Free Cookbook Shows How to Slash Food Waste

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©. 'Rock What You've Got' / via Guelph Family Health Study

Packed with smart advice, this downloadable PDF is full of delicious recipes that can save you money and hassle.

Do you ever find yourself throwing away food, wishing you'd caught it earlier and transformed it into something delicious? This unfortunate situation happens to all of us and is the equivalent of throwing money in the trash. Research from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, showed that "families with growing children waste nearly 3 kg (6.6 pounds) of edible food each week, which can cost them over $1,000 a year."

Help is on the way, however, in the form of a new cookbook. Published by the University of Guelph's Family Health Study, the book's aim is to reduce food waste at home, while offering nutritious and delicious recipes for families to enjoy. It's called Rock What You’ve Got: Recipes for Preventing Food Waste and is in PDF form, free to download.

I took a look at the cookbook and was impressed with what I saw. It is divided into three categories: 2-in-1 recipes that transform the leftovers from one meal into the makings of the next; fridge clean-out recipes that allow you to substitute different ingredients, based on what you have or what needs to be used up; and zero-waste recipes that use more of the individual ingredients, including parts that people often throw away.

The recipes themselves sound delicious. Tomato risotto with grilled romaine, udon noodle slurp bowls, Greek orzo stuffed peppers, and lemon butter asparagus and cauliflower soup were a few that caught my eye. The introductory chapters offer tips on better meal planning to reduce food waste, how to store food properly so it lasts (including a clever fridge diagram showing where certain ingredients should be kept), and how to salvage culinary catastrophes. Here's one example of a brilliant hack I'd never heard before:

"If you burn a dish, remove it from the heat and transfer the un-burnt portion to a new pot. Covering the pot with a clean, damp cloth for about 10 minutes will to help remove much of the burned flavour. If the dish still tastes a bit burned, try adding your favourite sauce (like BBQ, sweet chili or hot sauce)."

You can learn more and download your own copy of Rock What You’ve Got: Recipes for Preventing Food Waste here.