Updated: Apr 27, 2022
April is Earth Month and as a chef, and a food waste reduction advocate, I wanted to keep the conversation of food waste reduction going. Now more than ever it's extremely important!
Did you know that 30% of the food that's made each day gets thrown away due to overproduction, mishandling(time and temperature abuse), and simply poor planning?
There are many ways to mindfully start reducing waste in your kitchen. Today, we're going to focus on honing your basic skills including proper knife usage, proper food rotation, and proper meal planning.
I know, this sounds simple and you know all this, right? Most people know how to do these things however, the average household waste costs $1,866 per household, per year! I don't know about you, but I could do a lot with an extra 2 thousand dollars.
So here are the basics:
•Keep your knives sharp! By keeping your tools in great working order you'll be able to trim just the parts away that you don't intend to consume.
•Don't use Pre-Cut Vegetables- Understand that when you use pre-cut vegetables, there is waste in the production stream. You may not have made it, but part of reducing food waste is systemic.
•Know your cuts: You don't have to be a professional chef to wield a knife like a pro. When you work on the consistency of your dice, slice, and julienne, you will yield more from a single item.
•Seasonality is always a factor with produce. Seasonality will affect freshness, availability, and price.
•FIFO- This basic commercial kitchen hack can literally save hundreds and hundreds of dollars. FIFO stands for first in, first out. This usually pertains to items you are purchasing over and over. Bread, milk, (almond, oat, and even goat; pick your poison)
Make sure that you're completely removing the older product, place the new product, and then place the old directly in front of the new. That way you can't accidentally use the new while the old spoils. (Told you this stuff was simple, ha!) Simple, but powerful.
•Plan your work: work your plan - Whether shopping, meal planning, or even snacking; having a plan for what you buy and where, and when you'll use it is so key! There are even great meal planning apps, and sites you can use to help. The bottom line is if we purchase it, it should be part of a recipe or specific need.
So that's it for this time- I hope that you were able to get something out of this post, and even potentially learn something. I'd love to hear from you if you have any of your own PROPER tips for reducing food waste!