Zero food waste

My Dearests Komal, Anjli and Amar,

You most likely come across words and phrases like: Sustainability, Green Living, Zero Food Waste, etc., many times in your daily reading. In this letter I would like to concentrate on ‘Zero Food Waste’. Though try as you might, it will be very difficult to achieve ‘ZERO food waste’! All you can do is to try your best at reducing waste. We were always brought up to never throw any food away. When I was young, all left overs became the house helper’s meals. I also remember beggars coming to the front door for the day’s left overs.

Then crept in the ‘sell-by’ dates….which many people adhere to religiously. With the advent of ‘sell-by’ dates and wealth, a staggering percentage of food is thrown away. With the rising population, and increased dumping, more food needs to be grown. This will mean more land, more water, more energy, more fertilizers and more labour. All of these factors would have profound implications on the environment. There is also the increased production of greenhouse gases due to the increased food decay. Again detrimental to the environment!

Overall the `sell-by` dates are a great indication of the freshness of produce, but before throwing away food, always examine and smell the product . Any food, cooked or raw, should not smell or be sticky or stringy(તાર ના પડવી જોઈએ). Much before you get to that stage, it is always better to freeze extra food, the earlier the better. Research shows that because vegetables are frozen straight after harvest, supermarket-purchased frozen vegetables retain their nutrient values at the highest level. For every extra day that fresh vegetables sit in the fridge(supermarket’s or yours), their nutritional value is reduced! Before embarking on a new meal or a new recipe idea, try to find ideas and recipes that use up items in the larder first.

Tips to attain zero food waste.

  • Improvise your recipe to use up any vegetables in the fridge.
  • Use up left over rice by making a rice salad, or re-fry Indian-style(વઘારેલો ભાત), or make egg-fried rice, Chinese style, or use as thickner in home made soup, or go Mexican! Left over noodles can also be used in a similar way.
  • Make chutneys in large batches and freeze for later use. If you have left over defrosted chutneys which are of course not re-freezable, you can use them up as a sandwich spread or add green chutney to cooking instead of fresh chili/ginger paste.
  • Left over pasta sauces can also be used up for sandwiches or by adding cooked lentils to convert the sauce to a different dish.
  • Use up left over herbs or rucola(arugula) to make pesto for a pasta dish.
  • Use up left over olive oil from preserved olives, or sundried tomatoes to make fresh salad dressing.
  • Use left over shaak/curry as fillings for pasties. Make sure to reduce water contents before using. Here are links to a few ideas using different types of pastry; short crust, puff, gluten free, take your pick: … …………
  • Use up left over chapatis or even bread(even gluten-free products). Again re frying Indian style(વઘારીને). You can always add yogurt for a more soupy consistency. Have a look at this video for more ideas: There are loads of ideas on YouTube.
  • Wash fresh ginger thoroughly before peeling. Use the peel to make ginger tea, with or without tea bags.
  • Storing left overs in the freezer is always the final solution. Please remember not to freeze defrosted items, except cooked raw frozen items.

There are millions of tips on the internet to achieve minimum food waste. Here I have listed mostly the ones I use. I am sure you have your own, tell me about those.

`Zero Food Waste‘ is only one aspect of living a green lifestyle that protects our environment. What steps do you take to protect the environment? Do please let me know.

Until my next letter but I do hope we shall see each other prior to that,

With all my love, hugs and kisses

Vishfully yours


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