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In this blog you’ll find the five most wasted food products, and some inspiration for what to do with them so they don’t have to go to waste! Find five recipes that are easy and quick to save you time, money and get a delicious meal on the table, following a zero-waste policy. Be a hero in the kitchen and try them!

#1 Bread

Bread & Butter Pudding

240 million slices of bread are thrown in the bin every year. Unbelievable! Let’s fill our bellies instead of bins using the leftover bread to make this amazing bread and butter pudding. Too easy and to good to let it go to waste!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (if you want to keep it vegan, use 2 tablespoons chia seeds that are soaked for 15 mins in 6 tablespoons of water)
  • 6-8 slices of bread
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter (if you want to keep it vegan, use dairy-free margarine)
  • 500-750 ml (dairy-free) milk of any kind you have left in the fridge.
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • 40 grams of chopped dates/raisins
  • 50 grams of jam (any of your taste)

Cooking method

Grease an oven proof dish. Cut the bread into triangles and spread butter/margarine no both sides. Layer half the bread triangles on the base of the dish. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of sugar over the bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon and half of the dates/raisins.

Layer the rest of the bread over the top. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon, and the remaining dates/raisins. Mix the egg/chia seed mixture with 500ml of milk. Gently pour the milk mixture over the bread. Set the pudding aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the milk.

Preheat your oven to 180⁰C.

Once the bread has had time to soak, if there is no milk left, gently tip over another 100-250ml depending on how much liquid was absorbed. The amount of liquid you will need will largely depend on the thickness of your bread. Sprinkle the top of the pudding with the remaining sugar and some more cinnamon. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pudding is just beginning to go slightly golden on top. Remove from the oven, gently spread jam over the top and then place back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Serve and indulge!

#2 Milk

Rice Pudding

When I was younger, I had to drink my glass of milk before going to school. It was supposed to make me strong and healthy and, according to the advertisement in that time, milk was “The White Engine”. Whatever all the opinions on that might be right now, milk remains the number #2 of most wasted food products. Every year we pour 5.9 million glasses of milk down the sink. Rice pudding is a classic example of the easiest, filling recipe you can make and drizzled with cinnamon or honey it makes up for the best plate of comfort food out there.

Ingredients

  • 1 liter of milk
  • 100 grams of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 95 grams of white rice
  • optional: 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • optional: ground cinnamon
  • Optional: roasted nuts

Cooking method

In a large saucepan, combine about 80% of the milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in rice and reduce heat to low. Be sure to adjust the heat so that it is at a gentle simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Mixture should thicken up to the consistency of yogurt. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla (optional).

Let cool and then refrigerate. The last bit of milk is stirred in just before serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. I like to sprinkle some roasted nuts on top, or whatever sweetener I have in my cupboard (raisins, berries, apple etc.)

#3 Potatoes

Potato Soup

5.8 million kilos of potatoes end up in the bin each year. So; before that happens, let’s make this delicious soup of it! Like I promised, it’s easy, fast and only requires a few ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 5 large potatoes
  • 2 green onions, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • Salt and pepper,
  • Water
  • 650 ml of milk (for the vegan version use any plant-based milk)

Cooking method

Peel and roughly chop potatoes. Discard tops and bottoms of green onions and mince the remaining pieces. Add potatoes and onions to a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water. Boil on high for 30 minutes, adding more water to the pot as needed, until potatoes as well cooked and soft. Remove pot from heat and drain the water over a strainer until it is just under the level of your cooked potatoes. Return any onions and basil the strainer catches to the pot.

Add the millk to the potatoes and mash until mostly smooth, leaving a few small chunks for a hearty texture. Add more milk, a dash at a time, until soup reaches your preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste, don’t be shy and use a lot. Return pot to the stove and heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Serve garnished with additional green onions if desired.

#4 Cheese

Pasta Quattro Formaggi

First of all: cheese can last long! Probably longer than you think. Also: don’t be afraid of mould on cheese; you can scrape it off and use it for cooking anyway (disclaimer: I’m not a medical practitioner, this is just from my own experience). Remember; with cheese you can make an easy bechamel sauce, to pour over your cauliflower, or use in lasagna. This can be frozen, too, to preserve it for longer. Keeping it simple, I present to you a four-cheeses pasta, Italian style.

Ingredients

  • 1 package pasta (your choice)
  • 240 ml milk
  • 80 grams of soft cheese of your choice (mozzarella, ricotta)
  • 80 grams of blue cheese of your choice (gorgonzola, Danish blue)
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch white pepper
  • two types of grated cheese of your choice (parmigiano, pecorino,
  • Fine sea salt (to taste)

Cooking method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add whichever type of pasta you choose. tir, bring back to a boil and start timing according to your desired degree of doneness and instructions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat. Add the soft cheeses, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until they are melted and the mixture is homogeneous. Add the nutmeg and white pepper.About 1 minute before the pasta is done, remove it from heat and drain it. Transfer the drained pasta to a large skillet and stir in the milk-and-cheese mixture and the grated cheeses. Cook, shaking the pan continuously and vigorously until the sauce has thickened and the pasta is perfectly al dente and coated in the cheese sauce. Season to taste with fine sea salt.

