Being Resourceful - Our War on Waste
Sometimes we're budget friendly for our wallets, but in some cases we're also doing it for the planet. Food waste is a big issue in our society and it's not just being done by the supermarkets. Everyone one of us can also be to blame and all too often it happens simply because we don't have the knowledge necessary to use the food we have better! Whether it's those random vegetable scraps or a sad bit of leftovers that's not bulky enough to be a whole meal, lets not make any of them go to waste! Don't be so by the books when following recipes. If you don't have a specified ingredient, maybe you have a suitable substitute you don't even know about. Search engines are your best friend in these cases, and bit by bit you'll develop your cooking skills where you'll be able to magically create tasty meals with 'clear the pantry' type ingredients. Not to mention the more you use the less frequent your trips will be to the shops which is perfect on the road. See how we're frugal and resourceful with food and materials on the road and even more so when we have the appliances in a warm and cozy home.
Old bananas - Banana bread or freeze for smoothies. If they're not too smelly mashed banana can also be a good alternative to egg in some recipes. Also if you can't get a composting bin outside for food scraps you don't use then try soaking banana peels in a jar of water and then pour on plants. Not as magical as fertiliser but it can still give your plants added nutrients and minerals.
Apples - Stew with spices and have as a simple dessert or in your morning porridge while on the road. Alternatively, if you're at home go all out and put together an apple pie/crumble for dessert.
Citrus peels - The best flavour is in the zest! If it's summer and jam season maybe you could flavour a jam with some citrus peels or alternatively make a marmalade. Lemon or orange zest is also perfect for flavouring all sorts of sweet and savoury dishes so get creative and save those peels!
Kale stems - Don't just use the leaves, the stalks are also great to use and just require more cooking.
Broccoli stalks - These are actually crunchy and slightly sweet where you can even cut them up like carrots and enjoy them raw by themselves or with a dip. If the skin a little fibrous just peel it off or use them in a stir-fry. Alternatively shred them and add to a salad or coleslaw. The slight sweetness is also great in soups or for food like quiches.
Celery root - So fun fact, you can actually use the base of celery (the end bit you'll likely chop off) to regrow your own celery.
For a broth (if you have access to a freezer keep veggies in a container/bag until you have enough)
Carrots tops or peels
Green onion leaves
Leftover crushed garlic
Any wilted older veggies will usually do the trick! Just because they aren't great fresh anymore doesn't mean they should be destined for the bin!
Veggie soups - Maybe the easiest way to use any vegetables you have left that need to be eaten. Chuck them all in a pot and if you've got any left over pasta you can turn it into a minestrone soup. Add some extra flavour too by using vegetable stock you may have made earlier on too!
Herb stems - When cooking with herbs you can often use the stems during the cooking process and keep the leaves for a garnish when you're done e.g. with coriander/cilantro. Additionally, stems like rosemary can make great skewers which also add a hint of flavour to kebabs.
Oats (when making oat milk) - When straining out the oats after blending them don't throw them out. They're perfectly pre-soaked for a smooth and delicious porridge! If you haven't tried making oat milk yet, give that a go! You can make it so quick and easy, plus it could save you a heap of money! We use cheese cloths to filter the milk, but you can also get fine nylon mesh bags that are even easier to use.
Bulk items - Finished with a spice shaker? Don't throw it out! Find somewhere you can just fill it up. Even better, maybe you have some nice containers that aren't getting much love. You may have a bulk store around you that you don't know about. Additionally, some supermarkets have bulk sections so you don't even need to make another stop. This is a great way to reduce single use plastics and often you get a great product for a great price.
Other Random Tips
Plastic Bags - In need of a bin bag? Don't go getting one at the grocery store just yet. What have you bought lately that came in a plastic bag? Chances are if you weren't ripping it open like a crazed animal that it might be good enough to do the job. Mind you these aren't usually big enough for a full sized bin in a home, but for our small bin in our camper it works a treat. Examples of plastic we use are toilet paper packaging, spinach/other leafy green packaging, packets used to get veggies/fruit/bakery items which we've had to use a lot more during COVID times.
Finish what you started! Ever almost finished toothpaste and other toiletries but instead of getting though it completely you'll buy a new one and let the other sit around until it's gross and you throw it out? Well it's time to cut that out!
Where are things sourced from? - You've probably seen or heard of palm oil and the destruction it's having on irreplaceable rainforests, or have heard of other products that don't source their materials ethically. But what does that even mean? Well it varies for everything and sometimes it's important to do some research. If two products seem identical at first glance, but differ in price, maybe have a closer look. Obviously we aren't blessed with big bank accounts and sometimes we can't always make the choice we want to, but even a change to ethically sourced, sustainable and/or environmentally friendly products every so often makes some difference! One of our favourite brands joining the big environmental push is Patagonia, who are very vocal on the matter and shad some important light on the issue.
Second hand - Another man's trash is another man's treasure. We've all heard it, but no one ever speaks about how much the environment also appreciates it. Everything that gets a second chance also saves its neighbouring landfill from growing. It's also even better than buying new from a sustainable brand and a great way to do it 100 times cheaper! Besides, everything always comes back in fashion, right?
Cleaning products - Not long ago soap bars were everywhere and unfortunately we've made the change to products in plastic containers. In another attempt to reduce single use plastic, try moving towards soap bars (for soap, shampoo and conditioner), which also travel great in reusable containers. Alternatively, if you're using plastic soap dispensers reuse them! Buy the soap in bulk or simply refill it if you have a store nearby.