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How To Achieve Zero-Waste Cooking at Home

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November 17, 2023

Are you a home chef who loves cooking up a big meal for your loved ones, but worry about contributing to food waste? You are not alone! Many home cooks and professionals alike are looking for ways to reduce their food waste footprint without giving up on the deals bulk shopping offers.

5 Zero-Waste Cooking Ideas for Home Chefs 

With these five zero-waste tips, you can still take advantage of bulk grocery buying and feel good about caring for our environment.

Zero waste ideas for home cooks.

1. Freeze Fruits, Vegetables, and Proteins

One main contributor to food waste is spoilage. We always have the best intentions to cook and eat all the great foods we purchase from our wholesale grocery store. However, we have all experienced forgetting about those leafy greens at the bottom of our produce drawer or chicken thighs that got trapped in the back of the fridge.

Extend the life of your ingredients by freezing them before they start to spoil. Freezing food items at their peak freshness helps retain their nutrition and is easy to thaw in a pinch.

Pro Tip: To truly extend the life of your produce and proteins, take the time to meal prep and freeze whole meals for an even easier way to cook for the family.

2. Turn Your Scraps into Culinary Gold

Carrot tops, onion skins, potato peelings, and more can turn into some extraordinary culinary dishes. 

  • Oven bake or fry root vegetable peelings for a wholesome chip. Eat them as a snack, or use them as a crunchy topping for burgers, chili, salads, and avocado toast.
  • Turn stone fruit skins and tomato scraps into unique BBQ sauces. For a delectable peach BBQ sauce, swap out canned peaches for peach skins and any leftover flesh.
  • Make the best vegetable stock you’ve ever had with produce scraps. Save carrot peels, onion skin, celery stalks, corn cobs, fennel bulbs, and other favorite veggies, and simmer them with water to create a base of soups, stews, rice, and quinoa. Don’t have a lot of scraps for a full pot? Toss your scraps into a freezer bag and add vegetable bits as needed to the bag. Keep it in the freezer, and once it’s full, make your stock.

3. Preserve Fruits and Vegetables 

Canning, pickling, and making jams from your produce are great ways to reduce waste and make awesome eats. Canned, pickled, and preserved food can easily be stored in the fridge or cabinet (before opening).

Pro Tip: Certain meats lend themselves well to preservation. For example, rillettes are a great way to cook down meat and then store it for longer by letting the fat cap help preserve it.

4. Dehydrate Meats and Produce 

A home dehydrator is worth its weight in gold for a zero-waste kitchen. You can turn leftover beef and fish into flavorful jerkies that keep for an extended time. Dehydrate chiles, garlic, and ginger, then run them separately through a spice grinder for homemade spices. Cut apples, pears, apricots, and other fruits into rounds, then dry them for a gluten-free chip or add them to trail mix.

5. Create a Home Compost Program 

Composting is nature's way of breaking down vegetal matter and helping condition soil with vital nutrients. If you want to help reduce waste, consider getting a home compost system. There are plenty of options and sizes of compost bins for every home chef. Make sure you follow all the guidelines for proper composting.

Buy In Bulk and Save at US Foods CHEF’STORE

CHEF’STORE has aisles of incredible ingredients at budget-friendly prices. We offer a variety of meats and seafood, fresh produce, quality dairy, dry goods, and beverages, perfect for all your home cooking. CHEF’STORE also stocks professional-grade cooking essentials. 

Visit one of our many locations today and check out our wholesale grocery products to inspire your home-cooked meals. Don’t have time to go grocery shopping? Have your groceries delivered with our third-party delivery services!

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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