Wasted food leftovers can make fresh meals

Most of wasted Canadian food (51 per cent), worth $27 billion per year, is thrown away.

Most of wasted Canadian food (51 per cent), worth $27 billion per year, is thrown away because we cook too much, then we lack confidence to make meals from leftovers, and finally the leftovers moulder in the recesses of our refrigerators.

New statistics from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization show that world malnutrition could be eliminated by salvaging just one-quarter of the food wasted in the U.S. and Europe.

You can freeze leftover whipping cream, whipped or not. Separate whites from yolks and freeze eggs.

If you can’t use a whole bunch of cilantro, make salsa with fresh or canned chopped tomatoes and lime juice and combine ground cumin with your seasonings.

Spoon leftover tomato purée into a ziploc and seal, then shape into little pillows and freeze.

You can do the same with frozen pesto. It’s better to leave out the cheese and add that fresh. I peel and slice fresh ginger root as soon as I buy it and freeze it and pry off pieces as needed.

Peel, core and slice tired apples or pears and spread to dry at a low heat on cookie sheets in the oven. Snack on them instead of potato chips.

Make fruit compotes after canning. Just poach the fruit in some of the light canning syrup, cool and freeze.

Make a cold rice salad by adding some chopped spring or sweet onion, a few diced leftover vegetables and some mayo slightly thinned with a light vinaigrette (oil, vinegar and seasoning). Or make fried rice with onions and other veggies, stirred with a little watered low sodium soy sauce.

Re-heat leftover rice in an ovenproof dish, add a teaspoon of water or seasoned stock and heat for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 F.

I buy chicken bone-in, tear the meat off by hand and simmer the bones and skin for chicken stock to freeze. I melt a little butter and olive oil in a dish in a 400 F oven, turn the chicken pieces in the fat, and bake for maybe 10 minutes a side.

Purée a soup started with sautéed onion and bulked up with potatoes, carrots and barley or lentils cooked in stock seasoned to your taste. Serve with optional sour cream and artisan bread.

Fish cakes are almost better than the original fish dish.

Just cook and mash an equivalent amount of potatoes with the cooked fish, a pinch of mustard powder, a tablespoon of milk, a teaspoon of flour and some salt and pepper.

Shape into cakes or cylinders and roll in crushed crackers. I keep a small Ziploc bag in the bread box and crush the crackers in that with a rolling pin. Fry in a melted butter/olive oil mixture.

Which reminds me, canned tomatoes make a delicious side dish with crushed crackers sprinkled thickly on top and baked for 20 to 30 minutes.

Marjorie Stewart is board chairwoman of the Foodshare Society and president of the multi-stakeholder co-op, Heritage Foodservice. She can be reached at marjorieandalstewart@shaw.ca.