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12 tips on cutting food waste at the cottage with Cinda Chavich

Nobody likes throwing out food at the finish of the weekend, nevertheless it looks like an virtually inevitable part of the Sunday night time pack-up.  Perhaps you planned for and brought extra food than you wanted, or perhaps you waited too lengthy to use that recent produce you purchased at the farm stand on the method up. Worry of operating out (and the problem going to the retailer when you’re there) means you overbuy, but since it’s a short keep, you possibly can’t all the time use it up. No matter the cause, it turns into wasted food, a big—and avoidable—drawback in Canada.

Based on a current report by Second Harvest, a food rescue organization in Canada that captures surplus food across the provide chain and prevents it from winding up in landfills, almost 60 per cent of food produced in Canada—about 35.5 million tonnes—is misplaced and wasted annually. “Of that, 32 per cent,” claims Second Harvest, is “avoidable and is edible food that could be redirected to support people in our communities.”

To study more about waste prevention tips, we asked  “food waste warrior” and writer of the “Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook” Cinda Chavich for some straightforward tips on cutting food waste up at the cottage this season.

1. Know what you might have and don’t over purchase

With regards to decreasing food waste at house, or at the cottage, the secret is proper planning.  Don’t make difficult meals that require a number of unusual components that you would be able to’t deplete. Know what you could have in your refrigerator/freezer and pantry to keep away from duplication, plan to prepare dinner what’s you will have, make an inventory, and buy solely what you want.

2. Plan for leftovers

Cinda suggests using leftovers in another dish the following day. Plan to prepare dinner as soon as and eat two or 3 times by repurposing at the moment’s steak into tomorrow’s fajitas, steak salad, or satay beef subs. Chef’s name this “prepped food” – they all the time pre-cook and shred hen for salads and tacos, and sometimes pre-cook issues like pasta for deli salads or rice to use in hen soup or fried rice. You may as well prepare dinner an enormous piece of protein with leftovers in mind with easy, seasonal vegetables. Some dishes— like chili, soup, and lasagna—are even higher the next day when the flavours have had a chance to marinate, and lose nothing once they’re reheated.

3. Reap the benefits of recent and local produce

Deliver the cooler (with freezer packs to help hold issues recent) and stop at native farm stands and markets to purchase seasonal fruit and veggies. This cuts down on plastic waste and packaging, and insures you’re getting the tastiest and most nutritious foods, typically for the greatest worth too. When planning for every week at the cottage, convey what you need for every meal except one or two – these days you possibly can prepare dinner from the garden, the freezer and the pantry solely. It’s tempting to purchase too much if you encounter the bounty of recent fruits and veggies at a farm stand, but be sure to have a plan.

4. Prepare dinner backwards

Whatever time of the yr, purchase what’s in season, ripe and able to eat, then build your meals around what’s out there, fairly than beginning with a selected recipe. Cinda calls this “cooking backwards” – start with the ingredient and construct a dish round it. That is also the greatest solution to prepare dinner once you’re miles away from a grocery store. You’ll want to have the ability to open the fridge or pantry, see what you will have, and determine what to prepare dinner.

5. Refill sensible

Nothing to prepare dinner? If in case you have a well-stocked pantry of dry goods, an ideal, simple dinner all the time awaits. There’s nothing fallacious with cooking out of cans (the staples on the shelf at every good cabin). The key to cottage cooking is a well-stocked pantry, a wide selection of spices, and some staples — like bacon, tortillas, berries, and ice cream — in the freezer.


Ensure your pantry has cans of tomatoes (entire, chopped and pureed), tins or tetra paks of hen broth and coconut milk, canned salmon and tuna (and even smoked oysters/anchovies or sprats for appetizers), beans and chickpeas, olives, pesto, sundried tomatoes and salsa, olive oil and vinegar, peanut butter, chilies and soy sauce, pasta, and crackers, and you have the basis for quite a lot of meals, from pizza and pasta sauces to tacos and stir fries.


Everyone sees something totally different once they open their fridge, nevertheless each fridge should embrace staples like eggs (a flexible choice for any time of day), butter, milk, and chopped onions, garlic, and ginger.

6. Hold monitor of what you might have

If you depart the cottage after a weekend, convey any recent/perishable food house or package deal, label and freeze for next week. Maintain a operating record of what you have got on hand, and what’s operating low, so you’ll be able to substitute it next time you’re out. Use a blackboard on the wall, or an inventory on the fridge door, and domesticate the habit of holding monitor of the food in the fridge.

