3 months ago

“I’m a professional chef – don’t keep potatoes and onions together or peel your carrots"

A professional chef has shared her hacks which could save you $1,000 a year in food waste – including using cheese rinds in soup and not peeling carrots.

Alison Mountford, 41, has always been conscious of food waste at her home after learning how important it was use up fruit and vegetables as a previous restaurant owner.

The mum-of-two said food is the “biggest expense” as a food business owner so would make sure it was used up.

Now working as a marketer at culinary incubator, she teaches her children Ramona, eight and Felix, five, how to reduce their waste.

Alison’s top tip is meal planning and using up the food you already have in your cupboard before buying more.

She encourages people to not immediately throw away brown food as peeling back oxidised vegetables such as cabbage and brussels sprouts can reveal a perfectly usable vegetable.

She estimates using her tips to make an effort to cut down food waste could save a family of four around $1,000 on their groceries.

Alison, from Boston, Massachusetts, said: “I have to believe we can all do what we can.

“An American wastes a pound (453g) of food a day which ends up being about $2,000 in waste for a family of four.

“You could save about half of that.”

Alison has become increasingly aware of the issues surrounding food waste – both in the home and in large food companies.

She used to work with families and would see the amount of rubbish they were throwing out.

Now she’s even more conscious of saving her groceries and shares her tips online.

Alison said we should look in our cupboards to see what we already have – and make a plan around what foods are going to go off first.

She said: “Meal planning is my best tip.

“Just reduce what goes in your house in the first place.

“So many people have a habit of blindly picking stuff up.

“Even just jotting down a general idea, you’ll end up purchasing less.”

Alison is also keen to encourage families to freeze food they are not going to use before it goes off – such as chucking in a whole banana.

She said: “I do a lot of freezing.

“I make sauces in the summer ready for the winter.”

Alison also said many of the vegetables we think might not be edible may actually be fine to use – if we just peel back the layers.

She said: “I had a cabbage that looked oxidized.

“I just cut off the brown parts and saved the other bits.”

She has also started 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 flavour to soup.

“Just toss it whole into a vegetable soup and it brings extra flavour to the broth after it cooks.

“After the soup cooks it’s bendable. You can toss it after that.”

She also saves scraps by avoiding peeling vegetable like carrots – and just gives them a good wash instead.

Another of her hacks is to make a garlic confit to save cloves going bad.

Alison said: “Use your cloves of garlic going to go bad and use oil and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally.