A professional chef has shared a series of genius food hacks that she says can save you $1,000 a year in food waste — including using cheese rinds in soup and not peeling carrots.
Alison Mountford, 41, of Boston, Massachusetts, has always been aware of food waste in her home after learning the importance of using fruits and vegetables as a previous restaurant owner.
The mother-of-two said food is the “biggest expense” of being a food business owner, so would make sure to run out.
She now works as a marketer at a culinary incubator and teaches her children Ramona, eight, and Felix, five, how to reduce their waste.
A professional chef has shared a series of genius food hacks that she says can save you $1,000 a year in food waste
Mother of two Alison Mountford, 41, of Boston, has always been aware of food waste after learning as a previous restaurant owner the importance of using fruits and vegetables
Alison’s best tip is to plan meals and use up the foods you already have in your cupboard before buying more.
She encourages people not to immediately throw away brown foods, because peeling back oxidized vegetables like cabbage and Brussels sprouts can reveal a perfectly usable vegetable.
She estimates that using her tips to reduce food waste can save a family of four about $1,000 on groceries.
Alison said, “I have to believe that we can all do what we can.
“An American wastes a pound (453 grams) of food a day, which amounts to about $2,000 in waste for a family of four. You can save about half of that.’
Alison has become increasingly aware of the issue of food waste – both at home and at large food companies.
She used to work with families and see how much rubbish they threw away.
Now she is even more aware of how to store her groceries and she shares her tips online.
Alison’s best tip is to plan meals and use up the foods you already have in your cupboard before buying more
The kitchen hacks that could save you THOUSANDS
Meal Plan: Have at least a rough guide of what you want to eat so you only buy what you need and make your life easier after a busy day.
Using leftovers: Look at what you already have in your fridge and cupboards before buying more food.
Do not throw away oxidized food: Use your lightly browned avocados to mix into dressings or make a creamy avocado chocolate mousse. Peel brown parts of Brussels sprouts and cabbage to find perfectly usable foods.
Using up cheese rinds: They can be used in soups to add an extra flavor before being taken out before eating.
Store your vegetables properly: Do not store potatoes and onions together. Cucumber should be wrapped in paper towels, placed in a zip-lock bag and kept on the door of the refrigerator.
Save on vegetable peels: Scrub your carrots instead of peeling them.
Store your garlic: Make a candied garlic with cloves of garlic that will go bad. Coat them with oil and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it’s brown, put it in the fridge/freezer ready to use when you can use it.
Alison said we should look in our cupboards to see what we already have — and make a plan about which foods go bad first.
She said, “Meal planning is my best tip. Just reduce what goes into your home in the first place. So many people have a habit of picking things up blindly.
“Even if you just write down a general idea, you end up buying less.”
Alison is also keen to encourage families to freeze food they’re not going to use before it goes bad, such as throwing in a whole banana.
“I freeze a lot,” she explained. ‘I prepare sauces in the summer for the winter.’
Alison also said that many of the vegetables that we think are inedible might actually be fine if we peeled off the layers.
She said, “I had a cabbage that looked oxidized. I just cut off the brown parts and kept the others.’
She has also taken up gardening to grow her own vegetables – and now has peas, beans and strawberries in her garden.
Alison said we can use leftover cheese rinds to add flavor to soup.
‘Just throw it whole in a vegetable soup and it will add extra flavor to the broth after cooking. After the soup boils, it is pliable. Then you can throw it away.’
She also saves food waste by not peeling veggies like carrots—just washing them well instead.
Another of her hacks is to make a garlic jam to keep cloves from going bad.
Alison said, “Use your cloves of garlic that go bad and use oil and put over medium heat, stirring occasionally.”
“Then when it’s brown and soft, put it in the fridge or freezer, ready to use when you can use it.” You no longer have to chop or peel garlic.’
Alison said she’s not “perfect” or trash at all, but continues to look for ways to make a difference and her family now uses a bar of soap instead of dish soap and laundry detergent.
She said, “My family isn’t super extreme.
“I try to instill in my children a sense of control over our future.”