Summer’s here! Bring out the sun beds, dig out that bathing suit, lather yourself in sun screen and just lie under the sun forgetting all about deadlines and alarm clocks. Well… not exactly, but another beautiful season is upon us and with it come different patterns and habits. As I was daydreaming of all the things that I will be able to do in summer like to go out more, hang out on the beach, and reclaim the wonderful afternoon siesta, I started to think of good habits to pack for this summer. I’m going to share a few of them with you here.

At home

Shed those extra pounds

With a new season it’s always great to look into your closet and see which pieces of clothing you haven’t worn. A simple trick is to put the hanger facing outwards (opposite to what you’d normally do) when hanging clothes on the rail and if after the season they are still turned outwards, then you don’t really use is.

Keep it cool

Higher temperatures mean food can spoil quicker. It is therefore crucial to wash and store all food well. Remember to look at our blog on how to store food properly. If you get distracted and find your lovely fruits covered in dark spots, don’t worry about it. Just cut out the good fleshy bits add some lemon juice and voila you have a nice refreshing smoothie OR simply gather those lonesome fruit, slice them razor thin, add some red wine, brandy, brown sugar and lots of ice for a simple summer sangria


© MollieKate

Chop – Drizzle – Eat

Let’s face it, it’s warm, we’re lazy so we might not feel like making a proper meal. Summer is perfect to enjoy a nice crunchy salad with all kinds of vegetables, beans, herbs, grains, nuts, and lentils. Scrape your fridge or cupboards, chop and mix everything and then drizzle with a lovely dressing. You can opt for one of my personal favorites: Tahini dressing, or Fresh mint dressing. Yum!

Out and about

Stay safe

The sun’s warmth is lovely but not its UVA rays. It’s important to protect our skin with face and body sunscreen as well as after-sun. Unfortunately, commercial sunscreens have a huge deteriorating impact on marine life and are linked with the destruction of the coral reef (Danovaro, R. et al, 2008). Fortunately, there are eco and even zero waste options which you can make yourself.

Tidy up!

Clear blue waters, soft green grass or beautiful clear sands. These splendid places offer us moments of peace and a place to have fun with our friends, so why not give something back? While you’re at the beach or park you can  spend 5 minutes cleaning up and even join the social media trend #5minutecleanup. It’s quick and very effective, and just think if all of us got into this habit!


© Giovanni_Tafa

Guilt free Ice cream

It doesn’t matter if it’s  vanilla or a triple chocolate chip cookie madness, ice cream is EVERYTHING in summer. However, this icy creamy goodness comes packaged in plastic that we unwrap and throw out before devouring it. We can easily avoid this by buying ice cream cones so everything is consumed and no more plastic. Yes please!

Going away

Pack it

It’s not just your luggage that needs to be packed, so does your food. Before heading out make sure to freeze what can be frozen i.e. dairy products, some vegetables, all fruits and more. Soft herbs like basil, mint and parsley don’t hold up well frozen, so chop and mix them with olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray.  Another option is to see what food items can still be eaten and give them away to a friend or neighbour who will be more than happy to receive them!

Be prepared!

– The city;

A mason jar and a tea towel go a long way. These two items can save you a lot of unnecessary waste. The mason jar is perfect to keep beverages, ice cream scoops, and small snacks, while the tea towel is great to hold bread, croissants, fruits, or lay out for a mini picnic. These take minimal space and can be carried around the city in your favorite tote bag ♡

– Camping;

This requires a bit more preparation. The basic items would be a good water jug which keeps your drinks chilled or hot, as needed. Then reusable cutlery and a compostable plate (made from bamboo or cornstarch; I know incredible!). Finally, your toiletry kit; bamboo toothbrush & holder, toothpaste tablets, deodorant, bug spray, moisturizer, and sunscreen which can all be DIYed.


© GoingZeroWasteBlog

© GoingZeroWasteBlog

Summer is all about having fun, and that’s what our journey to reduce food waste should be about. It’s all about discovering alternatives and being creative with what you have. When I say you it is not just one individual but ALL of you who are reflecting on your personal habits but also the collective potential to make a positive change.

Who’s a self sufficient responsible zero waster? You are!

Sources

Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching by Promoting Viral Infections ( Danovaro, R. et al, 2008)

Going zero waste

Cookie and Kate recipes

“Oh c’mon, it’s just one straw” Said 8 billion people.

Straws are made in ten minutes, used up in twenty and stick around in the natural environment for a lifetime. These and other issues regarding waste disposal were discussed at the end of April, on this blog. We dove into the bin, untangled waste, looked into waste streams, researched plastic disposal and drew not-so-rosy conclusions. A world-wide trash epidemic is polluting our groundwater and oceans. Sad news, but that should never be the conclusion! At the beginning of May me and three TBYW’ers took on a challenge to keep as much matter out of landfill as possible: the zero-waste challenge. Halfway through the month I present a personal update and easy tips and tricks for going zero-waste.

As I tend to be  radical, the last thing I disposed on the last day before the journey, was my own trash bin. We took one final walk to the sidewalk in front of my house and after an short goodbye we parted ways. I was ready.

Waste-free travel

My personal zero-waste journey started in Italy. The first day of the challenge was perfectly timed as that was the day that me and my mom went on a week-long camping trip to Sardinia. My first mistake was not telling her about the challenge, as I found a pile of disposable cutlery in her suitcase. Oops! Quickly swapped the plastics for two sets of regular cutlery and we were good to go. Zero-waste on a trip does require some preparational work. Tip one: DIY. To fill your toiletries bag, minimalist packing is the key. I brought my own reusable make-up remover wipes (an old towel cut in round shapes, nothing fancy), DIY waste-free deodorant, DIY waste-free toothpaste (I used the same recipe as deo for efficiency seasons) and a bamboo toothbrush. My deodorant recipe is: coconut oil:baking soda:cornstarch using a 1:1:1 ratio, plus  a few drops of essential oil of your preference.

