Last Wednesday, Angie and I attended a free No Waste Cooking Class hosted by The Nashville Food Project. It was great to learn about TNFP’s mission and the work they are doing to alleviate hunger in the community. It was also nice to meet other people who share our interest in reducing food waste and being better stewards of our environment.
The menu for the class included:
- Veggie scrap fritters with avocado yogurt dip
- Carrot-top pesto
- Rice cooked in veggie scrap/Parmesan rind stock
- Salad with “squishy berry” vinaigrette
- Banana peanut butter ice cream (non-dairy)**
Everyone got to play a role in helping prepare the meal. I grated Parmesan and Angie patted out the veggie fritters. While we worked we chatted with our neighbors around the prep table, sharing tips and stories about composting, meal planning, plant-based eating, and even minimalism. I was particularly interested to learn that Nashville is part of hOurworld. Being only vaguely familiar with time-banking, this was really fascinating to me. (Time banks allow users to share talents and services with one another without the use of money.)
Along with the delicious meal that we all shared together, The Nashville Food Project provided a lot of useful information and tips on reducing food waste. I have summarized their handout for you below (in hopes that you find it as useful as we did).
Most common examples of avoidable food waste happening in our homes:
- “scraps” or the parts of food usually thrown away
- discarding expired or nearly expired foods
- discarding “ugly” foods (ie. cheese with a small spot of mold that could be cut off)
What we can do about it:
- Start cooking differently. Use the scraps and get creative!
- Make veggie stocks or veggie fritters out of scraps.
- Freeze scraps until you have enough to use in your recipe.
- Shop smarter. Only buy what you know you will use. Make a list before you leave home.
- Designate a “use first” section of your fridge to encourage yourself (and others) to use up the items that have been in there the longest.
- Compost what’s left.
- Donate food to your local food pantry (or organization like TNFP).
Why you should use scraps for cooking:
- Broccoli stems contain more calcium, iron, and vitamin C than the florets.
- Zucchini is 95% water, making the skin the most nutritious part of the vegetable. The skin contains more fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium than the flesh.
- Celery leaves are a great source of fiber, calcium, and vitamin E.
- Saving stock from cooked veggies (and meats) is a great way to retain some of the vitamins and minerals that were lost during the cooking process. Cooking rice in stock makes it more nutritionally dense and flavorful.
Other cool tips:
- Yogurt contains fewer calories and fat than traditional mayonnaise-based dipping sauces (plus yogurt has health benefits that mayonnaise doesn’t). Yogurt is high in calcium, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and contains probiotics. 1 TBSP of mayo = 94 calories, 10 grams of fat while 1 TBSP of yogurt = 18 calories, less than 1 gram of fat.
- Adding fresh herbs to recipes is a great way to boost flavor and increase the nutritional value of meals. Sorrell, parsley, and basil are high in fiber as well as immune-boosting antioxidants like vitamins A and C.
**In case you’re wondering, like we were, the dinnerware was all recyclable or compostable.**
**To make the non-dairy peanut butter banana ice cream, simply puree 1 banana with 1 TBSP peanut (or almond) butter and freeze**
Food Waste Update
- Wasted Food this week: 0 ounces
- Total Wasted Food in 2018: 50 ounces
- Rescued Food this week: 0 US pounds
- Total Food Rescued this year: 185.69 US pounds
Keep up with our food finds in real time by viewing our Food Find Gallery.