Tip Tuesday: Storing Vegetables (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of our Tip Tuesday: Storing Vegetables! Salad, mushrooms, stems and roots, are you ready to go through your kitchen and refrigerator to check whether you are following our rules of thumb? Let’s start!

Salad leaves

Leaves (eg. Lettuce, spinach, basil, kale)

They neither like too cold nor dry conditions. Remove any bands, ties or pots. Keep them folded in a small damp piece of paper in a covered container before putting into the refrigerator.

 

Variety of mushrooms
Fungi (eg. Various types of mushrooms)

Without washing, keep them in a covered container and store it in the refrigerator.

 

Asparagus and fennel
Stems (eg. Celery, asparagus)

Keep them in a covered container and store it in the refrigerator.

 

Orange and white carrots
Roots (eg. Beetroot, carrot, radish)

They usually have the greens on top. Cut the top off to reduce moisture loss so that the firmness can be maintained for a longer period of time. Wash them before keeping in a covered container which should be placed either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Rule of thumb:

  • Always cut the vegetables during food preparation, not during storage.
  • It is best to store the vegetables in a container to avoid them from absorbing odours from other items in your refrigerator.
  • During storage, separate ethylene-producing fruits from vegetables. Ethylene-producing fruits accelerate the ripening of the vegetables.!
  • Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator to allow good ventilation for rapid chilling and for their respiration (yes, they are still ‘alive’ and ‘breathing’!).

There you have it, some easy tips that will help you extend the life of your veggies and reduce food waste at your home!

Stay tuned for more advice!

The information provided here is served as a general guideline.

Nutritionist of The Froodly Team

Wan Lih Ching

Advertisements

Friday Recipe: Braised Soy Sauce Eggs

Braised eggs

Did you know that some ingredients might be even better to use when they’re not fresh anymore? The Froodly’s team is glad to announce you the beginning of a new series of blog posts – “Friday Recipe”– that will help you reduce food waste in your home kitchen! Are you ready to discover some incredibly tasty and sustainable food recipes?

Let’s start! Today we are going to see how to prepare Braised Soy Sauce Eggs. Be ready to surprise your guests!

Ingredients for 3 – 5 serving

* 6-10 hard-boiled eggs
* 3 cups water
* 1-2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
* 3 Tbsp soy sauce
* 1 Tbsp brown sugar
* 1 stick cinnamon
* 3 star anise
* 1-2 green tea bags (6 eggs = 1 green tea bag)
* Salt (optional because soy sauce is slightly salty.)
(Note: 1 Tbsp (tablespoon) = 15ml, 1 cup= 250ml)

Cooking Steps

  1. First, prepare the hard-boiled eggs by using a week old eggs. (Note: Fresh eggs are harder to peel!). Peeled off their shell and set aside.
  2. Heat up the water in a pot. While boiling the water, add the soy sauce, sugar, all ingredients except the eggs into the pot.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and boil for approximate 15-20 minutes, until the stock is infused with the aroma of the green tea, star anise, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the hard-boiled eggs to the stock and cook with the lower heat to simmer until 1 cup of the sauce left in the pot (about 15 mins in cooking). In order to get more sauce flavour into eggs, you can also use a fork by poking (make some tiny holes) on eggs surface if you like.
  5. Leave the eggs in the braised stock for overnight to get the best flavor.
  6. These braised soy sauce eggs can be stored in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.
  7. You can use the leftover sauce as a dipping sauce by adding a clove of fresh garlic, chopping fresh chili and spring onion.

(Note: The amount of dark soy sauce is depending on how dark you prefer your eggs to be.)

Enjoy!

Stay tuned for more recipes!

Sandra Sandar

Braised soy sauce eggs

France Cracks Down on Food Waste in Supermarkets

Fresh binned food to illustrate food waste
Copyright©U.S. Department of Agriculture

While a father with a minimum salary might be struggling to feed his family, a grocery might decide to throw away a large amount of unsold, edible food just as its best-before date approaches. Sadly, in many developed countries, this happens every day; the amount of wasted food increases together with the number of people having a hard time affording a proper meal.

France, which according to Le Monde, wastes around 7.1m tonnes of food every year, and where the phenomenon of poor people foraging in supermarkets bins at night to feed themselves has dramatically increased, has recently decided to take concrete steps in fighting food waste and helping the needy.

