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Have you ever stopped to think how the expression “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” could apply to food? This notion contributes to food waste because some retailers and consumers discard food that is not aesthetically pleasing. Wonky looking produce is nutritious and delicious! Fortunately, some retailers offer imperfect looking but perfectly healthy fruit and veggies at a discounted price. Look for it where you shop.

Summer is here! Small actions at home can make a noticeable impact on the amount of waste you create — especially avoidable food waste. 

Read on for tips that will help you make the most of your groceries, save money and eat well!

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Simple actions to reduce wasted food

Save time, reduce trips to the store, and reduce food waste this summer.

Make a soup or stock
  • Save peelings and ends from celery, onions, ginger, herbs, carrots, leeks and more in a container in the freezer. When the container is full, make a broth.
  • Add broth to recipes like risotto or enjoy it as a warm soup on its own on a rainy or cool day. Broth also freezes well to enjoy later.
Eat the skin & the greens
Eating the skin from apples, carrots and cucumbers is nutritious. Skip the peeler and enjoy the whole fruit or vegetable. 
  • Enjoy the rind of a watermelon to take advantage of its health benefits.
  • You can also eat the greens from carrots and eat strawberries whole, green tops and all!
  • Use skins from citrus fruits to infuse water for a refreshing summer beverage. 
Freeze ahead smoothie packs & easy jam
All kinds of fruit are in season but warmer weather sometimes ripens fruit too fast.
  • Cut over-ripe fruit such as bananas, berries and peaches into small pieces. Freeze fruit in ice cube trays or pre-portioned reusable containers for smoothies. Combinations are endless!
  • Short-dated yogurt can also be frozen in ice cube trays and added to smoothies. 
  • Making jam can be quick and easy! Try out this approach to making small batches of jam from over-ripe fruit. 
Use what you have
  • Pickling will extend the shelf life of vegetables and limit your trips to the market or store by building an inventory of ready made ingredients to add to your favourite dishes. 
  • Be creative with substitutions in recipes. Could the parsley you already have work for the recipe that calls for cilantro? Or, substitute your freshly picked swiss chard when the recipe calls for spinach. The options are endless. Use what you already have. Here are some more ideas.
  • Plan weekly meals around what you already have in your fridge, garden, pantry and freezer. Using ingredients that you already have will help prevent spoiling of forgotten food. Don’t forget about leftovers
  • Check out Reuse-It Edmonton’s ‘Chef Saves’ blog post for more ideas on how to reduce food waste.

Harvest fruit trees

Fresh fruit is just outside your door
  • Raspberries, apples, saskatoons and more are ripening. Enjoy local fruit fresh, and freeze or cook the rest to preserve the harvest!
  • Have excess fruit? Share it with friends, family and neighbours to avoid waste, or connect with volunteer pickers through Operation Fruit Rescue to make sure your fruit finds a good home.
  • You can also compost spoiled or rotting fruit at home or use ShareWaste to find a composting site in your community. 
  • Don’t have your own fruit trees? Anyone can harvest from publicly accessible fruit trees in the City of Edmonton’s inventory. Check out the map to find your local fruit trees. 

Prepare for summer & fall harvest

Learn a new skill to make the most of your garden harvest or farmers’ market purchase, and reduce food waste.

Enjoy the flavours of summer all year long by canning fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t be shy about buying imperfect produce for your canning projects. It will taste just as good, and may be available at a discount. Pickled vegetables make for yummy garnishes on tacos, salads and sandwiches.
Another great idea to enjoy summer fruits and vegetables throughout the year is to dehydrate them.
  • Dehydrated fruit is especially easy to enjoy on the go and does not require refrigeration.
  • Don’t have a dehydrator? No problem! You can make fruit leather in your oven!
Make a fruit puree, pour it onto a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and place it in your oven at 150℉. Check after 3 hours, but be prepared to leave it up to 12 hours, depending on how thick the puree is. Cut the fruit leather and parchment paper into strips and roll. 
Fermenting vegetables isn’t as hard as it may sound. It’s as simple as preparing a vegetable such as cabbage or carrots, adding spices, salt and in many cases water. These “good for your gut” foods will extend the shelf life of your fresh vegetables to enjoy long into the fall and winter.

Additional resources 

Looking for more tips on how to reduce waste?
Lead by example
  • Simple actions go a long way. Go bagless and leave grass clippings on the lawn! 
  • Join a local Buy Nothing Facebook group to find things you need or to give away useful things instead of throwing them away. Also check the Reuse Directory for a listing of organizations that accept donations; please contact them first to make sure they are open. 
  • Check out the Reuse Centre’s Instagram for cool reuse ideas, crafts and activities. 
WasteWise website or app
  • Use the City's WasteWise website or app to help you figure out what to do with items you no longer need.  Excess yard waste can be dropped off for free at the Eco Station! 
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City of Edmonton - Food Waste · 2nd Floor Century Place · 9803 - 102A Avenue NW · Edmonton, AB T5J 3A3 · Canada

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