When we know that 10 million tonnes of food production are wasted each year in France, we can only be dizzy. These losses, on a household scale, would represent no less than €20 of wasted food shopping per week. What if we saved these euros and preserved the planet?
Food waste, one of the causes of global warming
Buying more than you need has become a very common phenomenon for many of us. Shopping is a sign of “filling your refrigerator” but “filling” should not rhyme with “overconsumption”. When shopping, we are tempted to buy everything we want. The shelves are full of good things that we would see on one of our weekly plates. However, we often buy too much. Our food gets lost, spoiled or we simply don’t want it anymore.
Wasting food means wasting the labor, resources and transport that allowed it to reach the supermarket shelves. Clearly, wasting means increasing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore contributing to climate change.
5 to 10% of our shopping load is lost. The first foods concerned: fruits and vegetables which are slow to be consumed. As a result, vegetables wilt and end up in the trash. A gesture that could have been avoided, when we know that “lost” vegetables can be recovered.
Reuse, a satisfaction
A few leftover pasta on the plate, a piece of stale bread, a lemon dried out over time. First instinct: trash. After all, why keep these foods already used and without much flavor? Well simply because they can be preserved and reused.
Here are some everyday tips to integrate into your consumption habits to fully exploit the potential of your kitchen.
Recycle your food, withered or stale
Any stale or wilted product is good to take again. We give new life to our stale bread by cooking it into French toast, croutons or breadcrumbs. A banana with brown spots that has become “too” ripe is even richer in taste. It can be made into a smoothie or a Banana Bread.
A wilted vegetable, a softened salad, a little moss on your tomatoes… the deterioration of these foods would push you to throw them away and yet, they are completely recoverable. As a child’s play, place any damaged or softened vegetable in a bowl of cool water, this will restore their crunch, vigor and color. Otherwise, a slightly softened tomato will be delicious to mix into gazpacho.
We guarantee it, in cooking, nothing is lost, everything is created.
Plan your menus in advance
To avoid buying in too large quantities, we plan the menu for the week. Taking this time will be a great way to only buy what you need and be sure that no food will go to waste once purchased.
At the market, no longer leave damaged fruits and vegetables aside
On market stalls, the first criterion for selecting a fruit or vegetable is its appearance. Let’s stop relying on that, let’s look further. An irregularly shaped fruit or vegetable is completely normal, nothing could be more authentic. If they are on the shelves, they are edible, so don’t hesitate to add them to your shopping cart. Their taste will be identical to a more “beautiful” fruit or vegetable, or even better! The more mature a food is, the tastier it is. So get them on board. This way, you will protect them from ending up in the dumpster.
Don’t stop at the expiration date
Yes, when we throw away this yogurt that has expired for a day, we contribute to food waste. Not only do some foods never expire, but the expiration date of others is not inevitable.
If the minimum consumption durability date, “DDM”, has passed, please note that this is only an indicative date. A product that indicates a MDD provides information on the start date of the potential change in its appearance or texture, while remaining safe for consumption. You can therefore allow yourself a little relaxation on the expiry dates, without overdoing it of course. Enough to prevent our yogurts from going into the trash, for example.
However, it is the “use by date” which indicates that it can no longer be consumed (DLC). The latter generally concerns dairy products and eggs, products whose degradation is however not negligible, since it can cause food poisoning if they are consumed too late.
In short, anything that indicates “best before” indicates a DDM, information that is less decisive than the shelf life.
Rethink the way you store your food
The best way to end up having to throw away a product is to forget about it. It’s not uncommon that when you dig around for inspiration, you find that old tin can in the back of your cupboard. It turns out that it has expired for far too long to still be consumed and we are forced to throw it away.
To avoid this kind of situation, place the oldest products in your stock at the top of the refrigerator and cupboard shelves. As for fresher products that can wait a little longer, we store them further back. For products that have already been opened, go for airtight boxes and packaging. An unstoppable solution for preserving your half-empty carton of soup or packet of fresh gnocchi to maintain their freshness, far from the smells of the refrigerator.
Take back your leftovers
Leftover pasta, roast chicken or even just half a lemon can be kept. While lemon can be reused even in cleaning your kitchen, onion peels can be used to prepare herbal tea and leftover meals can be kept for another 24 hours. By placing it in an airtight container and refrigerating, you will keep it for your next lunch on the go. In addition to avoiding unnecessary waste, you will save time and money.
Reuse your canning and cooking water
Food waste is not just limited to food but extends to water. Whether it is pickle water or cooking water, all are loaded with components from the foods they have soaked. From there, consider them reusable. While chickpea cooking water allows you to prepare aquafaba, pasta cooking water is loaded with starch and becomes ideal for seasoning. We therefore transform our water as much as possible, so as not to miss any loss.
Compost your food waste
Any food waste represents an excellent source of fertilizer. So, at the end of your next meal, once you have put aside your reusable leftovers, keep some vegetable peelings or pieces and compost them. A great way to reduce CO2 emissions and limit unnecessary losses.
At a collection center for the most deprived or to your neighbor who may need it, give food products that you know you will not have time to consume.