In Canada, 1 in 8 people experience food insecurity; however, it is also that case that a lot of our food winds up in waste. Food waste is a large problem, one which is hypothetically easy to solve but realistically difficult – food waste must not wind up in landfills, it must be disposed of correctly, in the green bin. Even better, excess food should not wind up in the garbage at all. There are ways to ensure that this does not happen – making a grocery list, planning how many fruits and vegetables you will actually need for the week ahead, and ensuring that you’re not buying more than you can eat. However, in case you do budget for more than you need, what can you do to ensure that your leftover fruits and vegetables do not go to waste? Here are some options for you.
An Italian soup, minestrone, is a wonderful option. Labeled “the poor man’s soup,” this meal actually arose from peasants needing to use up leftover vegetables. Even today, there’s no one recipe, and so in restaurants and even at home, it all depends on what seasonal vegetables are already in your fridge. This soup can be made vegetarian, with heartier helpings of beans and vegetables like celery, carrot, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, or it can be made with chicken or meat. This is the soup of leftovers, so whatever you have in your fridge, give it a try!
Your options are not simply limited to soup; vegetables in bread or in muffins are common and incredibly tasty. Carrot muffins, zucchini bread, and banana bread, are the most popular, but it is very common for British desserts to include enormous amounts of fruit and nuts in their loaves. Fruits may seem a little tougher to use once they’ve lost their firmness, but if we apply this anything-goes approach, the solution is simple. During the baking process, fruit does not maintain its firmness, so it is perfect for your breads and muffins.
Another option is using your freezer; freezing berries, for example, to use later in your desserts – sprinkling them on top of ice cream, mixing them in with your oats for breakfast – is also another way to ensure they last longer and don’t wind up in the bin.
These are all healthy, tasty, and environmentally friendly ways to consume your food with limited waste. At the JRCC, we care about the environment, and we care about you. If you need help and access to healthy food, please contact us at 416-222-7105 x293 and we will help you.