Down the Hatch, The Truth on Food By Elden Freeman
“A lot of times we buy on impulse or out of habit and that doesn’t always serve us well.” As Canadians who have endured a wickedly cold winter, we need to honour that bounty and one sure fire way to do so is to minimize the amount of food waste we generate. The truth is that 51 per cent of the estimated $27 billion of wasted food in Canada comes from the leftovers we toss in the trash at home. Each Canadian family throws out more than $1,000 per year in kitchen waste. Once the scraps hit the landfill site they become a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. There are things you can do to lessen your food loss and help the environment. 1. Start by taking the produce you buy out of its plastic bag this might sounds counterintuitive but airtight wrapping only suffocates your fruits and veggies and speeds up spoilage. 2. Wait before washing your produce. Moisture promotes the growth of mould and decay so wash just before you plan to eat it. 3. Don’t hull strawberries or discard fruit stems, this will keep the produce whole as long as possible. 4. Plan out your shopping, menus and meals. A lot of times we buy on impulse or out of habit and that doesn’t always serve us well. Will you use up two heads of cauliflower before they start turning black? Don’t get roped in to buying a flat of blueberries or two litres of yogurt because the price is right. 6. Best before dates aren’t always carved in stone. Eggs, yogurt and some meats are fine past their dates. Do a sniff test to be sure and if still in doubt throw it out. 7. Use up bits and pieces of food items. Find ways to incorporate wilted produce into soups, stews or casseroles. Blackened bananas can be made into banana bread, or ¼ cup can be used as a substitute for eggs in other baked goods. Most of us have been guilty of having eyes bigger than our stomachs at one time or another. It’s time we become more mindful of what we consume; from our in-store purchases, to restaurant meals and takeout, to the food waste we heap in our garbage and compost bins.