A new law, passed in February 2016, stops large supermarkets (of at least 400 squares meters) from binning good quality food approaching its best-before date by forcing them to donate it either to food banks or charities. Those who will flout the law will incur fines up to 3750 euros.

Thanks to the new regulation, practices such as pouring bleach on the unsold food to deter bin foragers won’t be allowed anymore.

The law will also simplify the bureaucracy for the food industries looking forward to giving their excess products to food banks.

This positive change in the legislation, which has been voted unanimously by the French National Assembly, is the result of a successful petition launched by Arash Derambarsh, a municipal councilor of Courbevoie, north-west of Paris. In an interview with the Guardian, Derambarsh has explained how he has started his campaign: by collecting and distributing unwanted food from his local supermarket, an action that eventually has allowed him and his supporters to feed up to 100 people per day.

But France is not the only European country committed to putting an end to the food squandering carried out by supermarkets. Italy, where the yearly value of the food being wasted amounts to 12.5 billion, and where six million people rely on food charities to eat, has recently passed a similar bill. Unlike France, instead of fining the lawbreakers, Italy will give incentives to those willing to donate their food (e.g. reductions in rubbish taxes).

The bill was passed in March by the Italian Parliament’s Lower House and it is now waiting for final approval from the Senate.

We at Froodly we hope that during the following months other countries will follow in France and Italy’s footsteps. What about you? We will keep an eye on this important topic, stay tuned!

Alice Moretti

Image credits Copyright©U.S. Department of Agriculture

Tip Tuesday: Storing Vegetables (Part 1)

There are so many kinds of vegetables out there…But which are the best methods to store them in order to avoid food waste? Do not worry, in this post and in the following one we will give you some useful tips to help you extend the life of your beloved fresh veggies. To make it simpler, we have grouped the vegetables in terms of the unprocessed point of view and not according to their scientific classification.

Fresh Broccoli and cauliflower

Flowers (eg. Broccoli, cauliflower)

It’s fine to leave them at room temperature for several days. Alternatively, you can keep them in a covered container before putting into the refrigerator.

Fresh peas

Seeds (eg. French beans, lentils)

They are fairly easy to keep fresh. You can place them at room temperature, refrigerate or freeze them. Generally, they last longer when kept at lower temperatures.

Garlic and onions

Bulbs (eg. Garlic, onion, ginger)

They are, too, easy to keep fresh. Store them at room temperature but away from heat, light and moisture. Avoid stacking them to allow good ventilation.

Potatoes

Tubers (eg. Potatoes, yams)

Store them at room temperature but away from heat, light and moisture. Avoid stacking them to allow good ventilation.

Fresh fruits

Fruits (eg. Chillies, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes)

Store them at room temperature but away from heat, light and moisture. Avoid stacking them to allow good ventilation.

Keep your veggies healthy and happy, stay tuned, more information will be coming soon!

The information provided here is served as a general guideline.

Nutritionist of The Froodly Team
Wan Lih Ching

The hard life of cosmetically challenged produce

Cosmetically challenged carrot

Being a veggie or fruit can be very tough. You might be a tasty, juicy tomato, perfect for an authentic Italian pasta recipe with fresh ingredients but still, you don’t manage to reach the shelves of a supermarket. Or, you might be a sweet strawberry, looking forward to landing on an amazing homemade soft creamy pie but instead, you end up in a landfill. Why? Because you are considered to be ugly, because your life is affected by high aesthetic standards.

Every year, in North America, six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables go to waste on farms simply due to their physical appearance. In the US, the aesthetic criteria are established by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the supermarkets themselves. According to USDA, in order for a carrot to make it to the shelves of a traditional retail outlet, it shouldn’t have a diameter less than two centimeters. A potato should be “fairly well shaped” and a tomato should be “fairly well formed and smooth”. But what does “fairly well shaped” exactly mean? These descriptions are vague and create an opportunity for different further interpretations. What is also interesting to point out is that although the USDA guidelines are voluntary, it is still the groceries that prefer keeping high expectations of how their fruit and veggies should look.

