You probably have heard the buzzword “zero waste” thrown around a lot lately. But what exactly does it mean? Why is it such a craze? And why now? 

Well, we’re here to answer all your zero waste questions, and show you how easy zero waste cooking can be! Your wallet, the environment, and most importantly, your health will thank you. Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

zero-waste-hacks-to-give-new-life-to-your-food-scraps-la-espanola-olive-oil.jpg

What is zero waste?

The term refers to innovative yet easy ways to reduce your food, plastic, paper and general resource consumption. While many eco-friendly enthusiasts have been practicing zero waste for years, the trend is really gaining global momentum recently.

But why now?

It’s simple. Given the global climate, we’re all looking for innovative ways to improve our home gardens, cut down on grocery costs, and reduce trips to the store. And let’s face it - we also have a lot more time on our hands at home! 

So, how can you start zero waste cooking? You probably already know to bring reusable bags to the supermarket and to repurpose your jars (and if not, we recommend it!). But today, we’re going to focus on our favorite topic: food. 

Veggies & Meat Scraps

First and foremost, DON’T throw away your food scraps! Seriously. We’re talking garlic peels, onion skin, carrot heads, asparagus bottoms, leek scraps, meat bones - all of those food scraps you normally throw away are gold for soup stocks

Instead of throwing them away, toss them into a container in the freezer. When your container is full with scraps, it’s stock time! Our favorite way to make stock is to toss the veggie scraps with olive oil and salt, and throw them in the oven on very low heat (225 F) for a few hours until they’re golden crispy (this step is optional but it makes a much more flavorful stock). Then throw everything in a soup pot with water. Bring to a boil, and then bring down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 4-6 hours, as the heavenly aromas fill your kitchen. 

Not only is homemade stock way healthier and more flavorful than store-bought stock, but it’s virtually free!

Fresh Herbs

So you now know what to do with your veggie and meat scraps - but what about that beautiful bunch of herbs in your fridge that are starting to wilt? Make some tea out of them! Boil some water and throw your herbs in for a nutritious and flavorful midday boost. Our favorite is mint tea with some honey

Alternatively, you can make a pesto out of them. Traditional pesto is made with basil, but pesto can be made out of any herbs! Get creative with it - we recommend a parsley and/or cilantro pesto. Just blend your herbs with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and salt and you’ve got yourself a delicious aromatic sauce. 

Magic Water for Your Plants

Magic water? Here us out. Next time you cook up pasta or grains, DON’T throw the water down the drain! Let it cool down and water your plants with it. That water is full of starchy goodness that soil loves. The nutrients actually foster plant growth and even act as a fertilizer! Just make sure your water isn’t salted or seasoned, as that will have the opposite effect. Not to mention, you’re also saving the planet by using less water :)

 Your Challenge? Start zero waste today.

Now that you know our favorite food hacks for zero waste - the world is your oyster! We challenge you to start your zero waste cooking today, and tell us how it goes. 

What are your favorite zero waste hacks?