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Gotta love the Irish

December 1, 2010

Warmer weather down South means food prices are dropping and people are stocking up for their Christmas dinner (yay!) but this means food waste can tend to happen a little more as well. As I was doing my morning blog reading I stumbled across Donal’s mention of Ireland’s Stop Food Waste initiative, which offers practical tips to minimise food waste, recipes, and some stats to get you thinking. Wish our government would prioritise minimising waste above recycling – it makes so much more sense energy wise! With vegetable gardens increasingly popping up around the city, there is no excuse for wasting food or garden stuff.

I found myself nodding to almost all the tips, although personally I don’t shop with a strict shopping list. Usually I have several essentials that are written down, but otherwise I look for what is discounted but still fresh that week. I do this knowing full well that any rigid food plan can go haywire when my schedule gets thrown off or I just don’t feel like the options planned a few days ago. Sometimes I’ll use whatever is discounted as a foundation, and then get some other items that I know will work well with that food. Keeping a relatively updated list of foods in my kitchen also helps me remember that jar of olives or packet of cheese that got shimmied to the back of the fridge. It is wonderful for spurr of the moment meal ideas as you mix and match ingredients you already have on hand. Just keep it in pencil or on a little whiteboard that you can constantly update easily. Not for everyone, but worth a try!

One thing that I know seems to polarise people is whether or not to peel certain vegetables. Generally I don’t because the skins are where the flavour and nutrients are most dense, but if you insist on peeling your veges, throw them in a bag with your chicken carcasses in the freezer for when you make stock, rather than purchasing veges specially for it. You don’t have to eat the peel, but the flavour and nutrients are saved a little. You can do this with potato peel, carrot peel, the ends of celery and celery leaves (especially if buying from the supermarket where most of the leaves are lopped off anyway).

Any other ideas about how you minimise food waste, or is it something you’re working on?

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