The life for misshapen vegetables and fruit is not easier in Europe where it is the European norms that set the standards. Some steps forward have been taken in 2008 when the European Commission has killed off the regulations on the shape and size of 26 types of fruit and vegetables. Among these: asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, plums, etc. For those, the European retailers are free to choose regardless of their appearance. Nevertheless, for ten types of fruit and vegetables, among which there are apples, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwis and peaches, the shape standards still apply.

Producing food that no one will eat means squandering a lot of resources, from water to seeds but also fuel and fertilizers. According to National GeographicNational Geographic, at a global level, every year the production of uneaten food consumes as much water as the entire annual flow of the longest European river, the Volga.

Luckily, lately some interesting initiatives have arisen to give a chance to the “ugly” fruit and veggies to make it to the supermarket shelters. An example is the American grocery chain Giant Eagle, which few weeks ago as launched the program “Produce With a Personality” to sell misshapen but equally tasty potatoes, oranges, and apples at a lower price. This initiative will be a great chance for customers to indicate that they are willing to buy oddly shaped fruit and veggies.

Remember, cosmetically challenged produce is just as delicious and nutritious as the perfect shaped produce! Let’s fight food waste together!

Alice Moretti

Tip Tuesday: Chocolate Bloom

 

I believe most of us cannot resist chocolate. Eating chocolate not only boosts our mood, but it’s also a good source of certain antioxidants.

Have you ever experienced this before, that you buy a bar of chocolate, you put it deep inside the refrigerator (or anywhere out of sight), and then you forget about it for a while? Then, one day it appears right in front of you and you decide both to check the expiration date and to try a bite. Often this chocolate doesn’t have an appealing texture and it presents white spots all over its surface. What are these spots?

Well, they are known as ‘blooms’, as the result of blooming. This phenomenon is completely normal and the chocolate is still safe for consumption. Blooms arise due to the fat and sugar contained in chocolate. Fat bloom feels slick and melts to the touch, whereas sugar bloom feels dry and remains when touched. The reason behind fat bloom is that the fat molecules (originating from the cocoa butter used in the processing of chocolate) have separated from the chocolate and solidified on the surface. Long storage and warm temperature are the factors of fat blooming. On the other hand, sugar bloom occurs when the chocolate is stored in a damp area. Owing to the difference in moisture content, sugar molecules migrate from the inner part of the chocolate to the surface. Sugar crystals appear on the surface after the moisture has evaporated.

Since chocolate is high in sugar, it has a relatively low microbial risk. For this reason, even if the chocolate has bloomed, we still can eat it as it is, or melt it to make toppings or desserts. Just a friendly reminder: moderating the consumption (and purchase) of chocolate is strongly recommended!

The information provided here is served as a general guideline.

Nutritionist of The Froodly Team

Wan Lih Ching

Food Waste and the EU’s Plans for a Circular Economy

Out of the 1.3 billion tons of food that gets lost or wasted every year at the global level, around 100 million comes from the European Union.

The European Commission is committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN on September 2015.  Among them, there is the will to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030.

As for the rest of the world, reducing food waste in Europe would not only mean lowering the environmental impact, but also saving money.

Tackling food waste is a core element of the EU Commission’s objective to develop a Circular Economy. This concept, opposite to the one of Open-Ended Economy, often criticized for lacking any tendency to recycle, underlines the need to promote long-lasting goods, waste prevention, and renewable energy resources. According to a Circular Economy perspective, our economic systems should work like organisms, processing nutrients that can be fed back into the cycle.

The strategy that the EU Commission will adopt to promote this ambitious plan is described in details in the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. Particularly, in relation to food waste the Commission will:

  • Develop a common European methodology to measure and monitor food waste;
  • Establish a platform for member states and stakeholders, allowing them to share best practices and evaluate the progress made over time;
  • Take measures to clarify EU legislation related to food donation to food banks, and the usage of unsold food as a resource in animal feed;

To strengthen this action, the EU is also reviewing its laws. To fulfill the aforementioned Action Plan, the European Parliament and the Council have proposed a revised directive on waste, which, among other goals, promotes increasing incentives to producers who put greener products on the market and follow recycling schemes (e.g. for packaging).

In addition to this, due to the key role that the civil society can play in reducing food waste, the EU Commission has made available in different languages some useful communication materials. For example, the guide “10 Tips: What can I do in my daily life to limit food waste?” provides European citizens helpful tips to reduce food waste, save money and protect the environment.

