12 Zero Waste Cooking Tips + 3 Great Recipes

#zerowaste #consciouscooking



Methane is rising


Mountains of food, including eggs, milk and onions are going to waste as the restaurants are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also limits transportation, restricts what staff can do, and disrupts production lines.


It is not only a horrific loss of food at a time when millions are literally starving, it is also a threat to the atmosphere and may lead to global warming. Landfill gas-roughly half of methane and half of carbon dioxide ( CO2)-is a natural by-product of organic material decomposition.



Credit : EPA



According to stories in The New York Times fresh milk and eggs were dumped and some ripe crops reploughed back into the fields.

Although consumer demand for some retail products has increased as a consequence of lockdowns, steep declines elsewhere, such as in restaurants and school and office cantines, are unlikely to be reversed.

So in this post, we’re going to provide some tips on how you can reduce food waste at home and some great recipes by Honest Food.


Benefits of a zero waste kitchen

  • Reduce methane emissions and lower your carbon footprint

  • Conserve resources by lowering pollution needed for the production of the foods

  • Support your community by giving away untouched food

  • Save money



What you can do

Through managing food responsibly and reducing waste, we can help businesses and consumers save cash, link those who don't have enough to eat in our societies and save resources for the future.


1。Planning


You can save money and energy, and consume nutritious food by simply making a list of weekly meals in sight. When you buy no more than you intend to use, you'll have a better chance of keeping it fresh and using it all. Plan your meals for the week and buy really just items needed for those meals!

  • Keep a running list of meals and their recipes that you already love in your kitchen. That way, you can pick, buy and make meals easily.

  • Create your grocery list based on how many homemade meals you would eat. Do you want to eat out this week? How frequently?

2。Buy Local


Buying locally reduces the number of phases some fresh foods go through. Plus local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food.


3。Check the ‘best before’ dates


Another option is to purchase only what your family can consume in a reasonable time or by the food's expiration date.

Often labels may have a 'best before'; this shows the date a product will lose its freshness, nutrient benefits, or taste afterwards. Most of you can see other words such as:


  • ‘prepared on’

  • ‘use by’

  • ‘freeze by’

Be aware that many foods don’t have a real date.


4。Cook every part

Zero waste cooking starts with the apparent : eat every part of the ingredient you’re cooking with. This is nose-to-tail, root-to-stem cooking. Cookbooks like the https://www.jamesbeard.org/wastenot “Waste Not” by James Beard Foundation have a lot of inspiring ideas on how to do it.


5。What about non-edible parts?

Just because items like banana peels, egg shells and citrus seeds aren’t usually included in the foods you eat doesn’t mean they can’t be part of your zero waste cooking! Here’s are some examples on how to use them :

  • rub banana peels on bug bites to take the itch away

  • egg shells are nutrient-dense soil fertilizers

  • make pectin using citrus seeds

  • turn an avocado pit into a avocado tree!


6。Smart bulk-buying


A good deal is just a good deal if you end up buying what you are purchasing. There are other periods of the year, of course, that you want to take full advantage of an array of items (heyyyy fruits and vegetables), so have a plan to ensure that you can enjoy your harvest without unnecessary waste.

7。Repurpose leftovers


When we're really talking about repurposing, I think the move is more towards looking for the leftovers to take new forms than just reheating-which you 're probably already doing. When you are picking up a rotisserie chicken, cooking half of it for dinner and making the rest into lunch chicken salad, that's repurposing. Find fun and innovative ways to bring your leftovers back to use!


8。Infuse

Will you find stalks of mushrooms too woody to eat? Or do you prefer apples to be eaten without the peels? Use such parts, instead, for infusions. Corn silk can be dried out and used as a tea. Any ingredient with aroma flavour — herb, fruit , vegetable — can be used to make infusions, tinctures, or extracts for secondary use. This involves products such as tops of strawberry and lime, that are frequently thrown away.


9。Zest

Citrus zest that has been dropped in a glass of water or drink may have a second chance at life: rinse off the zest and use it again for infusion into vinegars, for a household cleaner, or olive oil, perfect for marinades.

10。Love your freezer

There's a reason why a popular food waste tip is to make the freezer your best buddy: freezing food in its tracks will slow down the ripening/decaying process. You can freeze fruits and vegetables for future use; store frozen food for later use; or use the freezing process to "warm" it for now.

11。Use a dehydrator


Another perfect way to have long-lasting shelf life for your food: dehydrate. Will you own too many red peppers? Dry them out to powder your own chile. Too many apples picked? Crisp them into chips and slice thin.

