It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Baked good aplenty. Tables groaning under the weight of baked ham and prime rib. Donuts and scones in the mornings. And wine, don’t forget the wine. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, holiday parties and gift baskets abound. It’s also the time of year when food waste is at it’s highest.
Get this: during Thanksgiving alone, Americans wasted approximately 204 million pounds of turkey. That’s just over the course of one weekend. In general, Americans throw away about 40% of all edible food. During the holidays, that number increases by about 5 million more pounds. Given that there are millions of people (49 million Americans alone) around the world who get little to no nutrition on a daily basis, these numbers are shameful.
To help control food waste this holiday season, Un-Plated chatted with experts of preserving food—chefs. Here are some of their best tips on reducing food waste for the holiday season.
Chef Adrienne Cheatham
Top Chef Season 15, Sunday Best
Make a stock using your vegetable and protein scraps.
Find creative ways to repurpose your leftovers.
Donate larger amounts of holiday leftovers.
Chef Bryan Voltaggio
Use all parts of the vegetable whenever possible.
Chef Deborah Scott
Chef & Partner of Southern California’s acclaimed Cohn Restaurant Group
Preserve fresh herbs by freezing them in olive oil.
“I have never have tolerated waste! A good part of my day is spent looking in trash cans…that’s where you will find your food cost. As for the home chef, utilization is the key. A great tip for left over herbs is to freeze them in ice cube trays with olive oil. When sautéing, pop one out for an instant flavored oil, instead of watching them go bad in the fridge.”
Chef Maggie Margolis
Executive Sous Chef at Maydan (American’s Best New Restaurants 2018 via Bon Appetit)
Save your drippings.
“Always, always save your roast beef drippings for Yorkshire puddings. And save your extra Yorkshire puddings for roast beef and egg sandwiches for the next morning!”