It’s time to start a new series on the ole blog! Reading other blogs and news stories about people producing little to no waste has gotten me feeling pretty bad with how much we throw away. Especially when it comes to food. Did you know roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted? Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). (source) After cleaning out our fridge this weekend I’m so ashamed!
Statistics like that (and people like this) have really motivated Carl and I to work on wasting less. Thus leading to the creation of this series. I’m exploring all the ways I can use, reduce, or avoid throwing something away. My biggest effort is starting in the kitchen. Typically I buy an ingredient for a meal, end up not using it all or having leftovers, then it goes bad and has to be thrown away. No bueno. I’m figuring out ways to do something with food before it reaches the going bad stage and I’m going to share them with you. Starting with fresh herbs.
Freezing herbs seems so obvious…yet always goes forgotten. I purchased a herb freezer
and I love it. You can get by just fine using an ice tray, but I love this one because the cubes are perfectly sized, easy to get out, stacks super well, and the lid keeps it from spilling. Here’s my favorite way to freeze them:
- Mixed into olive oil, water, butter or lemon juice. This helps against browning and freezer burn.
- Don’t be afraid to get fancy and mix herbs.
- Put into a ziplock bag and squeeze out all the air.
- Prepare a marinade and freeze into cubes.
Dry it out
This takes some time and space, but it’s better than letting them go bad. You’ll also need containers to store the dried herbs in once they’re ready. You might already have some on hand though, or can add them to your current dried herb bottle. Here’s how to dry them out.
- First be sure your herbs are clean and dry.
- Hang upside down in a warm dry place, preferably 65-70 degrees. Be sure they aren’t too crowded together.
- Let them be for 1-3 weeks. Different herbs will take different amounts of time, so be sure to check on them every so often.
- When the leaves crumble in your hands, they are ready. Remove the leaves from their stems and store in an air tight container.
Cook with them
Just because you used them for the meal you needed them for doesn’t mean you can’t cook something else. I’ve found it hard to come up with easy recipes to use fresh herbs for, so here are some of my favorites. These are great because you’re likely to have all the ingredients on hand.
- Lemon-Rosemary Chicken: Just throw in some chicken, lemon, and rosemary onto a skillet or baking dish and cook until done. Super simple and tasty.
- Basil Chicken: Marinate chicken breasts in olive oil and fresh chopped basil. Cook in skillet or baking dish until done. It’s super tasty if you shred it and use it in a grilled cheese sandwich with mozzarella.
- Cilantro Lime Chicken: Same idea, mix together some fresh cilantro with olive oil and lime and marinate. Can cook or grill it.