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How Not to Waste Food

By Karen Bowley, member of Wooragee Landcare and Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH)

After our Christmas and New Year festivities and feasting,  we will still probably have a lot of food left over.   According to Sustainability Victoria research, each household wastes about $2,000 worth of food, and in NSW, in Sydney alone, there is about $1,036 worth of wasted food per household and if it ends up in landfill, it produces methane which is a potent greenhouse gas.

To avoid throwing it out, there are many ways to use leftovers from our Christmas feast.  For example, you can make your leftover turkey or chicken into filo parcels with some vegetables and cheese, or use it as part of a salad.  And the all time favourite use of left over ham is pea and ham soup or if you prefer, pea and ham risotto or simply a fried ham and cheese sandwich with some local mustard to add a bit of a bite.  Leftover roast vegetables can used to make bubble and squeak or a frittata.  Be creative!

For the rest of the year, work out what you can do with soft fruit or brown bananas.  I freeze my bananas to use at a later time to bake a banana cake or you could whiz the frozen fruit  to make a delicious and creamy dessert.  You can add leftover green leaves to a smoothie or turn limp vegetables into a curry or casserole.

Also try to use all of everything.  For example, don’t peel your fresh food where possible, like with apples, pears or carrots as a lot of the nutrients are actually stored just under the skin. And  with beetroot you can use the leaves in a salad and the beet itself can be roasted or made into the delicious soup, borscht.  And for the really dedicated, you can even make carrot tops into a pesto by combining them with rocket, parsley or mint, some garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, seasonings and oil!

However, the best way to reduce food waste all year round, is to not buy so much.  When you shop only buy what you specifically need and don’t be taken in by the large trolleys, subtle smells, smooth music or the bright colours and lighting that are used by supermarkets to get you in the door and spending more than your originally intended.  Plan a weekly menu and only buy what you need for that.  Not wasting food not only makes for a better planet but a happier hip pocket.