It is sad to think about how much leftover food gets thrown in the trash when so many other people have nothing to eat. There are, in fact, so many misconceptions about how long food can last because people are scared that they might get sick when they eat something off. While it is not a bad thing to be cautious as opposed to getting diarrhea and other nasty things from food, it does not mean that every little bit of scrap or leftover should automatically go to the trash.
When you think about it, before there were fridges and freezers, people were experts at preserving food. This is the reason why traditional dishes are mostly full of stews or soups that use bits and pieces of vegetables and meat. Basically, whatever was left over went into the pot and got cooked.
So whether you have just had a party or simply have a lot of food scraps in the fridge, here are some ideas as to how you can use them instead of throwing them out.
One of the most common leftover beverages is soda. People will not want to drink them after a few days because they go flat. The great thing is, you can make barbecue sauce with your old cola. To create thick sauces full of flavor, you will benefit from the flavor and the sugar of dark soda. Moreover, the sugar will caramelize when grilling the meat. The best part is, once you mix the ingredients, you end up with a tangy but sweet barbecue sauce that you can store in the fridge for months. If you have some clear, citrus soda, you can soak chopped fruits in it to keep them fresh. However, doing so will increase the sugar of your fruit compared to opting for lemon juice.
When it comes to leftover wine or champagne, you can use it for cooking or keep them in a jar covered by cheesecloth layers. Store it in a dark and cold room for a few months and you will end up with your own homemade vinegar.
Lastly, beer can be used to make batter as the alcohol and the carbon dioxide make the batter flavorful and crisp. It may also be used as a marinade for meat as it makes it tender and full of flavor.
On the other hand, coffee can be used for baking, substituting the water in the recipe and thus, adding some flavor. Moreover, by simply adding eggs, sugar, cream, and milk, you can create your own homemade coffee ice cream. Plants that love acid will also be happy when you use coffee to water them.
One of the easiest food items to reuse is bread. Whatever stale bread you have can be turned into French toast the next day. Or you can turn it into bread pudding or even just turn them into croutons for your salad or soup.
Cheese is also easy to repurpose, as any kind or size of cheese can be put together with pasta to create mac and cheese. You can also create a cheese sauce or simply make some great fondue.
When it comes to meat, there are also very easy ways to reuse them. The classic way is to turn them into stock, simply by simmering the meat pieces (preferably with bones) with vegetables. Steak can become beef jerky or be the base of your beef stew. If you do not want to eat the leftover chicken bones, you can break them into smaller pieces and use them as fertilizer for your garden.
Ice cream can also be reused, simply by adding some self-rising flour. You will end up with some yummy muffins with only these ingredients.
Leftover Fruits And Vegetables
When it comes to fresh produce, you can still literally reuse what has already been used. For example, leftover pulp from your homemade squeezed fresh juice can be turned into fruit tea by adding ginger and cinnamon. It may also be added to baked products for additional flavor and texture.
At the same time, leftover bits of vegetables you chop for a meal can be put together in a pot to create vegetable stock or you can regrow them. If they have already been roasted or cooked, they can still be reused as soup. The last option for vegetables and fruit scraps is composting. You can store your leftover veggies on the freezer while you collect enough to make something with them.
The Importance Of Reusing Leftover Food
Because some people may think that food waste is not an issue, it is about time to truly shed light on this. Throwing a little piece of leftover bread to the trash bin might not feel like a huge deal, but the fact is, each little piece adds up to the 70 billion pounds of food that are wasted in the United States yearly. Up to 40% of food that is grown as well as processed and transported to other colonies will end up never being eaten.
This is why it is important to change shopping habits, especially when it comes to buying food. The best option is to purchase only what is necessary or to plan meals in order to make sure you use all of the raw ingredients. Because there will always be some leftovers when you cook soup, you can plan ahead of time and brainstorm some alternative ideas.
Thanks to the existence of modern appliances like refrigerators and freezers, people can keep food products much longer without fear of them spoiling. In fact, despite what the ‘best before’ date says, you can still safely eat the product a few days after (just make sure you test if it is still good). You may also bring it directly to the freezer to prolong its lifespan.
Somewhere along the way, people have changed from being completely resourceful when it comes to reusing food scraps into being overly safe and wasting perfectly good food. It is time to reverse this trend by adopting these simple steps in reusing your leftover food.