Depending on your skin, mix and match the ingredients until the effect of the product is optimal for you. I used peppermint essential oil for deodorant because I used the same recipe for toothpaste which is not recommended, I prefer a nice smell such as lemongrass and a bit of tea tree as a deodorant. For travelling, however, I chose efficiency over comfort.

Tip two: pack smart. Bring as much of the essential inventory as you need: think of a reusable coffee-cup, cutlery, sugar, salt/pepper in tiny containers, reusable wipes (an old towel cut into rectangles) etcetera. My dish soap also served the purpose of detergent and did an excellent job. Really, you don’t need a different product for every specific purpose. Such an easy way to save money, weight and space!

Tip three: Leave little room for interpretation when shopping in a foreign country (in which you don’t speak the language). Expressing a clear “no” when at the market the assistants want to put your produce in a plastic bag. Don’t be shy in using non-verbal communication in case you want to use your own reusable linen bag for bread, or your own container to bring olives or cheese. Some shop assistants respond positively, some shop assistant do not approve, to put it lightly. Like when we did our first round of groceries and got our first round of waste in as well.

The lady behind the cashier took the onions and unleashed a waterfall of Italian words that made clear that we weren’t supposed to take loose onions. She stormed out and came back with a plastic net of onions. You can call it a lack of backbone, but we didn’t have the nerve to decline her onions and bought them in the net. I was already proud to resist her clear dissatisfaction over the fact that we hadn’t used plastic bags to cover the rest of the fresh produce in the first place.  In any case: be as clear as you can but don’t worry if it does not work out.

Waste-free alternative to plastic disposable spoons

Tip four: Be easy on yourself. The road towards a zero waste life will only be sustainable if you enjoy it. You won’t enjoy it if you are too hard on yourself, simple as that. It’s fun, it’s an experiment, it’s not about perfection. Don’t think in terms of failing: think in terms of learning curve. This is essential to not feel discouraged if anything unexpected happens. Like when I ordered coffee and got it in a styrofoam cup. Shit (plastic) happens! As long as, instead of using a plastic spoon to stir the coffee you use your sunglasses, it’s not the end of the world. We extended the lifetime of the cup with three rounds of coffee in the morning and wine in the afternoon. After that coffee-flavoured wine (or wine-flavoured coffee) wasn’t enjoyable anymore and the cup was added to the trash.

Zero Waste at home

All-purpose cleaner recipe

After the return it was time to become a waste-free domestic princess. I was already able to do some of my preparations during the first of a series of TBYW zero waste workshops (check out the Facebook for upcoming workshops). The DIY cleaning products workshop provided for the ingredients, bought in bulk from the Soap Queen webshop. We made an all-purpose cleaner and a dish soap.

In the context of step #2 of going zero waste: ‘reduce’, I critically went over my cupboard with cleaning products. Do I really need a different cleaner for the surfaces in my room, the bathroom and the kitchen top? The answer is no. So far All I use is dish soap and the all purpose cleaner and my room is clean so: can confirm, I’m surviving with at least half the cleaning products I thought I needed. This actually goes for many of the different products I use in my life. Once you’ve made an inventory of what those products that you need are, continue to tip five: Make zero-waste swaps. The most important ones to get started are:

eCoffee to-go cup

Tip six is: look up what possibilities there are in your neighbourhood to shop bulk and package-free. The Turkish shops and the markets are by far the most cheap alternatives I have found in my surroundings. For inspiration in the city of Amsterdam, check out https://www.hetzerowasteproject.nl/p/bulk-boodschappenadressen.html to see what you can get where. I went to the Delicious Foods store at the Westerstraat and got a 5% discount for bringing my own bags and jars! Today’s yield: hemp seed, flax seed, tea, chickpeas, coconut flakes, almonds and cashews (the latter three to make my own milk later on: recipes will follow!).

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: once starting this journey, do not start throwing away wasteful products now that you have them anyway. Use it up, recycle or compost what can be recycled or composted. Your ultimate guide to composting you can find here.

My final tip is to shop second hand. Check your local thrift shop to get what you need, or go to secondhand clothes shops. An online possibility with a range somewhat broader than the Episode vintage-style  is United Wardrobe. When you buy second hand, often you have less/zero packaging and you’ll discard the use of resources that are needed to produce new stuff.

Finally, I can’t emphasize enough how this is not something you do overnight, and you shouldn’t expect that. It really isn’t about doing it perfectly, it is about making an educated decision on what and how you consume, and doing that for the better. You have the power to make choices that will lead to a more sustainable system, everyday. We are so privileged to have such a great range of options to make in what we buy and where that comes from, so why not make a choice that contributes to keeping the planet a bit more free from waste?

If you want to know more and follow some great zero-waste workshops, keep an eye on TBYW’s social media channels https://www.facebook.com/TBYWA/ and join the workshops!  

There is nothing quite like opening a fully stocked and perfectly organized squeaky clean fridge. It becomes a well-chilled sanctuary for our precious food and delectable offerings to our late-night cravings. Yet, this sanctuary at times becomes a cemetery where unfortunately sometimes our food rots. It’s either because it’s forgotten in some part of the fridge, it’s not stored well, it sits in an unclean space, or because of poor grocery planning. However there are things you can do to avoid this and turn your fridge into a tool to avoid and reduce of food waste at home. Here are some tips.

Temperature

Keep it cool.

Set your refrigerator between 1°C to 5 °C. If it’s any warmer, you run the risk of growing harmful bacteria but if it’s any colder some of your food may begin to freeze.

Organising your fridge

Top shelf; Here temperatures are constant so it’s best to keep drinks. Also, this is the first part of the fridge that you’ll look at, so it’s a good idea to keep leftovers stored in clear containers.  

Middle shelves; Keep dairy here. Your milk, yogurts, cheese, and eggs should go here. Also, milk should be put at the back of the shelf since this is the coldest bit.

Bottom shelf; This is the coldest shelf, which makes it an ideal place to store raw ingredients. Things like raw meat and fish should be kept here in tight packaging to avoid dripping and cross-contamination.

