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!

 

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Photo: TBYW 

Up to one third of all food produced in the world is wasted per year. These circumstances are not new. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has already shed light on the tremendous amount of food wasted in 2011. Has the situation changed in six years? We do not know for sure, however chances are high that the amount of discarded food has increased. Food waste is currently part of our everyday life. The only who can change that are you and me. Therefore Taste Before You Waste presents you with ten simple tricks to avoid and reduce food waste within your daily routine.

  1. Buy small amounts of food. You’ve got a market, a Turkish, Indian or regular store just around the corner? Great! Go there and buy loose vegetables and fruits. You avoid plastic packaging and you can choose the exact amount of goodies that you need. If you buy small amounts of food, you are less likely to forget about them in your fridge or storage.
  1. Go shopping more than once a week. If you just need half a loaf of bread, then just buy half a loaf of bread. Buy the other half on another day.
  1. Designate a box in your fridge with food that has to be eaten first. Leftovers will no longer be forgotten in the back of your fridge. The extraordinary combination of ingredients in this box will spark your imagination with ideas for dishes. Pre-cooked beetroot, half an apple and roasted potatoes? – Sounds like a perfect base for a soup for me!
  1. Every time you waste food, write it down and pin it on your fridge. Food won’t be discarded anonymously anymore. You can remind yourself what kind of food you dumped and why. Keeping records of your food waste will help you to prevent it. Mindfulness is the key!
  1. Most obvious but also effective; make a list before you go shopping! The variety of products in the supermarkets is simply overwhelming. Help yourself with a bit of structure in the form of a simple shopping list. Trust me; it will make you feel accomplished if you manage to go shopping without buying anything that is not on the list.
  1. Plan your meals around the ingredients in your fridge and pantry. Most of the time you won’t have to buy every single ingredient stated in a recipe in order to prepare a certain dish. Feeling adventurous today? Then go ahead and improvise! You probably already have a required substitute at home. Help the environment and save yourself a lot of money by simply checking the Cook’s Thesaurus, a cooking encyclopaedia which suggests food substitutes.
  1. Love your freezer and feed it with leftovers. The expiration date has no power at – 18 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind to also make a list of food you put into your freezer. The ‘out of sight, out of mind strategy’ does not prevent food waste, it only postpones it.
  1. Make smoothies! Chop it, squeeze it, shred it. You will get the most out of your fruits and vegetables if you blend them. Smoothies are a super quick breakfast or a delicious and healthy snack during the day. Guess what! You can also freeze your favourite smoothie composition.
  1. Make your own soup stock. Put a container in your freezer. Every piece of leftover vegetable will find its way into that bin. You chopped too many onions? You don’t want to compost fresh celery leaves? Add them into the bin. When this container is filled, boil water in a large pot and add the left-over veggies. You can season your soup stock with spices and garlic. Simmer on low heat for at least 2 hours. Simply compost the veggies and fill the flavourful soup stock in jars. Note: If you freeze your soup stock in jars, only fill them up to ¾. The liquid will expand during freezing.
  1. Last but not least, remember sharing is caring! Share food with your roommates, friends and family if you cannot finish it on your own. They will promise you eternal gratitude, or they will simply love you. Either one is great.

Try to implement these ten simple tricks to minimize your own food waste.  One third of all food produced in the world does not need to be wasted if you actively help!

Photo: Satapat/Shutterstock

Photo: Satapat/Shutterstock

One of the most important keys to reduce your food waste is to know how to treat them in a way so that they will stay good the longest. There are many, many tricks to do so, but here’s a few that I have found the most useful:

  1. Treat your veggies like flowers!

Noticed that leafy greens go bad really soon after you bought them? There is actually a really easy way to prolong their lives; Instead of just having them lay around, put them in a vase as if it were a nice bouquet of flowers! It’s time to treat them with some more respect, because even though they might not look as pretty as most flowers, they are just as worthy of your love and care. (Note: this also works for many other vegetables such as leek, spring onions, asparagus, artichoke and many many more. The rule of thumb is basically: Does it look like it can suck up water? If yes, then put in a vase.)

