The cost of living has risen so much now, that many of us are feeling the pinch, which can be hard on our mental health. The price of food alone has in many cases made things very difficult for people. Zero waste cooking is a great way to make your weekly shop go further. It is also easier than you think to get started.

What is Zero Waste Cooking?

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It can sound a little daunting., this term ‘Zero Waste Cooking’. It does not have to be though. Zero Waste Cooking is something to work towards. It’s an ideal that is obtainable, once you get the hang of it.

This doesn’t mean that you have to have absolutely zero waste when cooking. In reality this is quite difficult. This can especially be the case when thinking about packaging too. It is more a conscious effort to not just reduce the waste that we have from cooking, but make things go further. Much of the food we buy has waste, think about peeling potatoes, cooking a whole chicken or even a loaf of bread that doesn’t all get used before going stale. All of these things get thrown away, when in reality they can be turned into yummy treats or used to create other delicious food.

Ideas to Try

We are always going to feel better when we make a change that we see a visible impact from. So, here are some cracking ideas to get started with.

Potatoes

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Photo by Mahmoud Fawzy on Unsplash

We can use potatoes for so many different sides and meals, it is astounding. Whilst we might use the whole potato when making jackets with delectable crispy skins, many recipes call for peeling. This can be a huge waste, but what could be done with the skins? They can be cooked either on the potato or after peeling! Loaded potato skins is a great way to use the whole potato for a different meal or snack. The peelings can be drizzled in oil and sprinkled with salt for an alternative to crisps.

Chicken

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Photo by Bluebird Provisions on Unsplash

Cooking a whole chicken is fantastic. Your home is filled with that aroma that screams Sunday Dinner, but there can be a lot of waste. Left over chicken, the legs and wings, even the bones and bits of chicken we don’t get off of the bones can all end up in the bin. However, everything can be used to stretch that chicken a little further.

Left over chicken can be used in sandwiches, meals such as curry or pies. The legs and wings are sometimes not enjoyed by everyone, but the meat can be stripped and used in the idea above, or even for the next one! One of our favourite things is to used the bones, left over bits, even legs and wings to make a chicken stock. Here is how…

Chicken Stock

Simply add the chicken bones, left over chicken, legs, wings and left over vegetables to a large sauce pan. Add a little salt, some herbs and garlic if you like. (This can be taken further with other flavours being added, just have a google). Then fill with boiling water and simmer for a few hours.

Next you need to strain the liquid. You can use a sieve or muslin, what ever you have to hand. Once you have the liquid free of all the bits, you have your chicken stock. From here there are a multitude of options froom reducing the stock down to make a thick flavour packed gravy. This can be added to meals or turn into a hearty soup by adding cream too!

Bread

Left over bread and even bread that is stale can be used for many things. Bread and butter pudding, summer puddings, breadcrumbs for coating chicken or turkey. The possibilities are vast

Bananas

We have all had bananas that go off and end up in the rubbish bin, but these can be utilised too. Whilst there are tons of ideas out there, banana bread has to be one of the best and you end up with a yummy treat at the end of it!

Taking Zero Waste Cooking Further

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Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Once you have gotten started, the world is your oyster. Make pickles and curds from fruit and veg, make more meals from your meat, turn vegetables into burgers. There is an endless stream of ideas on the internet and in cookbooks.

Reducing this waste by creating more food is fantastic for you and the environment. This can be taken further by buying fresh produce that has little to no packaging at all. Shops such as Lidl do Fruit and Veg boxes for just £1.50 and they are packed with so much fresh food. Each time the boxes are different too, meaning you get a variety of things to try!

You can find lots of ideas and some recipes throughout The Wonderment.

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About Author

Erika is bright, bubbly and friendly. Studying to be a counsellor, she is committed to helping others in the pursuit of better mental health. Having suffered from mental health issues herself including severe anxiety and PTSD, she wants to show others that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a cliché!
Erika enjoys spending time with her little one, friends and family, crafting, reading, writing, music gaming, cooking, creating art, cacti and llamas.

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