Drawer; These tend to retain some moisture which is good for produce. You can place your fruits and vegetables here. If you have multiple drawers, use them to separate ethylene producing fruits and vegetables like apples and avocados, from sensitive ones to avoid quick spoilage.

Door; Even though most refrigerator models come with beverage and egg shelves on their door, this is not a good place to keep them. This part of the fridge is prone to temperature fluctuations and is actually the warmest part of the fridge, so avoid storing highly perishable foods. Instead keep your condiments and well-preserved foods here.

Top of the fridge; Usually this part is quite warm so avoid storing any food here. Instead you can keep some small kitchen appliances and utensils, or just your pile of cookbooks.

© Appliance Service Station Inc.

Storing Principles

FIFO –  First In, First out; Always move the food that is already there, and it closest to expiration date to the front of the shelves. That way you have a better visualisation of what you need to consume first and you’ll make have space in the back for the new groceries. This also helps to avoid finding a stray yoghurt from 3 months ago in the back of the shelf.

Markers. Set. Go; It’s very likely that you are not the only one using the fridge so labelling the shelves into sections can be a helpful way to keep the fridge organised. Food should also be labelled to avoid the ‘What is this, and when did I make it?’, sure a quick sniff can be suggestive of the answer but better to play it safe and just label it.

Air it out; Air needs to circulate in your fridge to avoid parts of the fridge from becoming too warm or too cold. When you over stock your fridge there isn’t enough air circulation and this can create warm or cold pockets causing food to spoil quicker.

Eat-me first!; This is really handy. Just take any organizing box and stick a post-it saying ‘Eat me first!’ then place all the food which is going to perish soon and needs to be eaten. This will convince everyone in the house to reach for these items before trying anything else.

Keep it together; Food keeps for longer when it’s still whole. Meat, fruit, and veggies expire quickly when they have been chopped, sliced and diced. Keep your foods whole until you’re ready to consume them.

Plastic – not – fantastic; The unfortunate trend of plastic wrapped produce is bad for MULTIPLE reasons, one of these being that food actually spoils quicker. Instead use glass containers, paper bags and,  mason jars or a damp tea towel for fresh herbs and leafy vegetables.

Tidy up; In order to keep food good for as long as possible, it’s important that it stays in a clean space. So keep your fridge tidy, clean up any spills and make sure to wash the insides every month.

© Gardner’s Supply Company

While we’ve been talking about what goes in to the fridge, it’s equally important to talk about what doesn’t. This may be to avoid altering the texture or flavour of the food, or even it going bad. It can also be to simply save space and keep a tidy ventilated fridge.

  • Foods you shouldn’t refrigerate; potatoes, onions, garlic, honey, tomatoes
  • Foods that can but don’t need to refrigerated; peanut butter, oils, apples, butter
  • Food you must refrigerate; milk, cheese, eggs, meat

What other tips do you follow to keep your fridge in check and avoid wasting food?

When looking at the way we organize our meals, most of us follow a day-to-day or meal-by-meal logic. While such irregularities have a series of affects on our daily rhythm, this blog post focuses on another seemingly small but still relevant symptom: the waste of food produced due to a lack of planning.

As hunter-gatherers of the 21st century, we daily cross the grocery store, become enthralled by aesthetics or hunger and snatch all these fresh beauties. Sometimes other unanticipated tasks pop up or the laziness kicks in and the meal is not being prepared. Not a problem, the food will still be good the next day. But what about all the other days to come? How can we make sure that the goodies in our fridge and cupboards are not going bad that quickly? How can we plan more efficiently so that as little as possible – or in the best case nothing – goes to waste?

As a food surplus organization we engage with these questions on a daily basis. In doing so, we are always eager to learn and brainstorm with our fellows in the search for best practices, be it through workshops, lectures or panel discussions. Zoe, one of our hosting coordinators, therefore set up a workshop series consisting of three sessions to identify better food surplus management. The first workshop engaged with the question of how to treat your foods appropriately to postpone present symptoms of spoiling. Zoe worked out different guiding themes that play a relevant role in the according planning, and allocated the themes to the workshop tables in the first session. Each group of participants was invited to discuss ideas related to their table theme, followed by a plenary session on more general ideas and know-how from the audience. We were surprised by the many ideas that were brought to the tables, mostly household insider tips and some good old grandma tricks.

In the following you can find an overview of these tips and tricks: 

 

  1. Daily physical check

Check what is in stock: Take a photo or write a list of fridge contents. This helps to avoid buying doubles or unnecessary foodies, which eventually end up in your trash bin.

  1. Supplements

Make a shopping list of things that would complement your stock. For example, use sticky notes or download one of these modern grocery shopping apps!

  1. Resistance

Stay strong towards marketing strategies from supermarkets; don’t give in to ‘buy one and get one for free’ if it doesn’t serve your own consumption well. Also, don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, which definitely ends up in steering your choices according to the momentary craving for food.

  1. Tailor-made care

Bread: Always keep your bread in paper, never in plastic, and in a dry, dark place instead of the fridge. It will most likely not mold. Moreover, think of ways to process it once it is not fresh and soft anymore. For example, cut slices and put them in the freezer, every time you crave bread you can portion what you need.

Leafy greens, spring onion, leek, and herbs: But them in a glass with water or roll them into a wet towel and but them in the fridge. It keeps them alive like a flower, and it might even keep growing a bit. Alternatively, chop herbs before they go bad and fill them into an ice cube tray with a bit of oil, this way you can always add a dose when you cook and need it.

Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, apples, citrus fruits, peaches, apricots, and nectarines: Keep them outside of the fridge in a dry place; they will keep their taste and durability.

Potatoes and carrots: If possible, keep them in a pot of earth or sand in a dry and dark place, or leave them dirty, they like that!

Most other delicate veggies and fruit like mushroom, broccoli, cherries and berries: These need respectful and delicate treatment, most suitable in the fridge (or freezer, if you want to keep them for later).

