By Nikki Vergakes
The culture of consumption in the United States has transformed from “waste yes” to “waste not.” Many activists and informed consumers became outraged about several gleanings facts, like the average plastic bag has the lifespan of 12 minutes, from check out to trash, and upon discarding, these plastic bags disintegrate into poisonous chemicals that can infest our landfills and ocean for up to 1,000 years. With this rage, a culture of sustainability began.
Upon realizing the problem at hand due to these facts, consumers realized they craved quality over quantity. They wanted to know that the workers sewing their clothes were payed a livable wage. They were comforted by the fact that the farmer growing their corn could be their next door neighbor. Sustainability is arguable a bigger marketing draw than other factors consumers used to value. As lovers of healthy foods, this notion is familiar with you.
Plastic is not the only material that we waste, and that ultimately hurts our environment. We waste with our food, too. Although biodegradable, both the food that we eat and don’t eat can contribute to waste. Whether it’s unsaved leftovers, or food scraps, food thrown in the garbage that is not composted or reused takes up space in the landfill.
Composting is not easy. I’ve been at it for 6 months and still struggle to do it while living in an apartment complex in a city. If you can’t always compost, try to re-use your food scraps.
6 Ways to Cook with Food Scraps
Most foods can be reused, or upcycled - here are some easy and affordable ways to bring those food scraps back to life.
Leftover veggies? Pickle them!
Pickles are more than just pickled cucumbers. You usually see picked carrots, beets, cauliflower and more as a garnish or in a vegetable crudite.
Pickling is relatively easy, and just takes some boiled water and vinegar, salt and garlic.
How do you think your favorite restaurants arrive at their soup of the day? It’s usually their extra proteins, veggies and grains.
Just sauté your leftover ingredients with some onions and garlic, then simmer it with some broth for an easy soup!
Later it up in oil and spices and air fry or bake them! You instantly have some waste-saving snacks or soup-toppers.
Leftover / rotting bananas? Make banana bread. Leftover zucchini? Make zucchini bread. Leftover carrots? Make carrot cake / bread.
This one is pretty straightforward but is a good reminder.
5. Stir fry
This is another hack for leftover veggies and protein. Just like soup, sauté them with some onion and garlic, and add your favorite grain or cauliflower rice, with your sauce of choice. My sauce of choice is either fish sauce or sweet chili.
6. Protein Balls
Energy and protein balls are the best because you can throw in whatever you’d like or have leftover of and can call it anything you want! Have leftover shredded carrots and coconut? Throw it in the food processor with some almond flour and call it a carrot cake ball.
Next time you have leftover food that you can’t compost, you can get creative and sustainable!
HEY I MADE THIS!
I’m Nikki Vergakes, a blogger, podcaster and social media management freelancer. My content revolves around food freedom and intuitive eating. With two of my major interests being comedy and recipe developing, I call it food freedom with a comedic and tasty lens.