Today, June 5th, is World Environment Day!
I'm elated to say that the UNEP has chosen this year's theme to be THINK.EAT.SAVE: a campaign to minimise food waste and food loss.
This is an issue that's very close to my heart and that I deem to be extremely important, both now and in the near future. Not only is food wastage an inefficient use of money, but it also squanders the valuable natural resources that go into producing each apple and carrot we eat.
Would you leave your tap running all day, or your lights on, or start your car and let it sit for a few hours? Probably not, but most of us don't consider that throwing out uneaten food or letting produce go bad in our fridge is equivalent to doing the same.
Globally, humans discard or neglect to harvest over ONE-THIRD of all edible food on the planet. When there are areas of the world where food insecurity plagues families each and every day, this is simply unacceptable.
Not only have the UN identified food security and unsustainable agricultural production to be the largest hurdles for human development in the near future, but also even the good ol' US of A has started to see the light. Just yesterday the USDA and EPA launched a national food waste challenge, encouraging consumers and restaurants to track and minimise their food waste.
In my own constant effort to live according to my values, food waste is something that I will not tolerate in my kitchen. This means taking a few steps to make sure nothing goes bad in our fridge:
- Meal plan before grocery shops
- Keep a massive stock of tupperware and glass jars for leftovers
- Always keep staple items like beans, pasta, and rice in the pantry for clean-out-the-fridge dishes like stir fry and soup
- Embrace last night's dinner for tomorrow's lunch
- Get creative with awkward ingredients. Searching epicurious by ingredient is great for this [ex: the other week I had heaps of fresh herbs to get rid of and little inspiration - a simple search and 30 minutes later I had made my first tabbouleh. Food save success.]
Anyways, in celebration of food saving habits I'll leave you with my quick and adaptable recipe for tonight's dinner! I started with leftover roasted root vegetables from dinner with Tom's parents - they were leaving on vacation the next morning and knew the kids at home wouldn't eat them. Instead of letting them go to waste, I turned them into a delicious meal. After all, if life gives you root vegetables, make root vegetable soup!
Root Vegetable Soup
Serves however many you'd like
1-2 lbs mixed root vegetables [carrots, butternut, potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, etc.]
1-2 yellow onions
4 cloves garlic [roasted]
4 cups vegetable stock [plus extra]
Seasonings of choice: rosemary, thyme, sage, salt, pepper
1. Put oven on medium temperature and put in unpeeled garlic cloves for 12 minutes.
2. In the meantime, peel and cube your onions and root vegetables.
3. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into the bottom of a large pot and saute onions until translucent and just browning, 5-7 minutes.
4. Add vegetable stock and cubed veggies to the pot and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are quite mushy. Add roasted garlic by squeezing the contents of each clove into the pot.
6. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth in consistency. Add spices to taste. Add more vegetable stock [or water if no more salt is needed] until desired thickness is reached.
7. Simmer for 10 more minutes until flavours have melded. Serve hot with lots of crusty bread for dipping!
* As my garlic, onions and vegetables were already roasted, I combined ingredients and skipped to step 5. It's pretty impossible to overcook anything or screw this up even if you tried. Plus mine turned out a deep pink because of the beetroot I incorporated... early Valentine's day idea?!
|BEFORE: A pot of leftovers that would have gone bad in Tom's parents' fridge.|
|AFTER: A steaming bowl of soup for dinner! And lunch tomorrow. And the day after that. And some for Tom too.|
Enjoy my future food saving friends!