7. Eat fragile first

Whatever food you convey to the cottage — whether for a weekend or a few weeks — plan to “eat fragile first”. Meaning eat the foods that have the shortest shelf life in the first few days, while they’re at their greatest, whether or not that’s the tender butter lettuces and recent basil, or the ripe strawberries and native corn (the sugars in corn start turning to starch the minute it’s picked, so eat it instantly). Grasp onto sturdier issues akin to potatoes, watermelon, apples, carrots and cabbage for coleslaw, and greens like Romaine lettuce and kale that gained’t wilt. Pantry foods, all with an indefinite shelf life, embrace dry pasta, rice and grains, legumes (lentils and beans, both dried and canned) and healthy pilaf mixtures of quinoa, millet, barley and wild rice are all nice for decent dishes or as the base for hearty, moveable potluck salads.

8. Don’t stress about “Best Before” dates

“Best Before” dates are arbitrary and placed on foods by manufacturers to point peak freshness (and to assist supermarkets in restocking and rotating products). Greatest Before doesn’t equate to Dangerous After, so use your nose to find out if issues like milk, cheese, or yogurt are off. Canned and packaged shelf secure foods are good to eat virtually indefinitely. Perishables like meats often have a couple of days past their “Use by” dates if stored refrigerated. You can too freeze or prepare dinner them on the Use By date to extend the storage life.

9. A freezer is your greatest good friend

Many meals might be frozen to extend their shelf life—assume ripe bananas, bread, butter, desserts, casseroles, grapes, avocados, nuts, pizza dough, tortilla and pita, shredded cheese and cooked meats. Just be certain that to wrap meals very properly and exclude all of the air (use zippered freezer luggage or a vacuum sealing machine to stop freezer burn).

If in case you have an excess of pesto, tomato sauce or paste, and virtually any chopped recent herbs combined with olive oil, portion the leftovers in ice cube trays and freeze to use in your soups and sauces anytime. Have a dedicated plastic ice dice tray at the cabin for freezing gadgets, then pop them out and store the cubes in a zippered plastic bag.

For those who put together curries, soups, lasagna, or pasta sauces at residence to take to the lake, freeze them for transport, maintain them in a cooler, after which pop them in the freezer at the cottage (or allow them to thaw slowly over a few days in the fridge). This manner you’ll have a quick dinner for days if you get off the water late and have to feed individuals fast.

10. Gold VS Rubbish

Take into consideration nose-to-tail, root to shoot cooking. Use it all up. Carrot tops make pesto. Beet greens in a saute, omelet or frittata. Cinda even recommends utilizing excess lettuce in a creamy soup or green smoothie.

When you’ve got a roasted entire hen or a bone-in roast, make bone broth by including some onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns and bay leaves. Should you save your vegetable scraps (carrot peelings, onion trim, celery leaves) in a freezer bag, you’ll all the time have aromatics so as to add to your inventory pot.

Similar goes for squidgy grapes, wrinkly apples and overripe bananas that may be roasted, baked into pies and crumbles, or into banana bread. You may as well freeze chopped bananas after which whirl up in the blender for a low-cal frozen dessert.

Excess bread or hamburger buns? Don’t toss when it gets stale—chop and toast for croutons for Caesar salad, make crostini, grilled Panini/cheese sandwiches, or a sweet or savoury bread pudding with canned salmon, eggs, dill and greens (spinach or chard) from the cottage garden.

11. Prepare dinner before you compost

Expend recent components which are getting a bit dodgy by cooking them. When cherry tomatoes or bell peppers start wanting a bit of delicate, toss them with olive oil and sliced onions, and roast until nicely caramelized for a tasty appetizer, aspect dish or pasta toss with pesto. Tired wanting lettuce could be cooked, too — consider it like all green leafy veg you’d add to a bean soup, stir fry or vegetable curry. You can too add any chopped greens to meat balls, meat loaf, or western omelettes with minced ham and onions.

12. All the time compost

Composting your food waste helps create some healthy soil on your cottage backyard and plant pots. A closed containment fashion composter keeps food scraps away from wildlife and makes that healthy compost shortly. Simply ensure you never throw food, or food scraps, into the regular garbage — as soon as buried in a landfill, organic material releases methane, a greenhouse fuel that’s 20 occasions extra damaging to the fragile ozone than CO2, so all the time put food waste that you would be able to’t use in the compost bin. That compost then feeds the earth, fairly than destroying it.

For nice recipes and more tips on methods to forestall food waste, be sure you take a look at Cinda’s cookbook “The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook,” out there at Indigo and Amazon.

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