It’s increasingly clear that not only do we humans waste a lot, but that we’re not very good about cleaning up the mess we make – at least here in Canada, that is.
Instead of launching into a rant about it (which would be hypocritical, as I’m still working on mending my own wasteful ways), I’ll offer a tip I’ve learned over my almost-thirty years as a thrifty home cook.
Ready? It’s so simple! Always use a splash liquid of some sort to get the last dregs of food out of a squeeze bottle or plastic container.
If it’s ketchup, add a quarter cup of water, stock, or even wine. Use it to flavour a stir fry, soup, sauce or to cook grains like rice, couscous, quinoa, or barley.
If it’s yogurt, spill some milk, juice, or water in the tub, close the lid and give it a good shake. Add that to a smoothie, oatmeal, or cold cereal with fruit.
Mustard finished? Take the lid off, add a combination of one part vinegar to three parts oil, pop in some crushed garlic and/or other herbs and give it a good shake after putting the lid back on. Now you’ve got a vinaigrette that will last for days.
Do you used prepared boxed stock? Before throwing out the empty carton, swish a little water in and add the remains to whatever it is you’re cooking. Do the same with cans of tomato or tomato sauce, and use the liquid the next day to cook grains, or to add to soup or pasta sauce.
Sure, it’s a little thing – but little things add up to less food waste.
Cleaning out food containers also means you use less water to rinse them out, which every good recycler knows it a good thing. According to the recycling services of Toronto, where I’m writing this, containers with leftover food are one of the most common blue bin sins; they can ruin large batches of otherwise good recyclables because food residue soaks into paper products, and renders them unrecyclable.
Do you have a favourite tip for reducing waste in the home? I’d love to hear it.
BONUS TIP: Get a resuable straw – I prefer the steel ones to glass. No real reason – just do:) Super easy to find.