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11 ways to reuse your food!

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stainless steel containerWelcome to day three of zero waste week.

Today we’re talking about one of my favourite topics – food!

I love a good ‘Use it up!’ challenge and today I’m inviting you to get on board.

Did you know the average family throws away £50 per month of food?

Today we’re going to be reusing food as much as we can so nothing ends up in the bin.

Are you ready to reuse your food?

I know it sounds a bit odd, but actually what I want to do is encourage you to think ‘food’ and ‘reuse’ and see what you come up with. You might consider containers, storage and packaging as well as the food itself.

Here are some ideas

Reuse your bottles

Whether you make a special purchase or reuse something you already have, taking your own reusable bottle of water when out and about can save you hundreds of pounds a year AND it’s much better for the environment.

If you take your own BYO cup to a coffee shop, some will even give you a discount, so it’s a win-win and your cup will soon pay for itself.

I found this in a shop recently; do you reckon you could make your own?

Reusable jar for drinking

Make your own

Have you totted up how much money you spend on packed lunches?

The average office worker spends £880 per month.

By making your own packed lunch you can use up last night’s leftovers and ease your conscience of all the disposable packaging a shop bought lunch can produce such as sandwich containers, polystyrene trays, plastic spoons, plastic bottles and confectionery packaging.

Flasks

They seem a bit old fashioned now, but I do love my flask, especially in winter. They are fantastic for keeping soup warm for a nourishing lunch and wide mouthed ones are perfect for a proper meal at lunchtime like curry or chilli – you’ll be the envy of your colleagues!

My first boyfriend gave me champagne served from a flask complete with plastic cup – he was a keeper, right?

reusable thermos flask

Plant your scraps

If you’ve ever thrown potato peelings in your compost heap you might have ended up with a potato harvest!

Some foods grow brilliantly from scraps including spring onions, celery and yes, potatoes.

Reuse those scraps to grow food.

foods that will regrow from kitchen scraps

Make crisps

Talking of potato peelings; did you know you can make fantastic crisps from them?

Scrub them clean, leave to dry them sprinkle with olive oil and herbs / spices of your choice.

Bake in the oven until crisp.

Food Wraps

Back to those packed lunches. If you’re making sandwiches do you use clingfilm or foil?

Boobalou stock a range of reusable sandwich bags and food wrap. For extra brownie points you could reuse fabric and make your own.

Vicky created this tutorial during 2014 Zero Waste Week for making a reusable sandwich wrap from old plastic bags.

recycle plastic bags into sandwich wrap

DIY bokashi

A bokashi bin is brilliant if you want to compost but are limited on space.

But they can be expensive to buy new.

With this tutorial you’ll learn how to reuse a couple of old plastic buckets to make your own – once you have them you can reuse your food waste too!

Reuse your wilting fruit and veg

Wrinkly carrots? Apples past their best? Don’t throw them away; give them a new lease of life.

Wilting vegetables make great soup. Fruit can be make into smoothies or stewed and topped with pastry for the ultimate comfort food – a fruit pie.

Browse our recipes for ideas and check out the fantastic database of suggestions for using up leftovers over at Love Food Hate Waste.

Reuse your eggshells

For all you smug people thinking you reuse everything in the kitchen already this one should get you thinking!

Eggshells are full of calcium and its straight forward to make your own calcium supplement.

Wash egg shells thoroughly then dry in the oven. When they are dry, crush with a mortar and pestle of food blender into a powder and voila – you can sprinkle this nutrient into smoothies or stir into porrage.

Reuse your peel

Citrus peels can be reused in a number of ways.

They can be used in pot pourri, dried and used to light a fire or used to clean the dishes.

From body scrubs to wood polish to slug repellents, Emma shares  her top tips for reusing citrus peels.

Shop naked

These stainless steel containers from Boobalou are fantastic.

What I love about this particular reusable container that Jo sent me, is YOU choose where the divider goes. And you can remove it if you want a larger space.

It’s ideal for a spot of naked shopping – a deli could fill it with coleslaw or hummous, a friendly local butcher could put a small steak or chicken breast into it and it’s great for daily packed lunches. As it’s stainless steel it’s easy to sterlise.

stainless steel container

What about you – how do you combine ‘reuse’ and ‘food’ to reduce your waste?

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Rachelle Strauss

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