Getting the most out of your food | Conscious Living Blog

Tess Watson shares her second Conscious Living guest blog, for a more holistic approach to everyday tasks in order to lead a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle.

Last fortnight I spoke about switching our mindset in order to live a more conscious lifestyle. 

I shared some easy alternatives to eliminate as much plastic as possible in our lives and I truly hope you’ve begun to make the small changes.

This blog is on food waste.

In the last blog my advice was simple, say no to plastic, this fortnight is also straight forward.

Stop throwing away food, now.

Food waste in landfill is the main source of methane generation (a potent greenhouse gas).

You need to be composting.

You need to be getting the most out of your food and you need to be smart with what you’re buying.

I cringe at the amount of food I’ve thrown away in the past and the guilt, ah the guilt!

But that was then and this is now.

Times are changing and it is time to keep up.

There are a few things you can to do to reduce and even eliminate your food waste.

SHOP SMART

It can be useful to plan your weekly meals to ensure you’re not left with perishable items at the end of the week.

Buy foods that you know you’ll use every part of.

Doing this will also save you money.

Be prepared for you food shops so you don’t end up with the unnecessary.

STORE SMART

Mesh produce bags are great for keeping leafy vegetables fresh in your crisper.

Silicone pouches prolong the bite in beans.

Beeswax, or similar, food wraps keep cut foods from iodising.

Cut up melons and store in airtight glass containers to keep juicy and fresh for longer.

If your fruits and veg are on the way out you can cut them up and freeze them ready to make smoothies or soups.

We have a wonderful opportunity to buy in bulk in Port Lincoln, use your glass jars to store dried fruit, nuts, seeds, flours, pasta, anything. Not only do you save plastic but you are keeping your food fresher for longer.

USE ENTIRE FOOD

Another cringe worthy habit I used to practice daily, was not using every part of fruit and vegetable when they were perfectly fine to eat.

I used to throw away the broccoli steams and leaves. We now finely slice the stem and use in stir frys.

I often buy a whole pumpkin and cook it in different ways; roast, steam, frying, mash.

I used to cut out the seeds of the pumpkin when I would roast it, yet would add pumpkin seeds to a salad or pizza!

Pumpkin seeds can be washed and dried for 10-14 days before planting.

Save your fresh herbs by blitzing them up with oil, pouring into an ice tray and freeze. 

DONATE NON-PERISHABLES 

If you have canned goods collecting dust donate them to those in need.

REPURPOSE

Re-purposing your food leftovers can be done in a few ways:

Coffee Grounds

  • Mix with water and use as a fertiliser in the garden
  • Use to scrub your sink
  • Mix with a natural oil and use as a body scrub

Citrus

  • Dry the skins and then use them as a natural fire lighter
  • Add to a jar of vinegar to use a powerful spray and wipe (let sit for a week or two). Perfect for harsh water stains.
  • Rub over sinks, taps or your shower to clean

Avocados

Store washed stones and skins in a cardboard box

Grind dried stones to create a powerful hand scrub, just add a natural wash base or oil for a whole body scrub (pictured below).

PLANT DYE

Something I like to do and really need to do more of, is plant dyeing.

Using your leftover food for dyeing is a great way to utilise the whole food before composting.

You can use herbs, avocados, onions, out of date spices or tea, coffee ground, berries, carrot tops, artichokes, spinach and more!

I take guidance from Rebecca Desnos, if you are looking for more in-depth instruction.

Below I use the avocado skin and stone to make two different dye baths; one an apricot orange, the other a dusty pink.

The process is lengthy however is not time consuming.

The more time you put in to each step will leave you with a longer lasting, richer colour.

COMPOST

As I’ve said. please, please, please stop throwing away your food.

Bottomless compost bins are an easy and cheap way begin composting.

A 1:1 ratio of green to dry materials is all that is needed.

Green material

  • Kitchen scraps (excluding dairy and meat)
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grouns
  • Green leaves
  • Garden/grass clippings
  • Fresh manure (not dog  or cat)

Dry material

  • Torn pieces of newspaper, non-glossy paper and cardboard
  • Dy leaves
  • Pea straw
  • Dry manure (not dog or cat)
  • Garden soil
  • Wood ash
  • Woo chips
  • Corn stalks