  1. Cooling

Also your fridge has different climates, so to say: The coldest spot is at the bottom, which makes it the perfect storing space for veggies (yes, that’s what these plastic drawers are for!) On the top, you can keep your cheese and other foodies that don’t suffer from the minimally higher temperature. In general, keep your raw ingredients at the bottom and away from the cooked food. The door is the warmest area of the fridge, suitable for condiments and juices.

  1. Symbiosis

Vegetables and fruits affect each other’s ripening process when kept in close proximity (they release ethylene gas). For example, ripe bananas will make other fruits and veggies ripen faster, and green apples will make potatoes keep longer. Foods that release ethylene include:

Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, figs, honeydew, grapes, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, passion fruits, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, and prunes.

Vegetables: Green onions and tomatoes.

  1. First In, First Out

Don’t wait until the last moment and organize your fridge so you eat first what went in first.

  1. Measurements

Weigh your dry pasta, rice and grains before cooking to avoid making too much. For an indication, check the packaging or experiment and note down your personal quantity, usually around 50 – 100g dry per person.

  1. Freezer Library

In general, freezers work like a time capsule for fresh food – it locks nutrition and preserves the taste. You can freeze your fruits, coconut milk and curry pastes, as well as cooked meals. Use labels to recognize the icy things in your freezer. Portioning it beforehand will save the hassle to cut frozen food.

Some good old granny tips:

  • When you know you will eat your avocado but it is still too hard, you can wrap it in newspaper and put it in a dry cool place. It should be ready to eat in a day or two. The same goes for bananas.
  • Some say that its better to keep eggs outside of the fridge since it has a natural layer that protects it from going bad. But it depends in which country you live, or if it’s organic or not.
  • When you separate bananas from their bunch, they will continue ripen more slowly.
  • If any of your veggies are looking soggy like carrots or lettuce, soak it in ice-cold water. It will harden it and bring it back to its natural state. Soak flabby salad in ice-cold water right before serving.

We are looking forward to see you at our next sessions!

 

Please note that there are different opinions and perspectives concerning some of the tips we prepared. In most cases, the appropriate treatment depends on factors like temperature, durability and moisture. Try out for yourself and note down what works best in your case. Also, please feel free to comment and share your feedback and tips with us!

The holiday season, most people’s favourite time of year, when chimes are singing, lights are shining, snow is falling and we are warming ourselves with delicious cups of mulled wine and hot chocolate. Nothing could be more perfect. A joyous season that revolves around, happiness, love, friendship, family and the acts of giving. That’s what this holiday season is all about, yet ironically while we give a lot, we also take a lot away. We do that in the form of waste and particularly in the Christmas season we do it in the form of food waste. The most giving time of year, becomes the most wasteful time of year! Starting from all the excess things we buy and the wrapping paper we use, to the food we waste. An interesting fact about wrapping paper is that is is estimated that one country uses enough wrapping paper at Christmas to wrap around the equator nine times, and that’s just one country. But its not just the paper that is the issue, it is also the excessive amount of food we buy, eat, and  eventually throw away. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little effort and planning our holiday season can be a joyous, family affair of our childhood dreams, where we are able to give and help without wasting so much, which means we contribute in another useful way, either by redistributing food or reducing environmental impact. So here are some tips and tricks to give you a less wasteful Christmas!

Picture: © Carbon Trust

Step 1: Think Before you buy!

Think before you buy! Do not get carried away by big ideas and elaborate dinner plans. Before you big Christmas dinner shop, open your fridge, freezer and your pantry, really, truly dig deep! You would be surprised how many food items are hidden in the backs of our freezers and pantries. So, start there, look at what you have and then think about getting other items from the shops.

Step 2: Shop smart!

Shop smart, buy as much local, organic food items as you can, your vegetables don’t have to be perfect looking to taste amazing. Visit local farmers’ markets and see what’s on offer and always buy food that’s in season no matter how much you want to make that berry tart, save it for the summer months and make a chestnut pie instead!

Step 3: Plan your meals!

Plan your meals, don’t get carried away, the biggest problem during the holidays is over eating! People always complain about how much food they have eaten. On the other hand all cooks suffer from the same Christmas dinner phobia, not preparing enough food, but let’s face it, if you made half of the food that you are planning to, you would still have leftovers for the next day! So, plan ahead, check how many people are coming, and make only a little bit of extra food in case you have an unknown straggler, but don’t overdo it! If you are still scared, there are app’s that can lend you a hand, such as Yummly which helps you find numerous recipes or Timer+ which helps you deal with cooking times and temperatures. These are just two of many apps, but there is so much more out there.

Step 4: Don’t overbuy!

Don’t buy into that notion and feeling of Christmas shopping mania, all those special deals and offers on foods you would never normally buy, just because it’s cheaper it does not mean you are going to eat it! Most of these things we buy usually end up in the waste bin anyway, so think about what you need to buy and which of it is just excess!

Step 5: Use those Leftovers!

Those glorious left overs, don’t be scared by them, they are a gift if there ever was one! Leftovers mean there is no cooking and cleaning efforts in the next few days and you know that food is good, because you ate it yesterday! If the monotony of the same flavours scares you, then shake it up, leftovers can always be turned into other things, like fun pies or soups. The possibilities are endless, you just have to get a little creative! And don’t forget, to make the most of your leftovers make sure to put them away in appropriate containers as soon as possible, you don’t want to leave them on that Christmas table for hours! So yes, it may be a little extra work, but it’s worth the reduced waste and delicious meals for the next couple of days!

Step 6: Donate!

If you fail to control you inner Christmas  fanatic and you do buy all of that food, don’t freak out! There are always other options! As mentioned, the holidays are a time of giving and receiving, a time of selflessness and love, so whatever food you don’t eat, donate it to those who would appreciate it! You can bring it to local shelters or soup kitchens, or give it to people who you know could use the help. This way you have done more than a good deed this  holiday season! The food disparity gap is far too big these days, so food redistribution is a great effort to combat waste and help those in need!

Step 7: Enjoy and think ahead!