Through all these actions, both at the policy and law level, the EU is showing to be very committed to reducing food waste across the Old Continent.

We at Froodly we have taken up this important challenge as well. Through our innovative mobile application, allowing users to see the discounted products that are getting close to their expiry date around them, we are contributing to fighting food waste in Finland. Head to our website to find out more about Froodly’s Food Rescue App!

Alice Moretti

The UN Aims to Reduce Food Waste to Achieve Sustainable Development

According to FAO, approximately one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. In industrialized countries, where consumers’ behaviour plays a crucial role, the food losses and wastes amounts to almost US$ 680 billion. That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?

Food waste has a very negative impact on food security, use of natural resources and the environment. For this reason, important actors such as the UN but also the civil society are contributing to tackle this issue. Among the challenging objectives adopted on the occasion of the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, there is the will to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, and reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains. This ambitious goal is a key element of the UN’s broaden mission to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (Goal 12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).

Since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, sustainable production and consumption (SPC), together with poverty eradication and the management of natural resources, has been considered fundamental to achieve sustainable development.

But what is exactly SPC?

According to the United Nations Environment Programme Handbook for Policymakers, SPC is about fulfilling the needs of all while using fewer resources, including energy and water, and producing less waste and pollution. SPC involves both policies to improve production and to help consumers being aware about the sustainable consumption choices they can make.

Due to the complexity and variety of topics involved in SPC it is easy to understand why numerous stakeholders should be involved in order for it to be effective: government, private sectors, educators and consumers. Particularly, when it comes to tackling the food waste challenge, the role that each individual can play is of extreme importance.

By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the UN has made a step forward in reducing food waste and supporting sustainable development. What about you? Would you like to join this important cause? Download Froodly’s food waste app if you wish to help reduce food waste in Finland!

Alice Moretti

How Can We Feed The World’s Population in 2050?

The World’s Resource report posed the question: How will we increase the amount of calories for the world by 60% for the increasing population by 2050 in a way which will promote economic development and reduce environmental destruction?

Ingenuity in global sustainability is becoming increasingly popular with new ideas spreading across the globe daily. With new salvage grocery stores popping up in many countries it can now be said that One Mans Trash is Another Mans Nourishment. Almost expired food, over ripened fruits and vegetables and over stocked items are now being taken to special grocery stores which sell them at discount prices. In addition many communities as well as stores continue to donate extra or perishable items to soup kitchens and those in need.

Froodly is not only raising awareness and engaging the people of Finland but providing a simple solution in which everyone can contribute to helping reduce the overall amount of food waste.

Find more information at:
http://www.takepart.com/photos/zero-food-waste-grocery-stores/grocery-stores-committed-zero-food-waste

http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/world-resources-report/world-resources-report-2013-2015-creating-sustainable-food

Tip Tuesday: How do I Store Eggs?

Stamped egg

What do you do when you get home with a carton of eggs? It’s fine if you throw away the egg carton and store them in the little egg caddy in your refrigerator. However, it is recommended to store them together with their original carton because the carton prevents the eggs from absorbing strong odours/flavours from other foods in the refrigerator through the tiny pores in the egg shell; and you know how fresh they are because the best before date is shown on the carton.

You should also take note of the following:

  1. Store them in the main body of the refrigerator instead of the refrigerator door to ensure they are kept at a consistent cool temperature.
  2. Cold eggs should not be left out at room temperature for too long because condensation might facilitate microbial growth on the shell and probably ingress into the egg.

On the other hand, it is absolutely fine to store eggs at room temperature (“warm eggs”). Since eggs are put on an unrefrigerated shelf in the store, they will stay fresh at least before the best before date (if not longer) on the counter at home too. This is because the production and import of eggs are strictly controlled in accordance with the national Finnish Salmonella Control Programme (FSCP). The eggs are stamped with a producer code, indicating the method of production and the traceable right down to the farm.

In conclusion, almost all Finnish eggs are Salmonella-free. You can rest assured that storing eggs at room temperature or in the refrigerator is completely and equally safe.

 

The information provided here is served as a general guideline.

Nutritionist of The Froodly Team,

Wan Lih Ching