“Best before" is not the same as the expiry date. It is an indication of the optimal quality assurance of the product up to that date. Often, the food is still perfectly good to be consumed after the date indicated on the packaging.

The Good After online store has a catalog of discounted products near the end of the “Best before” period.

11. Prep vegetables and fruits

If you have vegetables and fruits ready to eat or to add to recipes, you are less likely to let them spoil. Choose a day or two of the week to prep vegetables and fruits. Some ideas:

. Wash and cut some vegetables for salads or as a hummus dip;

. Cut apple into slices and store them in the refrigerator to eat with peanut butter;

. Blanch broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and carrots and freeze them. You can sautée them;

. Cook potatoes (keep the peels!);

. Cut onion, leek and carrot into small pieces and braise them when you need.

12. Make potato peel chips

This is a simple and delicious recipe that you can try to start reducing your kitchen waste. 

 

Potato Peel Chips Recipe

Ingredients:

Potatoes

Olive oil

salt

Powdered sweet pepper

Other spices to your liking

 

. Wash the potatoes well. You can use a brush reserved for food only. Peel the potatoes in thin strips.

. Place the peels on a clean cloth with the inside facing up and let the excess moisture dry.

. Transfer the peels to a bowl and season them with salt, powdered sweet pepper or other spices to your liking. Add a drizzle of olive oil and wrap the peels in the seasonings.

. Heat a frying pan and add the peels when it is hot. Fry them until they are slightly golden and crispy.

. Put it in a serving bowl and eat while they’re warm!

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