A New Year typically means new goals, new you,
blah blah blah.
Rather than charge ahead with a stringent set of personal requirements, it seems what we most need now is rest and healing: saving time, money, and resources for future use while things slowly start looking up in 2021.
If you've been following along on my social media you might know that I've been doing a low-waste, vegan, Whole30 re-set for January-- but gently, letting myself feel it out without too many expectations. It's just as much of a fun distraction as it is a 'goal.'
Throughout the process I've realized it's also saving money, and encouraging reinvestment into our local food systems by shopping in an even more produce-dense way, focused on sourcing without plastic and more local, too.
Instead of hard goals & pushing, I'm re-embracing hibernation--wanting the holidays and quiet time to last longer with cozy, healthy meals.
So, as a nod to savings & stretching things out, in this quiet humble January, I'm sharing these
8 Frugal Food Tips to Reduce & Reuse Food Waste
Check them out below and see if there are any new ones to add to your rotation!
Make Your Own Veggie Broth from Veggie Scraps, Onion & Garlic Skins.
Zero waste in TWO ways: saving scraps & avoiding broth containers, which aren't recyclable.
We save savory veggie scraps such as onion and garlic skins, carrot tops, celery or mushroom stems, veggies that went a little soft too fast, bell pepper cores & seeds, herb stems like parsley, thyme, rosemary, and other veggie 'butts' by freezing them.
But DON'T put potato skins in the mix, they'll give the broth a weird taste.
To Make the Broth
Once you've accumulated about a gallon-size freezer bag amount, add veggies to a large pot, fill with water, and bring to a good rolling boil.
Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour and taste. Boil longer if needed.
You can also add other herbs & spices like rosemary & thyme, bay leaves, or star anise. Flavor as desired.
If you won't use it all within a week, pour into extra large size (4 oz) ice cube trays to thaw and use later.
(none of the links to extern articles in this email are affiliated or sponsored)
Have you ever bought a fresh bunch of parsley and it went bad before you used it all? Quite typical for our household until we started growing some in the garden! But even then, we sometimes run out or it gets ravaged by caterpillars in the summertime and we need to pick up a bunch from the store.
To keep leftover parsley longer, make parsley cubes:
Cut off stems & put parsley in food processor
Add 2-3 tbsp of water at a time & blend until you have a nice paste
Transfer to mini ice cube tray & freeze. Then remove & keep frozen 'til use
Will work best in soups & other dishes where appearance doesn't matter
Frozen Tomato Paste Dollops
I really do wonder why tomato paste is sold in large cans when I have never in my life used all of it at once. Perhaps it's for true pasta lovers who make marinara and tomato sauces more than once every two months?
I've seen some tomato paste sold in tubes with an airtight top so you can squeeze out what you need, but is that just more plastic waste?
I present another simple solution:
Scoop out leftover tomato paste in 1-tablespoon-sized balls or use melon scoop
Space out on a nonstick surface & pop in the freezer
Once frozen, transfer to a more permanent freezer-burn safe container
Remove & thaw however many tablespoons you'll need when you make your next recipe
Keep the skin on your potatoes!
This one has always puzzled me. I really loathe peeling potatoes and end up scraping my fingers every time I've ever done it. It seems like extra work and waste to peel potatoes when in fact the skins are an added source of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, for not that many additional calories. A more filling meal too.
Now, I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, so if you have some other specific reasons for peeling, feel free to ignore me on this. My knowledge only extends to googling articles on the topic, like this one, and my personal experience in being too lazy to remove skins from my mashed or roasted potatoes- and finding them enjoyable & delicious just the same!
Make a Mini 'Root Cellar'
Help veggies last longer by replicating the olden days tradition of root cellars.
There's certainly a lot more to consider when storing vegetables of different types, depending on your climate / region of the country and your home set up.
We don't have a basement in Louisiana and it's rather humid all year round, with occasional dry & cold spells, so we use our rotating corner cabinet and keep them on the top shelf where it's dark but we can access & check on them frequently.
Check out this article for more info & tips on how to store root vegetables to last as long as possible
Got some bread that's going stale, or a kid who won't eat their crusts? Turn them into croutons! In my house bread will never go stale because I love all things gluten (a lil too much...) but if you do have leftovers, turn them into croutons to extend their life and add a little something extra to soup or salads.
There are lots of simple recipes out there, including this one with only four ingredients!
We drink A LOT of coffee at my house and I'm always looking for new things to do with the grounds. Most commonly I hear of folks using them as fertilizer in your garden or make an exfoliating body scrub!
Some recipes don't specify re-using grounds you already made your daily cup from, but I don't see why they can't be upcycled and not fresh! Lots of recipes out there to find.
Here's one from Oprah Magazine with tips to modify for your skin type.
Use Aquafaba in Vegan Baking or Fancy Drinks!
Aquafaba, the more sophisticated name for chickpea juice from the can, is used in vegan recipes as a substitute for egg-- this includes in fancy drinks like a gin fizz, as well as baking recipes for cookies, etc.
Whisking or whipping it up creates the same sort of frothy foam necessary for certain delightful treats.
Direct from my favorite recipe source for vegan snacks, Minimalist Baker has tons of delicious recipes that use aquafaba. Check them out!