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Monday, Dec 11, 2023 | Latest Print Edition

COLUMN | Repurpose your leftover groceries

<p>We can practice sustainability by creatively repurposing our leftover foods.&nbsp;</p>

We can practice sustainability by creatively repurposing our leftover foods. 

After a week of not going to the grocery store, we have all opened our fridge to half empty jars and containers. I am sure the question comes to mind, “What will I do with a spoonful of jam or my leftover dinner from a few days ago?” 

When there is hardly any substance left in bottles and containers, we automatically want to throw them away. However, we rarely think how these fragments of food can be put to good use. 

Surprisingly, it does not take a great deal of work to be sustainable in the kitchen. As most households tend to push all deserted and forgotten foods to the back of the fridge, why not utilize them to our environment’s advantage? 

We can start this change by creatively repurposing our leftover foods. 

Say you cook almost every night and have built up a plethora of reusable meals. Instead of having to start from scratch like usual, you can piece together different foods of past meals to create a brand-new recipe. This is as simple as heating up the food in the microwave and maybe adding a few of your favorite sauces and spices. 

There are various ways to preserve your contrasting categories of food.

Starting with condiments, one can mix jams with vinegar and oil to create salad dressings. These dressings could have thinner consistencies for salads or thicker consistencies for sandwiches. 

Furthermore, salsas, ketchup and barbecue sauces can all be added to soup or broths to make a more unique taste. Also, you can create yummy sauce toppings to mix up your avocado toast breakfast. 

Another great food source that can be reconstructed is vegetables. 

Leftover vegetables that have already been cooked and roasted once before can be turned into delicious puree soups, or even can be used as salad toppings. If vegetables are in your everyday diet, you can reheat your vegetables to be put on a sandwich along with your favorite sauce. 

Additionally, vegetables from last night’s dinner can be added to your breakfast in an omelet or frittata if that is more your speed. 

However, there are ways to repurpose your leftovers even if you are the pickiest of eaters. Bread and rice can be pureed and used as thickeners in soups. Bread can be made into homemade croutons for a yummy salad. 

Furthermore, an easy way to spice up your morning breakfast is to make bread crumbs, toast them in butter, and sprinkle the finished product over scrambled eggs to add a little crunch. 

Although it is uncommonly thought, even meats can be recycled for another meal. Bacon can be pinched into bits, sauteed in a pan with vinegar and oil, then poured over greens to add some flavor. 

Moreover, pieces of leftover meats such as chicken or pork, can be added in stews and soups. 

For protein, meats can be shredded into salads. Meats can create a myriad of meals such as tacos or cool wraps. Add your preferred veggies and condiments to whatever meat, and your repurposed dinner is served. 

Repurposing dinners is an easy, efficient way to limit food waste and create a cleaner environment with less pollution. If we all opt to be a little more inventive in the kitchen, as opposed to cluttering our refrigerators, we can make a change.

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Mallorie McCoy | Columnist

Mallorie McCoy, sophomore in journalism, is a columnist for The Auburn Plainsman.


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