Did you know that roughly 1/3 of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year —approximately 1.3 billion tonnes—gets lost or wasted? To put the amount into perspective, that is enough food to feed 3 billion people a year. Canada throws out approximately 40% of the food that we grow. The average Canadian each year contributes 170kg (873 lbs.) per person to that pile of waste. It’s disconcerting, isn’t it, to see how much food is wasted. In fact, a great deal of this waste happens before we even see the food in our grocery stores.
With the prices of food steadily increasing, it makes sense both financially, as well as environmentally, to reduce our food waste wherever possible. ‘Here are some simple practices we all can incorporate into our daily routine to utilize more of what we eat:
- When peeled, products like broccoli stalks—which many people throw away—are beautifully tender and taste exactly like the florets.
- Chicken bones, either cooked or raw, can be made into easy, delicious stock for soups and sauces.
- DON’T peel vegetables like carrots, zucchini or potatoes. The bulk of the nutrients in those vegetables are just under the skin! If you must peel them, add these food scraps and leftovers to a broth and create a healthy,flavourful soup or stew.
- Only purchase small amounts of perishable foodstuffs at any one time to ensure they will all get consumed before they decay.
- Make sure food is properly stored or frozen to ensure a longer shelf life.
First In, First Out [FIFO]
Professional Cook students at Camosun are trained to practice FIFO. It is imperative for them to get into the habit of utilizing and maximizing the value of all the food they have on hand because they are working in a commercial environment. You can do the same. You don’t have to be a professional cook to manage what you buy to save substantial amounts of food and, subsequently, your hard-earned money!
For example, before shopping, I spend a few minutes to take an inventory of the contents of my fridge. I focus on proteins and fresh produce first, as these are where most food dollars are wasted. Once I have an idea of what’s in my fridge, I consider what I will be cooking that night or the next day. I stay aware of how much and what kind of food I am throwing out. My shopping list takes into consideration how much food is left over since my last purchases and what went bad in that time frame.
TIP: “Best Before” dates are only a guide for food quality, not food safety. Eating food a few days past it’s due date means you may taste a slight difference in the flavour or the texture. But, it’s still perfectly safe to eat.
Find all of Steven’s contact info on the Camosun Culinary Arts portal listing page here on GoWestShore.
Char Siu Pork Ramen Stir Fry
Use any combination of veggies and meats, and adjust
to your liking. Add hardest ones first, softer ones later
to prevent over or under cooking. Yield: 4-6 portions
30ml 2 tbsp Vegetable or sesame oil
3 Garlic cloves, minced
10g 2 tsp Fresh ginger, grated
300 1 1/3 cups Meat (optional) cooked or raw beef,
to to pork, chicken etc., ham, sausage,
500g 2 cups deli meat etc. cut into cubes or slices
1/2 Onion, sliced thick
3 sticks Celery, sliced on bias
2 Medium carrots, sliced on bias
1 piece Broccoli cut florets off, peel, slice stems
4-5 Mushrooms, sliced thick
1 Bok choy, sliced on bias
8-10 Snow peas, cut in half
1/2 Green pepper, batons
1/2 Red pepper, batons
80ml 1/2 cup Chicken or vegetable stock
(water will work too)
100g 1 cup Bean sprouts
25g 1/4 cup Green onions, sliced on bias
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large sauté pan or wok. Add oil and, when it starts to smoke (10 seconds!), add garlic and ginger and cook for 20 to 30 seconds. If using RAW meat, add it now and cook an extra minute.
- Add onion, celery, carrot, broccoli stems (only). Cook 2 to 3 minutes moving stirring constantly.
- Add stock and remaining vegetables (except sprouts and green onions), cover with a lid to steam for 1 or 2 minutes. If using COOKED meat, add it now.
- Add sprouts, green onions, adjust seasoning and serve. Finish with sesame seeds, if desired.