Have you got no dehydrator? In an oven set to the lowest temperature, you can dry out several ingredients.

12。Compost


When all else fails, compost! When you can't use food, or it spoils, dump it in the compost instead of the trash, when possible. Most major cities have composting at the curbside, but you can easily get a compost bin for your garden, patio or even under your kitchen counter. Thus your unused food can grow into new ingredients.




To finish off this article, let’s introduce Honest Food to you! Check them out!


3 Recipes by Honest Food

“Honest Foods Blog is a food blog all about food sustainability. It has articles on food waste, food reviews and really good recipes. Our all-time favourite recipes would be our 'recyclable' garlic fried rice recipe, Spicy Tofu and Asparagus and our chef Dimitri's twist on the recipe for Pho Ga”


👇 And here are these recipes! Delicious and nutritious!



1) Garlic Fried Rice Part 2 (click here for part 1)


Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Overnight cold rice, 250 g

  • Garlic, 5 tbs, finely chopped

  • Olive oil, 1 tbs

  • Butter, 2 tbs + 1 tbs to finish

  • Soy sauce, 1 tbs

  • Mirin, 1 tbs

  • Sake, 1/2 tbs

  • White pepper as needed

  • Chives, 2 tbs, finely chopped

  • Parsley, 2 tbs, finely chopped



Fish

  • Salmon fillet 2 portions                             

  • Teriyaki glaze 3-4tbs, see Chicken Ramen Recipe

Spicy Cabbage


Instructions:

  1. In a piping-hot frying pan or wok, add in your olive oil and butter. Give everything a quick stir.

  2. The moment you see your butter start to bubble, throw in your garlic and stir-fry quickly for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until the garlic cloves start to, but do not turn completely, brown.

  3. Add in your cold rice and break it apart in the pan. Give everything a good mix and stir-fry for another 1 – 2 minutes.

  4. Add in your soy, sake and mirin to season the rice. Give everything a good mix again and continue to stir fry for a final 1 – 2 minutes.

  5. Check your rice for seasoning. You may need to add a bit of salt or more soy. Add the white pepper to taste and then turn off the heat and take the pan off.

  6. Throw in your chives and parsley and your last tablespoon of butter and give everything a good mix. Serve immediately with Spicy Cabbage and Teriyaki Salmon on the side.



Teriyaki Salmon


  1. Have season your salmon with salt and pepper and place it into a hot non-stick pan that’s been heated to a medium-low heat. You should here nothing more than a gentle sizzle. You’re not frying a steak.

  2. After about 1 minute. flip your salmon.

  3. After another 1 minute, flip your salmon again.

  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you notice your salmon is about 1/3 of the way cooked. You will be able to tell this by looking at the middle of the salmon fillet. If the edges have changed colour and it looks like that change has nearly reached the first 1/4 of the salmon, you’re there.

  5. Start then by increasing the heat to medium and glaze the top side of your salmon.

  6. After about 30 seconds flip the salmon and glaze the other side.

  7. Continue doing this for as many times as you can until the salmon is to your liking. You can use the “Pairing knife trick” below to test when it’s done. The entire process should take about 7 – 12 minutes depending on your stove top and the size of your fillets.






2) Spicy Tofu and Asparagus

Serves: 4 as a side dish; or 2 as a main Ingredients:

  • Egg tofu 2 rolls Cut into 1.5 – 2cm pieces

  • Asparagus 200 grams Chopped into 3-4cm pieces lengthways 

  • Chilli bean paste 1.5 tbs

  • Oyster sauce 1.5 tbs

  • Spring onion stalks 1 tbs Finely chopped

  • Spring onion tops 1 tbs Finely chopped 

  • Garlic 1 tbs Finely chopped 

  • Ginger 1 tsp Finely chopped

  • Any vegetable

  • Any topping – crispy onions – garlic – I chose anchovies, I went with these two – texture – filling – 


Instructions:

  1. In wok or frying pan heated to medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil.

  2. Swirl the pan to make sure the oil evenly coats the bottom. 

  3. When that’s done, add in your tofu pieces and fry them off for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. You may have to do this in batches if your pan is too small. 

  4. When all your tofu are done, set them aside. 

  5. In the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and bring it to a medium-high to high heat.

  6. Toss in your spring onion stalks, garlic and ginger and stir fry quickly until you begin to smell the aroma of all three ingredients. That’s all you want, you don’t want to brown, or even worse, burn them.