Lastly, have fun, enjoy your Christmas and any other holidays you are celebrating, enjoy your families and all the twinkly lights, but remember, your good deeds don’t have to be reserved for this special month, so think about it and make efforts to prevent future food waste in your home and do what you can to fix that horrible food disparity that is omnipresent in our world. Don’t wait for a Christmas miracle to happen, be your own Christmas miracle and make that difference, however small it is it will always be valuable!

Today in our crowdfunding recipe series we would like to celebrate the oven! A multi use wonderland for any chef or cook, the oven is perhaps the most versatile and helpful tool in the kitchen, and many of those who cook would dare to say one of the most valuable tools. It can commonly be misinterpreted that the oven can only be used for baking or cooking single items in. The oven can serve to roast, to steam, as a dehydrator, a slow cooker and many more functions. Similarly, a wide variety of meals can also be made in the oven starting with breakfast and leading all the way to dinner and dessert. The oven can also be an efficient use of your energy and time as you can use your oven for multiple dishes at the same time and leave food to cook for longer periods of time, providing you more time to do other  things. It is safe to say the oven might just be the magical tool we never knew we had.

In this post I want to set out and show you all the wonderful ways to use the oven and in that way prove why our crowdfunding campaign is so important and that we at TBYW could really use a new oven as an addition to our awesome kitchen. With a new oven we will become more efficient, we will be able to process a lot more vegetables and other foods, which would otherwise end up in dumps or landfill and even more simplistically than that, we will be able to serve you better, tastier food that will wow your taste buds like never before. As is with all things, that which is old must eventually be replaced, the same is the story of our oven, it has served its time long, well and graciously, but now it is definitely time for an upgrade, which we hope our campaign will allow us to do through your donations. If you donate, you will be helping yourself, us, and your neighborhood in fighting the good fight. There is much to be done in the way of reducing food waste, and improving our kitchen brings us one step closer in being able to do things better, faster and tastier. So without further ado, I want to share a couple of recipes and ‘tips and tricks’ on how to use your oven’s magical potential.

Before the recipes, I want to point out a couple of ways to keep your oven efficient while maximizing its potential! When cooking in the oven multitask, cook two or three things at the same time. Keep your oven clean, which will maximize airflow and cook your food faster, which uses less energy. Turn it off before you are finished because the residual heat can remain in your over for a long amount of time meaning your meals can finish cooking while the oven is cooling off. Try not to open the door when its in use as you can loose several degrees of warmth by doing that. Make good use of the racks, they are there for a good reason. So if a recipe indicates the use of the top, bottom or middle rack, do so, because different items cook quicker based on their position in the oven. When you can, cover your dishes as it will increase their cooking speed. These tricks can greatly increase the efficiency of your oven but in a similar fashion, they can improve the quality of your food. In the future, be smart when cooking with your oven, and have fun because we should always enjoy our food. Now that you have your oven knacks, here are two fun and interesting ways to keep some ingredients lasting much longer all with the use of your trusty oven!

Picture: © Casadefruta

Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are delicious, healthy and an incredibly easy way to prolong the shelf life of fruits and some vegetables which you might otherwise throw away. So when you have bought or collected too much fruit, be they apricots, figs, barriers, grapes, tomatoes, etc, the list goes on and on, you can dry the leftovers with these simple steps. You can choose any fruits you fancy and not only will this help you save your fruit from being ruined, it will allow your summer fruit paradise to last slightly longer into your cold, baron winter. Since its best to buy fruits in season, this is a great way to preserve them and make them last even longer. Here are the steps you have to take to make full use of your oven to dry those wonderful fruits:

  1. Wash and dry your fruits (use overly ripe ones or those on the verge).
  2. Remove any pits or seeds and  stems.
  3. Cut them up if that is what you prefer, whole fruits work too, may just take longer to dry.
  4. To keep them looking perfect, take the washed and deseeded fruits and soak them in some water and lemon juice for about 10 – 15 minutes, then remove and dry your fruit.
  5. Make sure your oven is preheated to about 50-70 degrees, when drying you want fairly low temperatures, but you don’t want them too low because the moisture needs to be removed completely.
  6. Put baking parchment on a baking tray and arrange your fruits in single lines and make sure no fruit is in contact as it will slow the drying process. If you wish, cover the fruits with a silicon liner or another baking tin to prevent them from curling up as they dry.
  7. Close your oven door and rotate the fruit every 2 hours.
  8. It is important to know different fruits take different amounts of time to dry. Similarly, people have different preferences, some enjoy that their dried fruit has some flesh left on it, others like a completely dry product, so this part is up to you. A rough guideline for you is that most pitted fruits take around 6-8 hours to dry, while apricots take 10-12 hours and things like citrus peels take about 8-10. But most importantly keep and eye on them, until they reach the dryness level of your reference.
  9. Once you are happy with your fruit take it out of the oven and place in a plastic container to ‘cure’ it, this just means leave the fruit for 4-5 days to sit in the container to ensure that any extra moisture is evaporated. Shake them up once or twice a day and after the 5th day your dried fruit is ready to be devoured. These fruits can last from 10 months to a year, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your easy oven dried treats, but lets face it, if you are anything like me they will be devoured in days or maybe even hours!

Picture: © The Guardian

Breadcrumbs/Croutons
Who doesn’t love a good crouton in their soup or salad? And what is a crouton? Bread! Bread is one of the most commonly disposed foods, dubbed a basic item, bread gets thrown away on a daily basis. Since it is not considered a fancy or luxurious item, people have no issues with wasting bread, which seems absurd since leftover bread has so much potential to be made into so many wonderful things which include luscious meals such as: french toast (which is always best with older bread) bread and butter pudding, crumbs, croutons and so many more options. In this post I want to introduce you to the wonderful world of breadcrumbs and croutons. Since I can remember, my grandmother has been making breadcrumbs in this old fashioned, non wasteful, delicious way. All you need is old bread and an oven! It couldn’t be simpler, yet you can change it up in so many ways. My grandma has thought me many tricks in the kitchen and I am always taken aback by her ability to waste little to none food. This practice stemming from her childhood where they could not afford to waste food, has remained in her psyche for years to come. In her words, “why waste something that’s perfectly good?” I think we all could learn a thing or two from that and because of her innovative yet ‘old school’ way of dealing with food I want to share her bread ways with you, not to mention she makes amazing loaves! But back to those leftovers.

