Love your food and reduce the waste
The Low-down on food during isolation
How to save money, time and waste during isolation and onwards.
With limited access to food and essentials and the restrictions for travelling to the supermarket, it is best if one person from each household goes to the grocery store and gets everything you need. Stock-up on all the things you need for a week or at least a few days so you wont need to return daily.
If you have some recipe books at home, have a flick through and bookmark your favourites.
Baking bread and cooking slow cooker meals are great ways to fill your space with delicious homey smells.
Some great examples are:
- Super tasty meals: Moroccan Lamb Shanks
- Easy meals: Spaghetti Bolognese & Honey Mustard Chicken
- Low Budget: Mexican Beef Burrito Bowl
If in in doubt, put it on a home made pizza! Especially if you’re missing your Friday take out. Using leftovers as pizza topping is epic. You could have left over tomatoes and tomato paste from the Bolognese, cheese from your Mexican beef bowl and lamb from Moroccan lamb shanks. Now you have a cheesy Moroccan lamb pizza! How about sushi rolls made from leftovers? Honey Mustard Chicken roll? Why not!
Save and freeze the leftovers for dinners or lunches down the track or transform the bits and pieces into other exciting things like toasties, pasties and pies.
Take stock – take notice
Keep things in sight! “Out of sight out of mind” if you have bagged lettuce or bread or anything that goes off quickly, keep it in plain sight otherwise it tends to fall off the radar. Have a plan to use something up before you buy it (i.e. if a bag of lettuce last for 3 days once opened – have a plan to use it for a salad on Monday night and tacos on Wednesday night or wraps/side salads).
You can ALWAYS use food instead of throwing it away
Ok, maybe not all food – I’ve seen some concerning recipes using banana skins BUT we can do our best with other classic stocked up food. Basically, if you’re now sitting on a few loaves of bread you can do a few things with it before it goes out to the kerb:
- French toast (great for stale bread)
- toasted sandwiches
- bread and butter pudding
- Soldiers for your eggs
- eggs benedict on toast
- Make breadcrumbs (Breadcrumbs can be used in recipes like crumbed schnitzel, meatballs or burger patties, lamb kofta, fish and chips etc).
Potatoes, rice, chicken, fruit and leftovers are all in the same boat.
If you’re making dinner for 2-4 people and you cook 6 cups of rice, you’re a silly billy.
Pasta can be used for leftovers, but you should never keep rice. Find out how much you need and cook that exactly. If you don’t like leftovers and like to cook fresh everyday – work on your portions.
You can always cook more – especially dessert! So, don’t get carried away with giant portions “just in case”. A crumble will use up old fruits, fill in the blanks, it’s a kiwi classic and uses basic pantry ingredients; not to mention a perfect way to end the night, on the couch with a blanket and a hot bowl of apple, berry or feijoa crumble.
The bottom line
Compost. Compost, compost, compost compost, and compost, but maybe compost.
Make your red-lidded bin go the extra mile or put off that trip to the transfer station for a little longer.
We are lucky in South Taranaki, that land is plenty, and we aren’t cooped up in tiny city apartments at this time. We have outdoor space and some of us even have gardens or farmland. Use it! Whether you just bury a little hole in the garden, start a compost in the back yard or throw it in the bush – it doesn’t matter, the organics come from the earth in the first place, the soil loves it, the worms love it, the beetles and ants love it (chickens also love it) – where can you go wrong?
*you can go wrong by throwing some smelly stuff in the back yard without burying it and it attracts some wild animals, ye know, like rats– but they might eat it, who knows.
The Council website has some good information on compost. Take a quick look, a glance, take note, it’s super easy and will stop your house smelling out, leave more space in your landfill bin so you can go longer without putting it out, and will make your garden look amazing once everything breaks down! If you have a lot of scraps, too much to bury in the garden, you need to revisit your meal planning and stock take.
Find out more
For Smart advice on how to store your food and how to make things last, visit either the Love Food Hate Waste section of the website or Kate Mead’s website on food planning, storage and waste. South Taranaki District Council will be running a Kate meads workshop in the coming future.