  7. At this point, toss in your asparagus and continue to stir fry really quickly for about a minute or two. 

  8. Next, add in your chilli bean paste and oyster sauce and give everything a good stir. You can add a dash of water or so to thin everything out if you think your mix is too thick.

  9. Continue to stir fry everything for another minute, then turn off the heat and wait for about 1 minute before tossing in your spring onion tops and then give everything a good mix.

  10. Serve whilst still hot. 





3) Dimitri’s Twist on Pho Ga

Ingredients:

  • Chicken legs 4 pieces 

  • Water 1.5 – 2 ltr 

  • Star anise 3 pieces

  • Cloves 2-3 pieces

  • Coriander seeds 1 tsp 

  • Yellow onions 150 g

  • Spring onions stalks 150 g

  • Spring onion tips 15 g

  • Ginger 25 g

  • Coriander stems 15 g

  • Rock sugar 5 g

  • Fish sauce 5 ml

  • Flat rice noodles 300 g Soaked in cold water until soft (but not smooshy!)

  • Salt Lots!

  • Vietnamese mint 15 g

  • Coriander leaves 15 g

  • Garlic 1 bulb Finely minced  

  • Neutral oil 150 ml

  • Chilli flakes 1 tbs


Instructions:


  1. Over your sink or in a bowl, pour enough salt to cover the chicken thighs and gently massage the legs for about 1-2 minutes, rubbing every nook and cranny with the salt. Yes. Exfoliate those legs. This helps to remove some of the impurities and gives for a better skin texture after poaching. Rinse the salt off and set aside when you’re done.

  2. Toast your dry spices in a pan until fragrant and set aside.

  3. Using the open flames of your stove top, char the yellow onions, spring onion stalks and ginger until they are all nice and dark on the outside. You’ll know when it’s almost done when you see a little bit of liquid oozing out of each of them. If you don’t have an open-flame stove top you can just broil them in the oven or use a blow torch. 

  4. Scrape off the dark charred parts of the vegetables and set them aside. Don’t fuss too much if you can’t get everything off perfectly, a little won’t hurt of discolour your broth.

  5. In a large pot, add the chicken legs, the cleaned vegetables, the toasted spices and the coriander stems, along with 1.5 – 2 litres of water (or until the legs are just covered) and one tablespoon of salt (You can adjust the seasoning as you go).

  6. On the lowest heat possible, bring everything to a very small simmer. Once you see one or two bubbles gently popping up on the side, cover the with a lid and try your best to maintain that small simmer for as long as you can. Do not bring this broth to a boil nor bring it anywhere near a boil. This will take about 1.5 – 2.5 hours in total.

  7. Whilst your chicken is poaching (gently!), make a quick garlic and chilli oil. In a cold pan, place the minced garlic in the oil and turn on the heat on high. When the garlic starts to sizzle, turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for about 7 – 10 minutes until the garlic turns golden brown. Strain the garlic and set aside.

  8. Turn the heat of the (now) garlic oil back to high again. When it begins to simmer, take it off the heat and wait for about 1 minute. After that, pour your chilli flakes into the oil and stir. Set aside your garlic-chilli oil until ready to use. 

  9. Check your chicken at the 1.5 hour mark. Take out one leg and check to see if it is fully cooked by poking a whole where the drumstick and thigh joint meet. If the juices run clear, you’re in the green zone! If not simmer (gently!) for another 15 – 30 minutes and check again.

  10. After making sure that your chicken is fully cooked, turn off the heat and leave them in the pot, covered, for about 15 – 30 minutes.

  11. Take the chicken out and debone them carefully. When you’re done with that, slice them lengthwise into about 1cm thick pieces.

  12. Before serving, add in the rock sugar and fish sauce into the soup and check the seasoning. You may add more or less depending on your taste. 

  13. When you are ready to serve, boil the soaked rice noodles for about 1 – 2 minutes or per the packet instructions. Place them into a bowl, put your cut chicken pieces on top, the herbs, and then pour over the hot soup. Pour garlic-chilli oil on top and crispy garlic pieces.


The QUICK VERSION:

As much as I hate this I know some people don’t always have that much time on their hands, and I totally understand that. So this is a quick version you can do without totally screwing up the chicken or broth.

  • Follow Steps 1 – 5 above.

  • Going back to Step 6, bring the pan to a boil on a high heat and let it boil for about 1-2 minutes. When that’s happening scrape off any impurities you may see floating to the surface. 

  • After that turn the heat to low and let it simmer (not your super slow one bubble simmer) for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken rest in the broth for another 20 – 30 minutes. 

  • Now continue on from Step 7 above and enjoy!





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