Picture: © Blenderbabes

For the most basic breadcrumbs or croutons all you need is to take your old bread and cut it up into even cubes of your preference, the smaller the cubes the quicker the drying time. What you want to do is lay out these cubes onto a baking sheet and put them in a dry dark space until the bread naturally starts to harden, this way you are starting the crumbing process without using all the extra energy but make sure it does not start to mold, which is why you need a dark dry place. Once your bread starts to harden after a day or two you can now put your oven on a low setting, about 50-70 degrees which will start toasting it. Keep checking on your bread every 15 minutes or so and when you have perfectly golden crunchy bread squares you know they are ready to come out. Now you can leave them as they are or you can take them and grind them up finely into prefect breadcrumbs which will last you for months. However, if you are in more of a rush and don’t have a day or two for drying, you can take those chopped bread leftover cubes and immediately put them in a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil and any herbs/spices that you fancy and put them in the oven at around 180-200 degrees for about 10 minutes. Make sure you check on them as they can burn easily and nobody likes a burnt crouton. I have played around with countless  variations, where I have added Parmesan cheese or dried tomatoes and herbs to spice up my croutons. When you are pressed for time, this faster technique works like a charm, thanks to your trusty old oven.

These are just two of hundreds of techniques and ways to use your wonderful oven, so don’t stop there keep exploring and paying great respect to this wonderful machine. Keep, roasting, baking, steaming, dehydrating and anything else you fancy, but don’t forget to be mindful of the waste you could be avoiding by using the oven in a clever way. And don’t forget, talk to the people in your life, they may surprise you with the knowledge of old or new tips and tricks on how to make delicious but non wasteful meals. I sure am going back to talk to my grandma because I know there is a lot more where these recipes came from. And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to support our kickstarter efforts on YOU CARING as every little effort counts, the more you donate the sooner our oven becomes a reality. So keep cooking and keep sharing, so we can make a difference together.

 

To go along with our crowdfunding endeavor, we decided to start a crowdfunding recipe series! This series will outline healthy, no waste vegan and vegetarian recipes that showcase and outline the use of certain cooking equipment that we at Taste Before You Waste need to buy and use. These recipes will showcase to he usefulness of these appliances and hopefully encourage or influence you to help us raise the money to buy them. In this way we will be able to work with more food and thus prevent more food items from going to waste. We want you to become aware of the foods you are eating and what you are wasting. As a small digression to show you what we are talking about,  I want to point out Wasted: The story of food waste! a movie created by Anthony Bourdain -a famous chef and adventurer – which outlines the absurdity of food waste that exists throughout the world. The aim of this documentary is to involve the cooking community, chefs and restaurateurs to show people that they can make delicious, nutritious and non wasteful meals out of food that most us would throw away. It’s an incredibly smart film, which uses the power and knowledge of the world’s most famous chefs to identify that there is a problem. It seems paradoxical, as most high end chefs and restaurants usually make a lot of food waste, but it is precisely why this film matters. These people are stepping up and saying we have a problem! They are the leading faces in the food industry and so maybe people will listen to what they have to say! Bourdain has put his twist on the movie and without a doubt it will be the fast paced all immersive experience that he always provides in his documentaries and series! So go watch the movie, get inspired and come back to this recipe series. Not only make the recipes that we will present for you, but get out there and make a change in your life, in your neighborhood, city or town and join us at TBYW to support our crowdfunding campaign where you can win some of our ‘merch’ and other incredible gifts. Similarly, be aware of our t-shirt design competition where the winning shirt will be featured in our crowdfunding campaign, so if you design a shirt and support our campaign you and your friends can win and wear that shirt with pride. So without further ado lets talk about the mighty food processor!

As mentioned, one of our most needed appliances in our TBYW kitchen is the mighty food processor! The best friend of any cook or chef and especially any vegetarian and vegan. It is a very versatile machine which can make, dough’s, pastes, juices, crumbs and more. It acts as a slicer, a juicer, a dough kneading machine all in one. It allows us to make wonderfully tasting food for a large amount of people which is exactly what we need at TBYW. The processor is useful in all thee meal stages! It’s very good for starters, mains and desserts! As I mentioned it has an array of functions as it slices and chops vegetables, grinds nuts, seeds, dried fruits and more. It can shred cheese or vegetables, it can puree and mix dough! Thus for us and for you, the possibilities are endless with this machine, so help us get our hands on one of these incredible machines and donate in our crowdfunding page which opens November 1st on YOUCARING, so be there to help us make an even bigger difference! As an example of the usefulness of this machine I would like to present you with this beautiful and delicious dessert recipe in which you can indulge your taste buds for days to come! If you have any cashews lying around and you don’t know what to use them for, this delicious peanut butter teat is perfect for you!

The first recipe of the series is Peanut butter mini cheesecake!

