We’ve all been there, staring down some bananas or apples that are past their prime. They aren’t bad enough to throw away but the fruit doesn’t taste as good when eaten raw. This common struggle has led to major food waste in our country. Food spoilage (real or fake) is one of the biggest reasons people throw food in the trash. The US landfills are full of food, which takes up more space than anything else in our landfills. Help use up food scraps and uneaten food with these recipes.
Ice-cube Tray Yogurt Cubes
Milk, yogurt, and cheese make up 17% of world-wide food waste. Confusing labels, like “sell by” or “best before” often confuse consumers. Since these kinds of food have a higher risk of food-borne illnesses, the food gets tossed away.
Instead of throwing out yogurt that still smells normal and doesn’t show signs of spoilage, make ice-cube tray yogurt cubes. These cubes are also an easy way to use fresh fruits, like strawberries, that may not get eaten otherwise.
Put your fruit and yogurt in a blender and puree. Then, fill an ice cube tray with the mixture and freeze for one hour. Transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe container to store for up to four weeks.
Eat the cubes as a cold snack or pop into your favorite smoothie recipes.
Bread is one of the topmost wasted foods for both consumers and manufacturers. It’s estimated that one-third of the bread in America goes to waste. Decades ago, bread was valuable because it took time and resources to make. It was not readily available. Now, leftover bread gets forgotten about and discarded.
But before you throw out the ends of the loaf, use them for bread pudding. This dish started as a frugal one and is traced back to the early 11th and 12th centuries, when it was known as “poor man’s pudding.” While this comfort food is still a way to use up stale bread, you can easily make it a show stopper dessert.
Energy Bars with Ripe Bananas
Banana bread is always one way to use up ripe bananas. But if you’re looking for something that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven, try these peanut butter and banana oat bars.
Use the overripe bananas with your jar-ends of nut butter. Add in the half-used bag of crushed pecans or other seeds. Even though the recipe calls for certain ingredients, mix them up depending on what you have in your pantry.
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits that also provide many health benefits. They are full of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Don’t skip out on getting these nutrients just because the banana skin is looking a little brown.
Leftover Brisket Tacos
Uneaten leftover food often gets wasted, especially when you make large pieces of meat. The average size of a beef brisket is 12 to 16 pounds. Making a plan for leftovers ensures you’ll continue to enjoy the smoked tender brisket.
The Leftover Brisket Taco Recipe uses a few ingredients that are likely in your fridge and spice rack. Tacos are one of those types of food that are versatile. You can personalize your fillings and sides based on what you have and make the entire meal from leftover ingredients.
Social media has helped highlight the tastiness and beauty of fermenting and pickling foods. Pickling uses a brine or vinegar to make the food last longer. The options for pickling are endless, almost any fresh vegetable can be pickled and preserved.
Pickling requires vinegar, salt, water, herbs and spices, and your produce. The beauty of pickling is you can adjust the brine’s flavor to match the vegetable of choice and your preferences.
While the pickling process seems intimidating, quick pickling techniques are simple and require just a few tools, like a pot and airtight jars.
And studies show that fermented and pickled foods are high in probiotics and can be helpful to our gut-health. Although certain vitamins, like vitamin C, are lost in the heating process of pickling, it amplifies other nutrients, like vitamin A and the B vitamins.
Get Creative with Your Recipes
One way to keep food interesting is to tweak recipes based on your likes, what you have in the pantry, and adding different ingredients. If a recipe calls for basil but you have some wilted spinach, use that instead of buying basil. Add tasty twists to your favorite dishes based on foods about to go bad.
Add vegetable stems or stalks to baked dishes to add nutrients and texture. Or the last bits of garlic cloves and onions can enhance the flavor of stocks and sauces.
With a little creativity and searching the web, you can find any recipe on “what to do with leftover …”
The Bottom Line
There are several ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle your food. By meal planning and estimating how much food you need to keep you and your family happy and healthy, you can reduce unwanted leftover food.
Even slight changes to the way you preserve food, shop, cook and eat food can reduce your overall impact on the environment. It doesn’t take much as each of us avoids putting more food into the landfill.