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Earth Day: 5 ways to reduce food waste in your kitchen

04/22/2015 03:16 EDT | Updated 07/16/2015 10:59 EDT
Overripe produce, rancid nuts and grains, uneaten leftovers — when it comes to food waste, what you end up throwing out can add up.

A 2014 report estimated that Canadians waste more than $31 billion worth of of food a year, up 15 per cent from 2010. 

For Earth Day, Homerun spoke with Montreal chef Kimberly Lallouz about how to minimize the amount of food that goes in the trash. 

Shop mindfully

Reducing waste starts at the supermarket. Be realistic about how much food you really need, and don`t go shopping on an empty stomach. 

First in, First out

Make sure the older food in your fridge and pantry are closer at hand, so you`ll eat it before it goes bad - the first items that go in should also be the first eaten.

Put items with later expiry dates closer to the back of cupboards and fridge shelves so you`re less likely to dig into them.  

Learn to love the leftover

Find ways to re-make your leftovers so they feel fresh. If you made salmon or a steak, throw it cold over a salad the next day. If you cooked tandoori chicken, try making a naan pizza with the leftover meat. And if you make a big batch of something, be mentally prepared to eat it for a few days. 

Take a fresh look at kitchen scraps

Lallouz uses the stems from fresh herbs to liven up soups, or throws them in a blender for vinaigrettes. She uses shrimp shells to create seafood stocks.

Berries that have peaked and are a little on the mushy side can be blended in sauces and dressings. Before you head to toss something out, think about other ways the ingredient can be used. 

Smart storage 

Nuts, seeds, and grains last much longer in an airtight container in the freezer. Fresh herbs wrapped in a clean, damp tea towel and stored in a ziploc will stay fresh longer.

For jarred items, like salsa and pesto, avoid using dirty spoons when scooping them out. Finally, a thin layer of oil over pesto stops it from oxidizing and molding. 

Lallouz will be on Homerun today at 4:10 p.m. Listen here.

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