Best Cookbooks for No Food Waste Meals
With 22% of our trash being just food, it’s important to choose recipes that use every last scrap of a possible ingredient. Things like carrot tops, banana peels, broccoli stems, pasta water, and stale bread can all be crafted into delicious meals with the right recipe.
It can be intimidating though to start cooking with something that you’ve always thought of as unusable! Thankfully some amazing chefs have created cookbooks specifically designed for reducing food waste in our kitchens. And although you may feel intimated, don’t be confused - cooking with scraps isn’t all complicated recipes for only the experienced chefs among us. Simple adjustments in recipes can be made to the things you already know and love to cook!
Have you tried my banana bread recipe that uses the peel? Or my lemon bar recipe that uses the rind? These are great zero waste desserts to test out!
But if I compost the scraps, do I have to worry about food waste?
You may find yourself thinking that you don't have to worry about using up all your food and produce because it's going to get composted. You may even believe that throwing it in the trash doesn't matter because it'll break down in the landfill! But it's important to understand the energy goes into growing, watering, transporting, and selling your food. So composting it is better than the trash, but doesn't eliminate the environmental footprint that was already generated getting it to you.
Oh, yeah. And definitely read about why your banana peels won't break down in the landfill if you're tossing them in the trash.
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Cookbooks for Cooking Without Food Waste
The Zero Waste Chef
By Anne-Marie Bonneau
Published just this year (2021!), Anne-Marie's cook book is pure gold for your zero waste kitchen! She has been providing tips for reducing food waste for years on her website and Instagram and finally compiled it all into a beautiful cookbook. What I love the most about her cooking style is that it's can be both simple and complex. If you're relatively new to cooking and don't feel like a whiz with spices, she sets realistic expectations in her recipes and provides swaps for even simple meals. You can take on making vegetable stock from scraps or master the art of bread making - either way, she's a chef you want on your side! (Or should I say in your kitchen?)
The Zero Waste Cookbook
By Amelia Wasiliev
Set up similarly to a traditional cook book, The Zero Waste Cookbook provides recipes for using up ingredients like banana peels, egg shells, orange peels, and stale bread. Some recipes are quite easy - while others are fun for a date night project or as something to do with the kids!
My Zero-Waste Kitchen
By Kate Turner
This brightly colored cookbook includes easy to follow graphics about food waste in our kitchens. Each recipe includes a traditional dish (such as a smoothie) and then provides suggestions for using up items that are typically wasted (such as banana peels). This book would be a great place to start conversations with children about food waste and incorporate "food waste" cooking projects into classrooms.
Zero Waste: 60 Recipes for a Waste-Free Kitchen
By Cinzia Trenchi
The Less Waste, No Fuss Kitchen
By Lindsay Miles
Cook More, Waste Less
By Christine Tizzard
The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook
By Linda Ly
Cooking with Scraps
By Lindsay-Jean Hard
Other Food Waste Solutions
Overall though, you can do a lot to reduce waste in your kitchen without having to get your hands on a cookbook. So much of our food waste comes after the meal is over, after all. We tend to get tired of leftovers and toss so much edible food in the compost (or the trash!) when maybe it just needs a little extra spice added to get it yummy again.
Take some time to also learn about why food waste is a problem and how composting your food doesn't make it "okay" to not use it up. Once you understand better the cause and possible solutions for food waste, it'll feel hard to look at ingredients in the fridge the same way.
Do you use a specific cookbook or follow a particular blogger for ideas on zero food waste cooking? I'd love to hear about it!