Photo: How to not be a food-waste statistic

Make a plan to use all the turkey (or tofurkey) or to save it for later — (Credit: sliceofchic via Flickr)

You gave thanks for good food this weekend. Now, don't waste it! Here's a recipe to avoid becoming a food-waste statistic.

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I bet that somewhere between turkey (or tofurkey) and pumpkin pie, you gave thanks for good food this weekend.

Great, now don't waste it!

Obviously, scraping heaps of food into the garbage post-celebration is no way to show gratitude for the harvest, but that's exactly what thousands of Canadians will do later this week.

I say we're better than that.

The stats, unfortunately, tell a different story! According to recent reports, household food waste totals $13 billion dollars annually!

You want to talk about barriers to solving hunger and poverty, what about the feasibility of sustainable farming practices and about being able to afford an organic diet — let's talk food waste!

A brilliant anthropoligist recently told me that history means the present is unquestionably temporary — that our current conditions can and must change. The question that remains, then, is how and when.

If you've been a food-waste statistic every year until now, this is your opportunity to change!

So let's talk how:

  1. Meal plan — Make a plan to avoid leftover fatigue. Find recipe inspiration everywhere online, including on my Pinterest board!
  2. Soup it — Veggies make delicious stew, mashed potatoes thicken any stock beautifully and, of course, there's the classic turkey soup.
  3. Freeze it — Everything from the turkey carcass to roasted squash freezes well for future use. It takes only takes a moment.
  4. Donate it — If you're really swimming in leftovers (or just really benevolent), a tray of turkey sandwiches is sure to be appreciated by your community's homeless or your workplace's hungriest!
  5. Use it all — Bring your toughest leftover hurdles to our Facebook community.

Here are two suggestions to get you started:

  • Turkey stock: Make stock from turkey bones. It's as easy as simmering bones in water with an onion and celery for a few hours. Freeze the stock in glass jars once it's completely cooled. But make sure to leave room for it to expand or the jars will crack.
  • Roast the pumpkin: Time to roast and eat the table decorations! Our family favourites include pumpkin soup and pumpkin scones. What are yours?

Comment with your favourite leftover recipes for a chance to win Eleanor Boyle's High Steaks: Why and How to Eat Less Meat!


Tovah Paglaro, a fellow Queen of Green

October 16, 2013

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Nov 24, 2013
10:10 AM

At the risk of self promotion my recently published book “The Leftovers Handbook: A-Z of Every Ingredient In Your Kitchen with Inspirational Ideas For Using Them” is a very useful tool with tackles not only the waste of food and resources but of good eating opportunities.

Oct 20, 2013
3:31 PM

This is a great reminder. I read a few comments on Facebook. We’ve all got a lot of things to consider on a daily basis: our health, environment, habits, relationships etc. Within the food circle, not only must we consider our health in terms of making healthy choices but to think ahead regarding the garbage waste which we produce in the process (aside from the food waste). How do we prepare our food? Are you storing food in ziplock bags? Try reusable glass containers instead. How do we buy our food? Try to buy less processed packaged food and make fresh at home. What is the packaging and where will it end up? Lots to think about and it is possible to change habits that are damaging for everyone. We can do better. Aside from practice, it first takes awareness.

Oct 19, 2013
5:18 AM

Re: donate it Any Community shelters /organizations that I have ever dealt with do not accept any opened food for legality reason I guess. You can bring a fully cooked complete turkey and they won’t take them. Potential liability trumps being a good samaritan. So, when the pizza place screws up our order and gives us a free pizza, we just toss the whole thing in the trash….

Oct 19, 2013
5:13 AM

After thanksgiving dinner I took the carcass and dropped it into a shopping bag and put it in the freezer. I simmer it to make broth and freeze the broth in ice cube trays, and these can be tossed in a skillet or stir fry for flavor. An added bonus: its a great source of collagen, which helps hair and fingernails get strong, long, and healthy AND it helps prevent wrinkles. Its a win win all around!

Oct 17, 2013
8:27 AM

My favourite is bubble and squeak (pan crisped left-over mashed potatoes and chopped Brussel sprouts) with veggie gravey, of course.

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