Serve hot, with additional grated cheese for topping, if desired, and a green salad or vegetables.

#5 Apples

Easy Apple Sauce

1.3 million apples are thrown away. Every. Year. Staggering. And sucha shame for such a great product! Who doesn’t love the apple-break? Store them in a dry and cool place to keep them for longer. Another option is to make apple sauce to go with your vegetables. This is the simplest thing you’ll ever make, maximum outcome. I remember my mom always used to make her own apple sauce and whenever we had dinner guests over it would steal the show.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
  • 180 ml water
  • 40 grams of sugar (use less or more to taste)
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Cooking method

Can you even call this a cooking method? It’s literally; putting everything in a saucepan, heat it over a medium heat for about 15 minutes and mash with a fork/potato masher. Enjoy!

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!

 

Photo: Eva Borkhuis

Ingredients:

  • Old bread, any type of bread works
  • Apples or other fruits if you like
  • Oat milk or any other plant-based liquid (even water works!)
  • Raisins or any other dried fruits
  • Cinnamon
  • Very ripe bananas (optional!)
  • Sugar or any other sweetener (optional!)
  • Nuts (optional!)

 

Method:

  1. Soak the raisins in a small bath of warm water
  2. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces
  3. Mix the soaked raisins with the apple pieces and add a lot of cinnamon and a bit of sugar.
  4. Rip the bread apart into pieces of about 1 cm x 1 cm
  5. Add the moist (either plant-based milk, water, bananas or a bit of everything) and mix it with the bread until the bread pieces become sticky. It’s the easiest to use your hands. If you can make a ball and it sticks together, then you’ve added enough liquid.
  6. Sprinkle as much cinnamon and sugar on the moisty bread mixture as you like and mix it again. Tip: taste a piece of bread and decide if you like it sweeter or with more cinnamon.
  7. When you’re happy with the taste, cover the cake tin with baking paper and form the crusty base by pressing it into the cake tin.
  8. Now fill it up completely with the apple-raisin mix.
  9. Sprinkle some tiny pieces of bread on top if you want to make “apple-crumble pie”.
  10. If you like, you can put some nuts, sugar or cinnamon on top as a finishing touch.
  11. Optional: Serve the pie while it’s still warm, with ice cream, whipped cream and/or fresh fruits on the side.

quiche

Photo: Luana Carretto

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 4 handfuls dry or leftover bread, in 1 x 1 cm cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs of your choice (optional)
  • Water

For the filling

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • As many leftover vegetables as you can fit in your baking tray, for example: spinach, leak, mushrooms and many more
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 handfuls grated semi-hard cheese, for example: gouda, cheddar or gruyere
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs of your choice, recommended: rosemary, oregano or cumin
  • Nuts or seeds (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 °C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the bread in small cubes of about 1 x 1 cm and add a generous pour of olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. Mix everything and slowly add water and knead until the mixture becomes sticky enough to hold a shape. Press a thin layer of dough all along the bottom and sides of the lined baking tray. Bake this base for 15 mins in the preheated oven or until dry to the touch. In the meantime dice up the onion and garlic and sauté in a large frying pan. Once the onions are translucent, add the other veggies and spice them up to your own taste. Let them sizzle at medium heat until some of the moisture has evaporated from the veggies and they become a bit sticky. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and grated cheese, then throw the sautéed veggies in the mix. Pour into the pre-baked pastry and sprinkle with nuts or seeds (if using). Bake golden-brown for another 20 mins or until a knife comes out clean. Serve hot or cold with a seasonal salad. Even more delicious as leftovers the next day!

Photo: Carly Wollaert

Ingredients

  • Dry or leftover bread, sweet buns and/or croissants
  • Milk or oat milk raisins, nuts or chocolate (optional)
  • Fruit (for example apple, pear, banana)
  • Sugar (preferably brown)
  • Spices of your choice, suggested: cinnamon, ginger

Method

Preheat the oven to 175 °C. Cut the bread, buns and croissants in small cubes of about 1 x 1 cm and grate or mash the fruit (depending on the consistency). Per regular sized mixing bowl of bread you will need about two large handfuls of grated or mashed fruit. Mix the bread cubes with the fruit, add nuts, dried fruits, chocolate (if using) and a generous shake of spices. Then slowly add the (oat) milk until the mixture becomes sticky enough to hold its shape, but not too mushy. Feel free to add ingredients to your own taste, the general rule is, if the dough tastes good, the balls will be delicious. Roll the mixture into small balls with a diameter of about 3 cm, place on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with (brown) sugar. Bake these babies for 20 minutes and leave to cool for another 10 minutes. Best served warm with fruit compote, creamy dip or just by themselves. Bon Appetit!

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