Hey sustainable food lovers! I have some nifty ideas for all that organic matter that ends up in the trash but could really end up in your belly. I recently read an article from The Huffington Post that stated around 40 percent of what we throw out is actually organic waste that could be composted or reused (George Morris centre study report). The worst part about this statement is that organic matter that decomposes in landfills creates methane, which is a green house gas, and therefore plays a role in climate change (Environment Canada). So save all those banana peels, wrinkly fruit and wilted leafy greens! You can take some easy steps and compost them, or you can find ways to reuse them by reading on!
One option for your leftover vegetable scraps is blending them into a fertilizer! If you have a garden, or indoor plants this is a great way to keep your plants happy and your garbage empty. Here is an easy guide to make your own fertilizer.
Another option, that uses the older, but still edible, fruits and veggies you have neglected, is to bake or cook them into a meal or snack. Here is a list of some foods that may have turned wrinkly or wilted in the back of your fridge but can now be turned into a tempting treat or meal:
1. Apples: Have your apples begun to wrinkle and feel mushy? Don’t just throw them out! Softer apples will make the perfect applesauce. All you have to do is chop up your apples (cut off any of the really brown bits), place them in a sauce pan, put a bit of water in, cook them on medium heat till they begin to soften, and sprinkle in some cinnamon and brown sugar. Voila, apple sauce!
2. Bananas: Freeze them and save them for a rainy day. You can create some tasty banana loafs with very ripe bananas. Chuck the browning bananas in the freezer (Warning! They will turn very brown, but they are still perfectly edible) and when you get some free time defrost them and turn them into a loaf.
3. Spinach: I often find I can’t quite eat spinach fast enough when eating it plain. It always starts to wilt and go bad within a week. I hate throwing food out though, so I always resort to tossing it into a frying pan. Compost the smelly, dark leaves and just stick the wilted pieces into a pan with some oil. You could also add them to a veggie lasagne. Pan fried spinach is good with eggs and you can always bake it on a pizza too.
4. Brewed Coffee and coffee grounds: There are SO many things you can do with old coffee grounds and leftover brewed coffee that its hard to actually choose which ones to write about here.
Coffee grounds can be used as a fertilizer for plants that like acidic soil, they can be used as a face wash to exfoliate your skin, or as fridge deodorizer (just putting them in a jar at the back of your fridge gets rid of any smell).
As for old brewed coffee, you can pretty much add it to anything you bake to have the hint of coffee flavour in your treats. Like with coffee grounds, I would also use it to water plants that like acidic soil. Plants like gardenias and azaleas like this soil type. Coffee is also great for dying or staining materials. If you have scratches on floors or furniture, or want to stain any worn out furniture that is made of dark wood, you can use old coffee!
5. Stale Bread. Stale bread can be easily made into breadcrumbs or croutons, of course, but it can also be made into a great dessert…bread pudding! I always use my older bread to make french toast or bruschetta as well. An option you may not have heard of though is to use old bread to keep veggies fresh. You can just stick a piece of bread in the vegetable draw and it will soak up moisture to allow veggies to stay fresh.
6. One last option for reusing fruits and vegetables is to actually re-grow them from a scrap left behind. This brings us to another post on reusing food. Check this next blog post on veggies and fruit you can actually re-grow by clicking here!
I hope you reconsider throwing all your organic scraps into the trash and instead, get creative with ways to reuse it!