Picture: Eden Recipes

For the crumb:

  • 280 grams of any dairy biscuit (can be gluten free) I used oreos
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

For the filling

  • 225 grams of cashews (soaked for a few hours or overnight and drained)
  • 60 ml of lemon juice
  • 70 grams of coconut oil (melted)
  • 140 ml of coconut milk (better if you can use the separated cream from the top but the whole milk works too)
  • 118 ml of maple syrup or honey (use 170g of honey)
  • 85 grams of peanut butter (use a natural organic PB crunchy or smooth)

For the ganache:

  • 130 grams of dairy free vegan dark chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 ℃.
    Blitz your biscuits in your Food Processor until you have a nice crumb, then add the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix on low     until blended.
  2. Line your muffin tin with muffin liners or baking parchment. Use one tablespoon of the crust mixture to line the bottom of the muffin liners. Spread the mixture with the back of your spoon until its nice and even.
  3. Bake the crust for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the cashews, lemon juice, coconut milk (or cream scooped from the top), coconut oil, maple syrup or honey and peanut butter to the food processor and mix until its blended and smooth. Your mixture must be perfectly smooth, without any lumps or bits.
  5. Pour evenly onto into the muffin tin, on top of the baked cookie crusts.
  6. For the ganache, bring the 3 tablespoons of coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Once hot pour over the chocolate chips and leave to sit for a couple of minutes. Then stir the mixture together until it is nice and smooth.
  7. Spread the ganache onto your cheesecakes, as much or little as you want.
  8. Top the cheesecakes with any chocolate or PB cups you like and freeze for a coupe of hours.
  9. Take them out of the freezer when ready to eat, let them sit for 10 minutes and enjoy your frozen cheesecake wonder treat!

Wasted Trailer:

 

How The Freezer is My Weapon of Choice in The Battle Against Food Waste

I spend about a year trying to convince my friends to freeze their bread, after finding green, white, hairy unrecognisably moldy filled bags on countertops one too many times. Now that I’ve finally succeeded, it’s time for me to share my love for the freezer with the rest of the world and to “educate the crowd” (as TBYW always encourages people to do).

Leaving the warm and loving home of my parents to study in Amsterdam forced me to be responsible of my own grocery shopping. Not only did I have to start preparing my own meals, I also had to plan ahead and keep track of the food hidden in the back of my fridge. Leaving a loaf of bread on the kitchen counter did not nearly work as well as it did at home, there was no always-hungry brother to eat eight slices a day. I lived alone and after some time the bread went dry, a little later it got that lovely shade of green we all fear.

This unfortunate event helped me realise I could not live with green bread for the next three years. While they do sell half loafs of bread, even these were too much for me to consume within its life time. This is when the freezer came into the picture. I could buy full loafs (because this is cheaper compared to half loafs) without worrying about having to dispose it at the end of the week. Now each morning I take two slices out of the freezer, let it defrost for 10 minutes and I get to enjoy fresh tasting bread each and every time! If you simply cannot wait for the bread to defrost, don’t worry, you can always heat it up in the microwave, oven or toaster for a fast and delicious fix.

Unfortunately my struggles with rotten food didn’t end with bread. Grocery shopping for one person is difficult and often leads to more food than I can eat by myself. Again the freezer came to my rescue. After two years I consider myself to be a serious freezer expert (AKA I’ve become very skilled at stacking as much food as possible in my 16L freeze compartment). Therefore, I will now share exactly what can be frozen in order to save both food and money!

  1. Cheese

I love cheese, however consuming a whole block can sometimes be a challenge. When I know it’s towards the end of its consumption life-time I grate it up and put it in a bag in the freezer. The frozen cheese is still perfect  for pasta or oven dishes. It is also possible to freeze entire blocks of cheese.

  1. Sauces and soups

When I cook and entire pan of pasta sauce, curry or soup, it lasts for days! However, eating the same thing day after day is a little boring as it lacks variety. I usually leave one portion in the fridge to consume within the next three days. The rest goes into portion sized containers and gets stacked in the freezer. Move the frozen container into the fridge the night before you plan to consume it and you’ve got yourself a home cooked meal the next day.

  1. Oven dishes 

Oven dishes such as lasagne, mac and cheese or other casseroles can all go into the freezer. Again, I put these in individual portions and heat them up in the oven once they are defrosted.

  1. Baked goods 

Pies, cakes, and cookies can be put in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  1. Pastries and dough

Have left over shortcrust pastry? Want fresh cookies whenever you like? Leftover dough and pastry can easily be frozen for up to three months. Last week I made a tart with the same pastry I used for my birthday’s lemon meringue pie, note: my birthday is in February. If you want fresh cookies 24/7 you can freeze balls of cookie dough and bake them anytime you want. Just make sure you freeze them separately before you add them in a bag together so they don’t stick. Bake them approximately two minutes longer than you normally would for the best results.

  1. Broths and stocks 

Like soups and sauces, this is also perfectly freezable. If you want to know more about making your own stock, be sure to check out this blog post by Sophie!

  1. Juice and smoothies

Lemon juice, apple juice, all juice, every juice. Freeze them! But not in a glass bottle, because liquids expand during freezing which can cause the glass to break.

  1. Fruits and veggies 

Just like the cookie dough it’s best to first freeze it separately before adding it together in a bag. Frozen fruits are great for smoothies and ice cream! The vegetables might lose their crispiness in the freezer and become a little soggy, however, they are still perfect for soups, sauces, or green smoothies.

  1. Meat, fish and meat replacements

You can freeze this both cooked and uncooked.

  1. Milk and butter

This was a real discovery for me! Milk was the product that I had to discard most often, and that’s not a problem anymore. Just make sure you shake your milk well before you use it. I would also not suggest freezing milk if you plan to drink it. It’s best to use it for baked goods and pancakes after it has been frozen. You can just let the butter defrost in the fridge and it should be good to go.

  1. Bread

What would my list be without bread? All breads can be frozen; also baked items such croissants can go into the freezer. And the best part is, if you freeze it when it’s fresh, it will taste fresh when you take it out!

Some (in my opinion) important food items you should not put in the freezer:

  1. Yogurt and sour cream

These two products completely change texture in the freezer, not very nice.

  1. Potatoes

Due to their high water content, freezing uncooked potatoes doesn’t work very well; however, mashed potatoes or potato curry can definitely be frozen.

While it may have taken me a year to convince my stubborn friends, I hope many of you will be convinced right away. Give the freezer a chance by freezing at least one item on the list that you’ve never frozen before, the benefits may surprise you!

Finally, for the longest time I believed that items could not be frozen twice. While this is true for many things, such as raw meats etc. This is not true for bread! Even though it may become drier every time you freeze it, it can definitely be refrozen. Besides, dry bread is perfect for those amazing bread balls we all love so much. So what are you waiting for? Love your freezer and freeze, freeze, freeze!

