Reducing Food Waste

There is, understandably, food waste in almost any kitchen whether it be peelings and cutoffs or unused extras. Wasted food means wasted money and in the case of expired leftovers, a potential mess with odors. Either way, wasted food is unfavorable.

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Vegetable and fruit peels and seeds are loaded with fiber and vitamins and minerals, so getting rid of them from our diet is counterproductive. There are many dishes that need one to peel the fruit or veggie to get a certain preferred texture but in some cases, you can prevent that. For instance, when making tomato sauce a quality immersion blender can liquefy skins and seeds, making a smooth and thick balanced sauce. When making jams and preserves where the fruit is to be peeled, think about using a blender to process the fruit into a smooth mixture and save those wholesome nutrition.

We have a steam-juicer for making wines, jellies, or syrup and use that leftover pulp to make fruit leather. Our dogs really enjoy blackberry and apple pulp leather and we use it for coaching in place of costly dog treats.

Juicing is another example where waste (in this case pulp) is produced. That leftover pulp is either compostable or can be feed to chickens; if you have these options definitely utilize them. Otherwise, the pulp can be dehydrated and blended into powder. Store in a sealed jar in the cupboard as you would for spices and herbs. The fruit powder can then be applied in smoothies or salad dressings.

Owning a compact food dehydrator is also handy for processing garden harvests. Actually, anyone with a kitchen could benefit from owning one as it is so easy to dehydrate any leftover cooked vegetables or fruits. A variety of veggie powders can be combined to make flavourful improvements to soups, stews, casseroles, and more. Dehydrated tomato or green pepper powders assist thicken enchilada and tomato sauces. Add to homemade pasta and tortilla wrappers or sprinkle a mix of vegetable and fruit powders on your dog's food for additional nutrition. In the past, we dehydrated leftovers, soups, and even refried beans for backpacking.

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Get creative; you will never know when these powdered foods can come in handy. We produced a batch of chicken lasagna recently, freezing several portions for later. Upon the first try of that recipe, we found it was quite watery. So when we took out the next iced meal of chicken lasagna, we decided that the solution was to put a layer of tomato powder in the bottom of the casserole dish before laying the still frozen lasagna on top of it - resulting in a thicker tomato sauce base after it had cooked.