5 Creative Ways to Use Leftover Foods and Ingredients

Leftover Food

Do you find yourself with a lot of leftover foods after a meal? Well, first you need to figure out why there are a lot of leftovers in the first place. You could be ordering too much food or overestimating the amount of ingredients required to cook a dish. Food waste is a huge problem.

According to the EPA, the US threw away 38.1 million tons of food waste in 2017 and it is expected to keep growing. We can collectively make a difference by living a more sustainable lifestyle. That’s where apps like LeftoverSwap comes in and may be the reason you have landed on this page.

Back in 2013, LeftoverSwap was launched to help people barter or give away their leftover meals. It has since closed down, but there are still plenty of other ways to reduce and re-use leftovers. Here are some tips on how you can handle leftover foods at home or in the office.

1. Throw Away Bad Leftovers Carefully

Some leftovers will not be salvageable so they can go straight into the trash can. You need to, however, be careful when throwing away the food waste. The odor may attract unwanted household pests like ants and roaches to your kitchen if it isn’t properly contained. You might also get a visit from the neighborhood mice.

We recommend getting a kitchen bin that has a tightly-sealed lid to prevent such pests and rodents from making an appearance at home. You should also throw away the bin bags on a regular basis as leaving the food waste to rot is a quick invitation for gnats and fruit flies to start buzzing around your house.

2. Turn the Food Waste into Compost

There are a lot of household waste that can be turned into organic compost, which in turn, can be used to feed valuable nutrients to your houseplants. A lot of people are wary about starting their own compost because they think it takes a lot of effort. That isn’t necessarily the case. You can start off small with a compost bin that are designed to easily rotate and contain the odor.

What exactly can you compost though? You can find out by checking our list on what to compost. It includes many food waste items like cooked rice, fish scraps, and stale bread.

3. Make Stock or Broth with Leftovers

Leftovers could be inevitable if there are ingredients for specific recipes you want to follow. One good way to make use of some of these ingredients, especially vegetable leftovers, is to use them for homemade stock or broth.

Kitchen enthusiasts will know how versatile broth is as a recipe ingredient. Once you have made the broth, you could store it in a sealed jar or bag and leave it in the freezer for up to a few months. In addition to vegetable scraps, meat scraps can also be used for making broth or stock.

4. Check for Residential Food Waste Programs

Don’t want to make your own compost but still want to play a part in the sustainability movement? Check your local authority to see if there is any residential food waste collection program. Some cities may offer a program that allows you to easily discard food wastes from home.

Eugene, Oregon, for example, has a curbside composting program where residential households can discard food wastes into curbside debris bins, which will then be collected by city-run trucks and delivered to locally-based compost processors.

5. Plan Ahead and Portion Appropriately

There could be times when you ordered a meal at a restaurant or ordered delivery and found the meal portion to be huge. There absolutely is no need to try and finish the whole meal in one go. If you anticipate having some leftovers then plan ahead and save some parts of the meal for your next lunch or dinner.