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At least half of the food waste today in the world, and also in Italy, it happens in our homes. While we urge agricultural and food businesses to improve their practices, we are also doing something to help lower horrifying percentages. A third of the food produced today is thrown away into the world. In Europe 20%. One of the many aspects to improve concerns the waste in the kitchen. How not to waste vegetables che bought in excess for example? Good question, to which we will give a practical answer. You will have happened to enthusiastically buy a nice case of zucchini or tomatoes, for example, only to realize that there were too many for your consumption rate. We will learn not only not to throw them away but also to make them last longer. They are also useful tricks for organizing and buying large quantities, saving and not wasting.
How not to waste excess vegetables: basic rules
Let's start with a brief vademecum, general rules that can start to put us on the right path if we are not already.
- Arrange the fruit and vegetables in the appropriate spaces and containers in the refrigerator;
- Using very ripe vegetables to make soup (instead of throwing them away)
- Put old carrots and celery in a glass of water to keep in the refrigerator to revitalize them
- Store the lettuce in its original packaging, if packaged, and always in the drawer for fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator;
- Store the onions in a canvas bag placed in a cool, dry and dark place. It can also be minced and frozen to have it ready for use
- Use the banana peel when cooking the roast to make it softer
- Drying the peels of peppers can be dried to use them as a spice in recipes.
- Use carrot peels to make beauty product
How not to waste excess vegetables: tips
Now we will go deeper for some of the tips you find above and add others that are right for you.
- Salad. Let's try to extend her life with a trick that applies to lettuce but also to endive or radicchio. Let's wash it if it's full of earth, and dry it extremely carefully so that no wet parts remain. We take a paper napkin, very normal, of the kind we usually have at home, and wrap it inside. Then put it in the fridge as if nothing had happened. The paper of the napkin has the power to absorb any moisture that is formed. This extends the life of our salad which will last us 5-6 days.
- Herbs. After we have collected them, we would like to prevent them from sagging before use. To keep them fresh, we can put them in a jar with water, as if they were wild flowers to decorate the house. In the kitchen they are perfect! If we are not convinced we can wrap them in a paper towel and place them in the fridge in the lowest filling of the appliance. In these two ways we can make mint, parsley, basil and sage last a couple of days longer.
- Bananas. Nothing against this fruit, which is extremely precious for our health, but let's keep an eye on it in the kitchen because if it is close to vegetables it can make them ripen and rot earlier. It is not a peasant legend, the reason is simple and scientific. Bananas release ethylene, a gas capable of accelerating the ripening process of fruit and vegetables, thus making them ripen and spoil faster.
- Tomatoes. We typically buy them by the kilos and they don't always last as long as we want. Let's try this trick. Let's put them in a tray upside down and leave them out of the fridge. In this way, the air cannot penetrate the part where the stems are grafted, so they ripen more slowly.
- Cucumbers. If until now you have always kept them in the fridge, stop doing it because it is useless, they keep much better at room temperature. The advice is to simply put them in a container, even a simple bowl, on the table in the kitchen.
- Carrots. Soak them in water to prevent them from making green sprouts when they are in the fridge becoming unusable.
- Mushrooms. They are part of the foods to be kept in the fridge but with a trick. Let's put them in a paper bag, the bread bag is fine, as long as it's not plastic because this material would soon make them mold.
- Potato. To keep them longer we need to associate them with apples. There are unthinkable combinations that help us not to waste. In this case, to prevent the potatoes from sprouting, if you leave them in a dark and humid place, keep them together with some apples. A few are enough but they are needed because they produce ethylene which prevents the germination of these vegetables.
In general, we always try to store whole vegetables. In this way they mature less quickly. Even the sunlight does not help their conservation,
How not to waste the vegetables we have bought in excess
Let's finish with some culinary tips, recipes with vegetables in order to do not throw it but eat it in a tasty way before it rots or goes bad.
Find interesting insights in the following books:
- The kitchen vegetables
- The big green cookbook