Pears rotting in the fruit bowl, cucumbers turning yellow and soft in the fridge crisper…we’ve all been there. Food waste is a huge issue for all of us and it’s not something we talk about, especially in food columns that are usually reserved for recipes and drool-worthing food photography. 

Why should we care about throwing out those wilting veggies and out of date meat? Not to over-spiritualise the practice, but we’re not only wasting money and the food itself, but we’re not caring for the world God Himself has gifted us. It’s a sobering thought. 

Composting

Food waste. PICTURE: ronstik/iStockphoto.

As World Vision state in Why Are We Stewards of God’s Creation?“Since God is creator, owner and ruler, we seek to care for creation in the way that God calls for. The thoughtful and proper care for creation is the logical outworking of our love for God – caring for what God has made, which ultimately belongs to God.” 

This is not a call for more guilt, but a call for awareness and action. Every little bit counts, either positively or negatively. And it’s not just the supermarkets, restaurants, or food businesses that are responsible. It’s everyday habits of individuals. The statistics for Australia alone are sobering. The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment reports that Australians waste around 7.6 million tonnes of food across the supply and consumption chain annually.

LEFTOVER FRITTATA

Ingredients:
8 large eggs
4 strips of bacon or even roast chicken leftovers
 2 golden potatoes, medium ( or sweet potatoes if you have excess), peeled & diced approx 1 centimetre.
3 tbsp milk (almond, full fat, skim - your choice!
 1 tsp Dijon mustard 
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
Cracked pepper (to taste)
⅓ cup of grated cheese (or feta, goats cheese - whatever you have lying around)
Leftover veggies - 1 large shallot, spinach leaves, corn, capsicum, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli…you name it! 

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan forced).
2. Precook bacon, then rest on paper towel. 
3. Cook potatoes in bacon dripping, until browned and soft.
4. Whisk eggs, mustard, spices, milk, salt and pepper.
5. Add leftover veggies to the pan.
6. Pour over egg mixture, make sure it’s smooth.
7. Bake for 15 to 20 mins until egg is set. 

Note: If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet. Cook ingredients to step 5 in a frying pan, then transfer mixture, before adding eggs, to an ovenproof dish. We used a cake tin (not springform).

This is devastating for our environment. It impacts everything from water supply to increased methane gas emissions as rotting food in landfill releases those unpleasant odours into the atmosphere. Let’s also not forget about the ethical issue when food shortages for millions of people around the globe exist. 

So, what to do? Issues like these can often paralyse us as we feel overwhelmed with the scale of the problem. Like anything, small, achievable steps are needed to make a difference and there are loads of practical ways we can do our bit to look after this precious world.

Here are five ways to reduce food waste at your place:

1. Plan! Don’t double up on ingredients (guilty!), check your pantry, fridge, freezer before you go shopping and only buy what you need. Loosely plan your meals for the week. 

2. Store fruit and vegetables so they last longer. One way is to wash, dry, and store fruit (even cucumbers and cut up capsicum) in glass mason jars in the fridge. It’s a little extra work, but apparently produce will last twice as long. 

3. Get creative with your dinners and lunch. Leftover pasta? Why not turn it into a pasta bake or frittata? I remember bubble and squeak being a rather unpleasant way to use up leftover food in the 80s, so make it a delicious offering so it will be a sustainable practice. 

4. Freeze food. Be aware of ‘Used by’ dates and pop them in plastic containers with plastic wrap (preventing freezer burn) then the lid. Label the date it was frozen.

5. Compost your food scraps and turn them into beautifully rich fertiliser. 

These changes can take time to put into place so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right all the time. Awareness is key! 

Once you’re in the ‘know’, have a Google! There are so many practical ideas and recipes to help you reduce your food waste. OzHarvest Australia is a fantastic charity, providing food relief for those struggling in our community. They also promote practical ways to reduce food waste, most recently with their free cookbook.

Take a look, have a go, and enjoy being a part of the solution, making a positive impact on our world.