Many define food waste as throwing out food that is inedible or spoiled. But the term food waste also includes edible food that is leftover from food prep or cooking. With 30-40% of food in the U.S. thrown out every year, chefs are developing new ways to use food waste that is still safe to consume. There are many ways to transform leftover food into creative dishes and new menu ideas, helping with commercial kitchens' budgets.
Create Minestrone With a Variety of Foods
A classic version of minestrone is always perfect for a chilly day. And it stretches a long way. Chop up those leftover carrots, celery, greens, and zucchini. Wrap them well with freezer paper and cling wrap. The next time your kitchen makes dishes using macaroni, take the small amounts of dried pasta leftover and combining them. Bread going slightly stale? Perfect for croutons. And don't throw away those Parmesan rinds! Toss them into the soup while it cooks to give it a tasty cheesy undertone.
Pickled Vegetables Make a Surprising Side Dish or Appetizer
Many vegetables can be pickled, and it's a simple thing commercial kitchens can do to cut down on food waste. There are so many vegetables that can be used - including hot peppers, carrots, okra, green beans, and onions. It makes for a simple side dish, appetizer, or addition to meat dishes like steak and burgers.
The quickest way to pickle is to get a clean glass jar and jar lid. Take your vegetables and tightly pack them into the jar. Add whatever spices you'd like to use. With some vegetables, you don't even need additional spices.
Start by selecting a vinegar - you can use white, red, or apple cider, depending on what you're pickling. Add the vinegar to a saucepan or pot and add salt and sugar. Bring the vinegar mixture and a little water to a boil. Pour the hot mixture into the jar. Wipe off the lip of the storage jar, put the lid on, and store in the refrigerator. It doesn't take long for the pickling process to start, and you can serve within a few days.
Shepard's Pie Hits The Spot
A good meal for a variety of restaurants and foodservice establishments is Shepard's Pie. Not only is it comforting, but it's a dish that is enjoyed by many different ages. Leftover mashed potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, and onion will rescue a lot of food waste. Want to jazz the dish up a little? Use extra pork and ground beef in the pie. And why not add some leftover rice too?
Make Homemade Bone Broth
Bone broth has been around for thousands of years. It has a rich history, including in the Jewish and Chinese cultures. Recently bone broth has experienced a resurgence because of its healthy benefits. The bones breakdown in the cooking process, collagen is extracted, nutrients get removed from the bones, and it is said to help with the joints and skin. All you need is all the bones from your cooked chicken, turkey or ham, water, an acidic component such as apple cider vinegar or a lemon, and plenty of time for it to simmer down to broth. Bone broth can be used as a base for foods or even served alone.
The Key to Keeping Leftovers Fresh is Proper Refrigeration
Having the right temperatures in your commercial refrigeration is imperative to ensure that your leftovers are safe for your customers to eat. Having outdated equipment not only means not being able to keep steady temperatures, but it can also cost you more money if you have outdated equipment.
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