 

(c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

Some fruits and vegetables should not be stored next to each other because they influence each other’s ripening process. What causes the fast ripening? Who influences whom? Which fruits and veggies are bad neighbours? Find it out in this week’s blogpost. If you store your products advisedly, they will last longer. Subsequently you won’t have to discard food because it went bad faster than you expected. Read, think, and fight food waste:

What causes the fast ripening? – Ethylene

Ethylene is a naturally occurring gas which is odourless, and colourless. Some fruit produce this gas during their ripening process, therefore it is also called a ripening hormone. Its main effect is the softening of fruits and vegetables. Ethylene makes your bananas sweet and your peaches smell deliciously. On the other hand it can cause plants to die. This is due to the fact that ethylene decreases the plant’s chlorophyll. What effect occurs is depending on the condition and characteristics of the plant. In short: For some organism the gas might be harmful, for others beneficial. Its advantage of stimulating the ripening process is commercially used. Tomatoes, pears, and bananas are usually harvested before they are ripe. Under controlled temperature conditions, certain humidity levels and ethylene they can be ripened. This means that they ripe in the same pace which results in an uniform appearance.

Which fruits and veggies produce large quantities of ethylene?

If you keep those fruits close to other fruits and veggies, they will ripen faster. You can use that knowledge if you want to stimulate the ripening process of unripe fruits. Keep in mind: Storing fruits and veggies that produce high quantities of ethylene in the fridge before they are ripe might lead to a loss of taste. Be especially careful with avocados, bananas, and tomatoes. They won’t develop their full taste under cool fridge conditions. That would be a shame!

Which fruits and veggies produce small quantities of ethylene?

You can store these fruits and vegetables close to each other. They won’t influence each other’s ripening process because they do not produce a lot of the ripening hormone.

Bad Neighbours are fruits and:


Be aware of what type of fruit causes others to ripen quicker. Also take a look on our article about how to keep fruits and veggies longer. Last remark on food storage: Separate potatoes and onions! Potatoes sprout quicker if onions are kept close. However, feel free to put apples and potatoes next to each other. Apples slow down the sprouting of potatoes. If you keep this in mind, you will be delighted by their long life and enjoy perfectly edible fruits and veggies for a long time. Tell your family and friends! Help us to spread awareness about unnecessary food waste.

For more detailed information on the fruit ripening gas ethylene click here.

ResQ in action

(c) Timo Beck

You use them to navigate through the city, to communicate with friends and to search for the love of your life – mobile apps. Their field of application is so diverse; why not use them to make the world a better place? Many people before had this exact same thought. Today we can benefit from their ingenuity because they developed apps to fight food waste. Taste Before You Waste checked out the most innovative apps that you could use to reduce discarded food yourself.

ResQ:

There is too much food left from the buffet at a hotel? The smoothies at the juice bar should be consumed before tomorrow? All those unwanted goodies would find their way into the trash bin if Tuure Parkkinen would not have come up with a cool idea. He is the CEO of the Finnish app ResQ, which aims to connect restaurateurs with potential customers. ResQ is available in 22 European cities and is currently entering the Malaysian market. In Amsterdam you will find more than 55 restaurants, cafés, bakeries and bars participating in the fight against food waste. They offer meals at a reduced price that would otherwise have been thrown out. You can check the deals through the ResQ app. It’s available for iOS, Android and as a web app.

How does it work?

  • Open ResQ and allow the app to locate you.
  • You will see all restaurants that participate.
  • Set your dietary preferences. You would like to rescue vegetarian or vegan food? You can filter deals based on that.
  • Order the food and pay through the app.
  • Pick up your goodie at the restaurant.

Tip: In most cases it is no problem to eat your meal straight away at the restaurant instead of taking it with you. Just ask them! If you are curious, ask for the surprise menu. The chef will prepare you an individual meal from yummy leftover products. The ResQ approach has great potential to use resources effectively – for restaurateurs as well as for customers. Save yourself some money and save the planet some troubles.

Thuisafgehaald

Getting to know your neighbours, trying new cuisines and preventing food from getting thrown out? Thuisafgehaald combines all three. Hungry people can check out meals through the app or the website. If you cooked too much, simply share your meals with others. Founder Marieke Hart thinks the world can be made a better place if people are willing to share food. Her vision is to bring people together and this has also a practical side effect: Food won’t get wasted.  The service is available all over the Netherlands

How does it work?

  • Register at Thuisafgehaald and indicate your postcode.
  • You will get daily notifications about available dishes in your neighbourhood.
  • You can also actively search for meals. If you found anything appealing, click the pick-up button “afhalen”.
  • You will get the exact address and contact information.
  • Pick up your meal and meet your neighbour.

You want to know more about how to save food through Thuisafgehaald? Watch their clip on youtube.

 

Too Good To Go

The name says it all: It’s all about food that’s too good to become waste.  The mission is simple: Save food, save money, save the planet. The Danish Too Good To Go company offers its service in Denmark, Norway, the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Australia. Unfortunately the app is not available in the Netherlands yet. In all other seven destinations Too Good To Go connects local restaurants with customers.

How does it work?

  • Download the app or register on their website.
  • Search for restaurants in your area.
  • Select a reduced meal and pay via credit card.
  • Pick up the food within the designated time.
  • Enjoy!

Olio

Love food, hate waste. Olio wants you to care about the environment by sharing leftovers with others. The app is available for households and businesses.

How does it work if you offer food?

  • Take a photo and add a description of the food product.
  • Provide pick up details.
  • Welcome a hungry person with a smile.

How does it work if you want food?

  • Install the app or visit their website.
  • Look for offers. You do not have to pay.
  • Pick up your product and enjoy.

These four apps are only few examples of many food saving apps out there. We from Taste Before You Waste checked them out for you. Because we like their concept, we share them. You are currently using different apps to reduce food waste? Tell us about them. Let’s fight food waste together by using smart technology!