Every year Australians bin five and a half billion dollars’ worth of food that's dumped straight into landfill. It's a shameful fact that most of us pay little attention to but here's why you should...
Flinders University student Vicki Mavrakis is part of a team of researchers looking at food waste in SA. She spent hours watching local families at meal times.
“On average Australian households waste around $616 worth of food a year, which is quite a lot of money when you think about it… We need to change the way we look at food and as consumers we can do that,” says Vicki.
Cook Silvia Hart runs the Seasonal Garden Cafe in Hahndorf and she's on a mission to make us all frugal foodies.
“I'm really passionate about using everything we can… for every five bags of shopping one gets thrown out... so for every $100 that's a $20 note going in the bin… would you throw out $20?” asks Silvia.
Silvia's aim is to clear the fridge at the end of each week... So, on the menu $10 plates of leftovers.
“We take all the food we've got left and we cook it up into one plate wonders… delicious, really, really fresh and tasty and the kids love it,” says Silvia.
So before throwing out that sad looking fruit and veg, Silvia's going to show us how to save it and save you money... Her first tip: store food to last.
“Say you've bought your herbs like this (fresh - cut bunch), I do this… get a Chux, a brand new chux. rip it off, throw your herbs in it, roll it up and dampen it in your fridge and that will keep them really beautiful and fresh… (so how long will they last?) A whole week easy,” says Silvia.
Another trick… Silvia puts chopped parsley, chives and thyme, puts them in ice block trays, fills them with olive oil and then in the freezer they go.
“So you just take a cube out when you need it and put it in your cooking,” says Silvia.
She blends stale bread into bread crumbs and stores them in the freezer and when it comes to fruit and veg she doesn't waste a peel.
“Here is the most dense nutrition of the food… so super nutritious for you and we're throwing that out so this can go straight in my juicer… produce bags and they are a plastic that stops the food going off… so I put something in and it will keep it for 2 weeks,” says Silvia.
But how far do her food saving skills go in an average household like the Roberts?
“We're always after trying to find nice recipes and new innovative ways of recreating things and things that don't look as pretty as it did the day we brought it,” says Jane Roberts.
“With a pantry like that I've got heaps of ideas of what I could do… let's have a look in your fridge
there's a few things in here that have seen better days but I'm sure we can cook them into something delicious,” explains Silvia.
The challenge? Take these would-be scraps to create three delicious dishes with zero waste.
“Most of us would have limp lettuce or rocket, Jane would throw this to her chooks but I'm going to make salsa verde,” says Silvia.
Silvia blends almonds, garlic, olive oil and greens and even uses the garlic skins, coating them in olive oil to use later as garlic oil.
Back in the kitchen...
“Jane I found some old spices in your pantry which between you and me were a little bit past their best before date but they still smell fine to me and they're good so unless it says ‘use by’ we can still use it,” says Silvia.
She adds it to the pot of bruised apples, rhubarb and butter to create an apple crumble, while the limp veggies are transformed into a meat-less shepherd's pie.
“Here's my trick with mushrooms, just grate them in… here we go, three meals from all those sad veggies in the fridge and all I’ve got left to show for it is this here ( veggie stalks & lemons), I'm not going to let this go to waste because I'm going to juice this,” says Silvia.