10 Zero Waste Cooking Ideas

We have learnt the importance of slashing our carbon footprint by using sustainable alternatives instead of single-use plastic, vetoing fast fashion and investing in clean energy. However, changing the way you eat can also create a major impact. 

According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), food production accounts for 20-30 % percent of global greenhouse gas emission and upto 66% water wastage. Focusing on what you’re eating allows you to reflect on where your food came from and how one can alter their food consumption and reduce food wastage.

If we’re going to change how fast the world is heating up, we have to rethink how we eat. Here, we come in to list down 10 easy and tasty ways to use food scraps to make your kitchen a less wasteful space:

  • Roots and tops: When you are cutting vegetables, there’s often an abundance of roots and stems which get thrown out. Those are still delicious and edible parts of the vegetable, and can easily be incorporated in a dish. 
    • Add root veggies tops or bottom to your juices, smoothies and sauces.
    • Use them in salads, or for any dish of your preference.
    • Store them in containers and add them as dressing in vegetables. 

  • Peels: 
    • The skin of citrus fruits are bursting with flavours and aroma! Toss citrus peels in a pot of boiling water along with sponges and brushes to sanitize and disinfect them. It’ll also leave your home smelling fresh!
    • You can also bake potato peels into crispy chips and binge on as a healthy snack.
    • Citrus fruit peels can also be crushed and soaked to be added in smoothies, shakes and mocktails. 
  • Citrus Zest: Citrus zest is packed with flavour, along with Vitamin C and flavonoids that have anti-cancer properties. It serves multiple purposes - dehydrate it for a fantastic condiment, infuse into vinegars or use as a household cleaner.

  • Stems: After you strip the leaves off leafy greens such as kale and broccoli, use the stems for cooking or adding in salads. Carrot and celery ends, vegetable peelings, leftover herbs - you can use all of them to make broths also. 

  • Freeze herbs in olive oil: Herbs have a tendency to go bad quickly so it’s a good idea to preserve them for a longer use. Finely chop your herbs, place them in an ice cube tray and then pour olive oil over top. You can also replace olive oil with ghee. 

  • Seeds: Don’t forget to utilise the leftover pumpkin and squash seeds! After you are done cooking pumpkin and squash rinse the seeds and roast them. You can use them in sauces, salads, baked goods, desserts or roast with species to enjoy as a tasty homemade snack. 

  • Banana Peels: You can cook great vegetables with raw bananas but did you know that tasty koftas can be whipped up with raw banana peels as well?
    • Boil the peels with some salt and turmeric powder and grind into a paste. 
    • Add chopped onion, ginger, chilli, coriander leaves, some flour and sooji (semolina). 
    • Mix all the ingredients well with the paste and fry kofta out of it and there you have it, your tasty koftas are ready. 

  • Compost: However, if you are unable to use food or it gets spoilt, toss it into the compost instead of a trash can. There are two ways of composting:
    •  You can store your garbage in an odor free compost bin.
    • As per your preference, bring it to your local compost center. Food scraps can be turned into soil.
    • If you maintain a garden, you can get your own composting bin. Just put all your food scraps in and slowly it’ll turn into soil and you can use it as a fertilizer for your garden. 
  • Leave skins on veggies and fruits: Many vegetables and fruits don’t need to be peeled in the first place - this will also reduce food waste and saves you the trouble of peeling! Don’t bother peeling your carrots, apples, plums, cucumbers etc. Try to buy organically grown produce if you are considering eating the peels as non-organic farming uses pesticides.
  •  Start to Preserve: Three ways you can preserve food easily are:
    • Freezing is the optimal way of preservation as freezing ingredients stops the ripening process in its tracks. 
    • Dehydrating ingredients is another easy way to preserve ingredients. Dry them out in an oven set at the lowest temperature. Brought too many potatoes? Slice them and bake them into chips. 
    • Turning fruits and vegetables which are getting over ripped into jams is a great way to preserve them from getting wasted. 

    Sustainable eating is about choosing foods that are healthy for our environment and our bodies. Food wastage is becoming an increasing problem worldwide however, by understanding the extent to which food choices affect the environment and adopting sustainable food practices, you can make a difference. There’s no better time to start, than to start now- start your journey to preserve our planet with these tips!

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