Food waste is a very large problem in every home. With an average of at least 3 meals a day in affluent homes, not limiting the number of snacks and fruits that get eaten everyday. In times of crisis like we are going through right now with Coronavirus (Covid 2020), we need to think of multiple ways we can reduce contamination, garbage disposal and minimum contact with external garbage which is getting dumped on the streets and roads.
With social distancing and the number of public servants, community worker staff and other workers who are also very susceptible to getting infected with any for of disease and even coronavirus, it is but very imperative for educated masses to step up and reflect on the amount of food we are consuming and the food we waste.
If you might think food waste does not affects you, think again. Tossing edible food is also your precious hard earned money which is gone to the drain. Food wasted is sent to landfills, where it rots and produces methane gas, which is the second most common greenhouse gas. In other words, throwing out your food contributes to climate change.
The types of food that gets wasted are when
- we overstock ingredients and vegetables and they get rotten because of lack of usage
- overcook and dispose the excess food into the garbage
- peels and skins of fruits and vegetables
So below are a few ways we can reduce our food waste and contribute to the environment in crisis times like this.
1. Shop efficiently by planning your weekly meals
Planning your weekly meals helps to you to shop efficiently and not overload our pantry and refrigerators with foods we are not going to be cooking. Pen down, what you plan to eat for breakfast lunch and dinner for 7 days of the week or for the next two weeks. Shop the dry groceries for 2 weeks and the perishables for just one week based on your menu plan. We really don't need to stock large kilograms of packets of food if we exactly know what we plan to cook for the coming weeks.
Do follow our weekly meal plan section, where we publish meal plans every week.
2. Store fruits and vegetables in correct way
Storing the leaves, vegetables and fruits in a right way will help preserve them for a longer time.
Wash all the vegetables and fruits to remove dirt and contamination from external environments and handling.
Do not wash the green leafy vegetables or herbs - wash them only as and when required.
Wrap the washed and dried vegetables in cloth and then put them in plastic bags or zip locks and close them tight, so that there is no air pockets. It helps the vegetables stay for a longer time.
Do the same for the leaves and herbs - put them in airtight steel containers after treating them by removing dead leaves and roots. It helps the leaves stay fresh for at least a week.
3. Learn to preserve cooked foods efficiently and save leftovers
If you have cooked for more than one day, then a good idea would be to reheat food in individual plates so that reheated food does not get wasted and stale. Store them in airtight container and refrigerate them.
Also, if there leftovers after cooking, refrigerate them and do not throw them into dustbin. You can have it for your next meal, pack into your office lunch box or even give it to the helper at your home or in the community.
Note: reheated food goes stale and loses its value, so its value a good idea to only reheat as much food you need to eat - so portion them and then heat only what is required.
4. Use the skins and peels of fruits & veggies
Most skins and peels of vegetables can be used and eaten too. This way we dramatically reduce the amount of food waste we dump.
When making a sabzi of potatoes, add the skin to it - weather its a baked dish, gravy or curry, stir fry or roast use the skin. They are extremely tasty and healthy too. It a great way to get creative in your cooking and by experimenting on ingredients, peels and more to reduce food waste and yet make our food tasty and wholesome.
And same goes for bitter gourd (karela), carrots, beetroot, radish, yellow pumpkin - use the skin of these vegetables and don't peel them. All you have to ensure is you wash the vegetables well before using then in food.
For peels from cucumber peel, orange peel, raw banana (kachha kela), ridge gourd (turia), bottle gourd (lauki)- the peels can be made into delicious chutneys. Do not throw them. Orange peel can be made into curries and rasam and tastes delicious.
Also don't discard the stems from the greens, use them either in dals, chutneys or even in making pestos - this way you will completely eliminate food wastage.
Here are a few recipes
- Orange Peel Kuzhambu Recipe - Orange Peel Tamarind Based Curry
- Karnataka Style Orange Peels Curry Recipe
- Karnataka Style Southekayi Seppe Chutney Recipe (Mangalore Cucumber Peel Chutney Recipe)
- Green Moong Dal Kootu with Raw Banana Peel Recipe
- Bitter Gourd Peel Puri Recipe
- Tangy & Spicy Ridge Gourd Peel Chutney Recipe
- Kanchkolar Khosa Bata | A Traditional Bengali Raw Banana Peel Chutney
- Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney Recipe
5. Stick to staples
If we don’t get veggies - use dal, sooji, rice, besan, homemade dosa batter and keep your meals simple.
Simple dish meals like-
- Dal , Sambar , Rasam served along with rice/ chawal
- Upma Recipes, Poha, Cheela, Adai, Dosa
- Mixed Rice (Pulao, Lemon rice, tamarind rice, beetroot rice, palak rice, tomato rice)
6. Archana's Kitchen App
Do download our app and get recipes at your fingertips. The app more than 10,000 of easy to cook recipes, from across cuisines, diets, meal plans, lunch boxes along with videos, healthy eating ideas, diabetic friendly recipes and much more.
You can use the "Search" bar and search based on "ingredient" "cuisine" "dish/recipe name" "diet" "festival" and more. It will help you discover many recipes and also give you ideas for everyday cooking. You can also "save recipes" for future use and refer back to them if you want to make them again.
Link To Download Google/ Android Play Store
Link To Download iOS / iPhone App Store