4 ways to waste less in the kitchen

Hoffleit and Philipp Lawitschka have published around 260 seasonal recipes on their zero-waste food blog. Photos: dpa

We've learned to use cotton tote bags instead of plastic bags and buy more second-hand threads instead of the latest industrial fast fashions. And yet most of us still throw away food that could have been eaten.

The easiest way to be more sustainable in the kitchen is to use regional and seasonal foods – and get as much out of them as possible. This is exactly the message food bloggers Eva-Maria Hoffleit and Philipp Lawitschka spend most of their day trying to get out into the world.

The duo have published around 260 recipes, categorised according to season, on their website Ye Olde Kitchen. With their blog, which has received an award for sustainability, the two want to show how to appreciate food in its entirety.

“We grow quite a bit in our garden ourselves and can judge how much work it is to turn a seed into a cabbage, ” says Hoffleit.

Freeze vegetable scraps for stock

For example, the two bloggers put leftover lemon peel in their salt mill or sugar bowl, turnip leaves get used in coleslaw, and radish leaves are used to make a gremolata sauce.

“We collect vegetable scraps in the freezer and make vegetable stock from them every now and then, ” reveals Hoffleit. Another tip: buy a kilo of tomato puree, portion it into small ice cubes and freeze it. This not only saves on packaging, but also money.

This coleslaw is made from turnip leaves that would otherwise end up in the bin.

You can make a wonderful coleslaw from leaves that would otherwise end up in the bin, such as turnip or Brussels sprouts. Cut the leaves into strips, rub in a teaspoon of salt and leave to rest for an hour.

For the dressing, mix five tablespoons of natural yoghurt, one tablespoon of rapeseed oil, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of hot mustard and season with black pepper. Finally, mix the dressing well with the leaves.


Only buy as much as you can carry

Sophia Hoffmann has devoted an entire cookbook to zero-waste cooking, packed with tips and 40 recipes.

“Many people are overwhelmed by the concept of zero waste – living a minimalist life, not using plastic or wasting anything. But the zero percent ecological balance is an illusion, ” says Hoffmann. She believes in taking small steps; it’s not about being perfect all the time.

One of her first tips for zero-waste cooking is to plan better: “Buy only as much as you can carry on your own, and take a look in the cupboards or freezer beforehand and think about what you can make with what you have, ” she advises.


Stale bread and leftovers? Perfect for vegetarian patties

Hoffmann’s favourite way of using up leftovers is vegetarian patties: She first softens the stale bread in water and kneads it after having squeezed out the water. She adds diced onions, as well as anything else that needs to be eaten: spinach, rocket, parsley, chopped capers, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms or olives.

Adding breadcrumbs will help if the mixture gets too soft. Season to taste and form small patties, frying them until crisp on both sides in a pan with enough oil.


Save excess food from the bin

“Sustainability doesn’t cost more money, ” says Maren Teichert from Germany’s Zero Waste Association, primarily concerned with getting information out there.

“You just have to know what it is you can do to help, ” she says. Some cities already have thriving projects that let people hand on food before it ends up in the bin.

“Food sharing involves giving away food that businesses or private individuals will no longer consume, ” explains Maren Teichert.

The Too Good To Go app, for example, allows bakeries, cafes and restaurants in certain countries to offer their unsold food at the end of the day at a low price, thus saving it from the bin. – dpa

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