Love Food Friday
Food Waste Elimination Tip #4: The Freezer Is Your Friend!
Chef Christopher Gigiel
Don’t Waste it, Freeze it!
I like soup, chili, stew, and casseroles. I’m also single and making any one of those meals means that there are a lot of leftovers because I haven’t mastered the art of cooking smaller amounts in my personal life after cooking for large groups of people in my professional life. But, I don’t waste it, I freezer leftovers in single-serving size containers so that I can pop them out of the freezer and reheat them for a quick dinner, or pack it for a homemade lunch.
I use inexpensive “disposable” type plastic storage containers that you can find at the grocery store so that it’s not a large expenditure to have a plethora of them on hand when things need to be stored. I also label and date leftovers on the front edge so that I can easily find what I’m looking for in the freezer and know how long it’s been in there. This lets me use up the things that have been there for a while.
This is a great tip if you’ve made a large amount of something and you don’t want to eat it all week. Portion it and freezer it. It also gives you choices for quick meal options or lunch on the go. Additionally, you can freezer an excess of produce before it spoils. Particularly good for fruit for smoothies. If it’s more than you can eat before it spoils, chop it and freeze it and you’ll have delicious fruit on hand for that morning smoothie. Also works great for veggies from the garden or farmers market – freeze them and pop them out and into that stir fry.
Love Food Friday Recipe Share #4: Albondigas In Spicy Tomato Sauce
Love Food Friday
Food Waste Elimination Tip #1: Get organized and PLAN!
Chef Christopher Gigiel
One thing that sets professional chefs apart, as a group, is that we are planners. We don’t like flying by the seat of our pants. We have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup plan for our back up plan.
When we’re talking about food, this means we plan a menu and shop for that menu. Most commercial food establishments operate on a very slim profit margin and food waste can make the different between profitability and loss. Therefore, food waste is often at the forefront of my mind.
I plan my menu and shop for what I need for that menu, and go to the store with a list. I do the same thing in my personal life – I’m much less likely to impulse buy or purchase things because they’re on sale if I have a list and stick to it. This also means that I’m not purchasing excess without a solid plan of what I’m going to do with it and what I buy is much less likely to go to waste.
I know in our busy lives it’s difficult to carve out the time to plan, and often the decision of what we’re eating for dinner is only made several hours before it needs to be on the table, but I promise you if you’ll start the habit you’ll waste a lot less, and save some money too.
Love Food Friday Recipe Share #1 : Asian Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Click here for the recipe!
Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner 🙂
The United Kingdom launched a large scale public awareness campaign called “Love Food Hate Waste” in 2006-2007. Data taken by the WRAP demonstrated that this campaign successfully reduced avoidable household food waste in the U.K. by 21% from 2007-2012. I believe these to be impressive results accomplished relatively quickly and with reportedly little inconvenience to the citizen.
Recognizing food waste and making a conscious decision to improve provides the most important key to reducing food waste in the home. Following that with understanding labeling, being willing to purchase produce that is not “visually perfect”, and either correct portioning or a dedication to eating leftovers provide some of the basic cornerstones.
In an effort to continue to raise awareness relative to food waste, and also to give each of you some practical tips for reducing waste in your kitchen; I am beginning a season of Love Food Friday. This spring, I am enlisting the help of professional chef Christopher Gigiel to offer a tip for eliminating food waste each Friday. I am also hoping that he will share a few of his favorite beef recipes as well!
Christopher joins us from Denver, Colorado where he manages the day-to-day operations of the Beef Culinary Center, caters in house meetings and events with recipes that prominently feature beef, and works with the Beef Innovation Team on recipe and new-product development.
He has worked with the beef checkoff program since the spring of 2014. A Johnson & Wales University alum, Christopher earned his Associates of Science in Culinary Arts and Bachelors of Science in Food Service Management. In addition, he held a Culinary Fellowship where he taught culinary lab classes and helped manage the operations of the culinary building.
Prior to working with the checkoff, he served as Food Service Director for a non-profit in Eastern Pennsylvania where he revitalized their culinary program. When he’s not in the kitchen, you can find him cycling throughout the Mile High City which boasts more than 850 miles of bicycling adventures or camped out in a local coffee shop with a book and caffeinated beverage in hand.
I am really excited about this series as it brings practical tips for reducing food waste to all of us as we work on this journey of continuous improvement 🙂
Please help me to welcome Christopher to the Feed Yard Foodie Family for the Love Food Friday series!