As we begin the holiday season and consider the amounts of food we shovel into our pie-holes, one can’t help but think about the refrigerators of holidays past and marvel at the pounds of food we've thrown away. During the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year’s) Americans produce five million more pounds of food waste than any other point in the year. 40% of food goes to waste annually. According to a study by Unilever, last christmas day British households threw away the equivalent of 4.2 million dinners. That’s 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts, 11.9 million carrots and 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding. If just 1/3 of either nation’s annual waste was redirected instead of tossed out, millions of people across the globe could be fed.
Here are a few helpful zero-waste tip to practice this holiday season to minimize food waste.
STAY FRESH TO DEF
Avoid making your food out of the box or can and use fresh ingredients instead. This minimizes packaging and your food will not only be healthier but it’ll taste so much better.
“I love boxed mashed potatoes better than real spuds.”- Literally No One.
Despite your herculean efforts, it is dang near impossible to get through all of your left-overs before they spoil. Now this isn’t a slight against you but just plain ole science. Divy up the food you know you’ll eat for the week and then freeze the rest right away to can ensure yourself a delicious easy meal for weeks to come.
CREATE A MASTER CHEF WORTHY CUISINE
They say turkey is the most versatile of the pheasants so why confine yourself to dry turkey every day. Make a turkey pot pie, turkey salad sandwiches, make turkey soup, or a turkey au jus compote confit creme brulee! Maybe not that last one, but the possibilites are endless when it comes to spicing up your leftover turkey dishes. Below is a must try recipe:
BLACK BEAN 'N' PUMPKIN CHILI RECIPE
MAKES:1 0 servings TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 4 hours
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large skillet, saute the onion, yellow pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Make your holiday dinner BYOT: Bring Your Own Tupperware. This ensures that the leftovers will be spread out and that you don’t lose track of all your containers! Still have extra cans of sweetened condensed milk or a few leftover boxes of stuffing because Aunt May decided to make some even though you told her you were cooking everything this year.... You can donate your canned or dried goods to a local food drive or soup kitchen.
Hopefully these tips will help you to have a less wasteful and greener holiday season! Just make sure that you use your TUSHY once those left-overs sneak out your back door.