Leftovers don’t have to go straight to the trash bin. There are creative ways to reuse them. freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires.” Newcomer also advises checking the expiration date on your stocked foods. “Plan [to use those] that are closest to their expiration,” she says. “On a similar note, keep a list of what’s in the freezer and when each item was frozen. Place this on the freezer door for easy reference and use items before they pass their prime.” She also reveals that expiration dates don’t always have to do with food safety. “They’re usually manufacturers’ suggestions for peak quality,” she says. “If stored properly, most foods (even meat) stay fresh several days past the ‘use-by’ date. If a food looks, smells, and tastes okay, it should be fine. If any of these elements are off, then it’s time to toss it.” Also, if you have canned goods that are still far from their expiration dates, consider donating them to the less fortunate.
2. Compost and recycle. Newcomer
says food scraps don’t have to be thrown away. “Just start a compost pile in the backyard or even under the sink, and convert food waste into a useful resource.” Donna An does exactly that. She shares: “We have a compost pit in our yard where we started to convert our Japanese garden into an herb and vegetable garden instead.” Food scraps can also be repurposed or recycled. “In our home here in Manila my children have a pet rabbit that eats most of our vegtable scraps,” Patricia says. “In the province the vegetable
scraps are given to chickens as an organic alternative to feeds.”
3.Whip up new dishes from leftovers. While leftovers are
sometimes unavoidable, they don’t have to go straight to the trash bin. There are plently of creative ways to reuse them—and save money, too. “It’s just a matter of proper storage and creativity to lessen food waste,” Francis says, adding that he uses leftovers as ingredients for other dishes. “If I have leftover chicken, I chop it up and use it for sandwich spread,” he explains. “Or if I have leftover luncheon meat, I add it to fried rice. If I have leftover beef, I slice it into thin strips, then add cilantro, chili, onions, lime juice, carrots, or cabbage, and I have now a Thai beef salad that I can bring to work as my lunch.”
Just make sure leftovers are stored hygienically and properly so there is no problem with reusing them, he emphasizes. Patricia also reveals her savviness with leftover food, like making adobo flakes for breakfast or baon from excess pork adobo. Uncooked fish fillet patty is transformed into fish lumpia (roll). She makes use of leftover chicken from tinola (chicken soup), as well. “Usually the soup is the first to go, so I’m left with just meat. I wash [it] with warm water before shredding the meat. Add celery and mayo and it turns into a chicken sandwich.” With leftover steamed rice, she converts it into yummy Yang Chow fried rice, mixing in some scrambled eggs, carrot strips, celery, spring onions, and leftover ham or luncheon meat. Have uneaten day-old loaf bread or pandesal? Put it in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer. Thaw it out later to make bread pudding or French toast, recommends Patricia. “Tomato-based dishes can be used to make quick pizzas,” Donna An suggests. “Just add to pizza dough, flat bread, or even plain old bread slices topped with grated cheese. Heat it up in the oven and you’re all set!” When we improve our eating habits, we cut down on food wastage, increase our savings, and help alleviate food shortage in the country. Remember, too, that food is a blessing to be grateful for, not taken for granted. So if you think you’ve not been practicing eﬃcient food management, don’t fret. It’s never too late to be organized, innovative, and resourceful in the kitchen! FM
September-November 2016 | FamilyMatters