  1. Don’t keep bread in a plastic bag!

The only valid reason to ever throw out bread, is when it has become moldy. So how do we prevent this? Simply not putting it in a plastic bag, but in a tin box, paper bag, or kitchen towel instead. This way, you can store it much much longer and when it gets old, it will only get really dry, but never moldy! If you’re curious about what to do with dry bread, have a look at our Bread Recipes; There’s plenty of options! (Note: You can also keep your slices of bread in the freezer and they will never get old.)

  1. Take out the rotten ones!

Do not let your good pieces hang out with the bad ones: They will turn them bad as well! In order to prevent this, just make sure to remove the rotten pieces on time (if they’re not too bad, you can simply put them in the blender to make some juice, sauce or, if frozen, ice cream).

  1. Separate your veggies from your fruits!

Like cats and dogs, most of them don’t go well together. Most fruits contain enzymes that speed up the ripening process, so you’ll want your bananas and apples (etc.) to stay away from the vegetables. Simply storing them in different cabinets or different drawers in the fridge will do.

  1. Keep your potatoes with your apples, but away from unions!

This trick is an exception to the previous rule. Apples will in fact decrease the potatoes tendency to sprout, whereas unions actually speed up the process.

  1. Put your overripe bananas in the freezer for ice cream!

If, for example, they look very brown and you don’t feel like a smoothie at that very moment, or you are about to leave for a small holiday trip and won’t be able to finish them, just store the bananas in your freezer. You can take them out anytime later, peel and cut them, and after blending them a bit, you’ll have perfect banana ice cream! No need to add sweetener, considering the fact that the bananas were overripe and therefore very rich of taste. Just one last thing: They will turn even browner once they freeze, but this means nothing. It’s just the peal changing color, but the inside stays all the same.

Go save some Fruit & Veggies!

Hoorah! Holidays! Feast feast feast!

As we’re celebrating Christmas and New Year, we often want to eat fancily and have dinner tables full of food….which subsequently leads to a problem: Food waste!In a world where almost 1 out of 7 people goes to bed hungry, this kind of waste is a criminal.

food waste factSo talking about food waste… in general, there are various causes of food waste and it happens on different stages; production, processing, and also consumption. All actors in the food chain have a role to prevent and reduce food waste; from those who produce foods (such as farmers), those who make foods available (food retailers), and ultimately consumers!

So as consumers that also causes this problem, we should start to re-think and re-act to be part of the solution. There are actually lots of small steps that we can do to prevent food waste; whether when we’re doing groceries at shops or cooking at home.

 

1.Smart shopping.

Before heading to the market, you can plan your menu and make grocery list first. By doing this, you will likely avoid buying things that you don’t need. You can also use mobile apps to help you organize your meals. There are several handy apps for your gadget such as cooksmarts, pepperplate, mealplan,  and mealboard.

2. Realistic shopping.

We love promo and discount!  Many shops offered cheaper price if we are willing to buy fruits or veggies in bigger quantity. But afterwards, we realized that we bought too much items and throw them away. To avoid wasting them, be realistic when you shop! Reconsider if you really need to buy those or you’re just buying them because of the promo/discount being offered?

3. Buy funny-looking products.

Who knows that Don’t judge a book by its cover is also applicable for buying groceries. We often see that many fruits and vegetables looked not-so-pretty and we think that they must taste bad and dangerous for our body. Apparently, most of the time these items are perfectly okay to be eaten. Also by buying them, we help avoiding these foods to be thrown away by the shop owners because no one would eventually buy them.

 

4. First in First out.

You can use First In First Out (FIFO) principle to help you organize your foods.  When you open your fridge, see something that will be expired soon and make them as a priority for your next meal.

5. Eat left-overs.

When you feel already full, don’t throw your food immediately. Instead of throwing them away, put them in a bag and store them in the fridge.  You can eat them later when you’re hungry. This also applies when you’re eating outside.

6. Store better.

When you leave chips, cereals or crackers outside, sometimes its taste weird after few days. This means that you’re not storing them appropriately. You can try to store your food in airtight containers so they last longer.

7. Make pickles.

Pickles are yummy and it’s actually quite easy to make them! Both fruits and vegetables can be turned into pickles with easy methods.

8. Donate to other people.

When you don’t feel like eating your foods, you can give them to your flat mates or your neighbors, or even people in the street. Most people will accept them happily.

9. Compost.

Lastly, you turn your food waste into compost. Rather than discarding them, you can compost certain foods and turn it into nutrient-rich fertilizer.

 

Taste Before You Waste’s cooking team prepares a delicious vegetarian meal every Thursday from food that’s picked up and saved from the waste bin. We can never predict what kind of menu we are going to cook on one of those evenings. Sometimes we only get cucumbers and plums, sometimes just big boxes with tomatoes, mangos, and heaps of ginger. Still – and I am surprised every time we start serving dinner – we manage to put something tasty and nutritious on the table, often including soup, snacks, and dessert.

So how do we do it? A TBYW cook needs to be creative. The coming months you will find blogs with tips and recipes that will inspire you to bring some creativity into your own no-waste kitchen.

When you get a random combination of fruits and vegetables, however, cooking by recipe gets difficult. Creative cooks make up something themselves! Tomato mango salsa? Why not. Cucumber curry? Of course. I will try to recreate the recipes of the dishes we prepare in the TBYW kitchen to show what we can do with rejected food. Most importantly though, I want to inspire picky eaters and home cooks to clean out their fridges and start frying, tossing, cooking, and blending together all that good stuff into something delicious. You’ll find that it’s actually not that hard at all. If we can prepare dinner for more than twenty people with “ugly” fruits and vegetables, you can do it too.

First,  some basics:

  •  Trust your senses. Look, smell, feel, and taste your food before you throw something out.  Although a lot of perfectly good food ends up in our kitchen, we also get some sad-looking vegetables and fruits to deal with. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we throw out all of them. And you shouldn’t either! A soggy tomato may not be perfect for your salad, but will still do fine in a soup, dip, or sauce.
  • Be realistic. You don’t want to get sick.
  • Wash your vegetables and fruits, cut out the icky parts and continue!

What usually follows in our kitchen is a lot of peeling and cutting. Then, the real cooking can finally begin.

People who have visited our dinners at De Meevaart more than once may have started to recognize a pattern. There are a couple of ways to easily and successfully prepare vegetables and fruits, that we often use.

For example:

  •  Salad – For the fresher and firmer vegetables. Think of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, avocados, carrot (grated), radishes, spring onion, bell peppers etc., Fruits such as apple, pear, and pomegranate seeds can also make a salad nice and interesting. Add a simple dressing or vinaigrette and/or some toasted seeds or nuts.
  • Soup – Especially for the vegetables that don’t look that pretty anymore. Fry or boil down veggies (with onion and/or garlic), add stock powder and water, let it boil to let the vegetables soften and blend with a stick blender. Season, add spices, and if you like some coconut/soy/dairy cream and toppings like croutons (from old bread) or fresh herbs.
  • Dips, sauces, and spreads – Think of guacamole, baba ganoush (from grilled aubergines), roasted pepper dip, vegetable humus, chutneys etc.
  • Stir-fried vegetables – Throw some vegetables in a heated pan with oil and start frying.
  • Vegetable curry – For example something like this: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/the-no-recipe-curry/. Experiment with different vegetables and spices and create your own blend. Serve with rice or noodles.
  • Oven-roasted and grilled vegetables – Slice them, sprinkle with oil, salt, pepper, spices and put in a hot oven till brown and crispy. Think of potatoes (rinse well and leave the skin), pumpkin, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, aubergine etc.
  •  Smoothies –  Peel. Cut. Mix. Blend. Even some vegetables are popular smoothie ingredients these days.
  • Fruit crumbles and cakes –  With baking, recipes should often be taken more seriously. Look up a basic crumble dough recipe and create your own combination with fruits like berries, stone fruits, apples, and pears.

Most of the recipes that will follow in the coming blogs will be variations of these types of preparations.

A last remark, and perhaps the most important one for creative cooking:

Spice it up. Invest in a basic collection of spices. At the TBYW kitchen we have: ground cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder, garam masala, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, turmeric, salt and black pepper. Other basic products we have in stock are: olive oil,  sunflower oil, flour, vegetable stock/bouillon powder, sugar, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic, onions, and white rice.

With these basic tips and tricks, you’ll get a long way in the creative no-waste kitchen. I would like to invite you to open your fridge and start cooking.

Not convinced, or curious?  Join one of our dinners, or sign up to become part of the cooking team. We’ll show you!