The holidays are a great time to dust off the mixing bowls, pop open the spice cabinet and whip up something delicious. Here are six tips on how to stay waste-conscious while you treat yourself and loved ones to something sweet this season.
1 . Explore bulk sections for ingredients
The bulk aisles at grocery stores and co-ops can contain a trove of dessert-making ingredients. Buying in bulk also enables you to buy the quantities you plan to use and therefore reduce waste. At my local co-op, I’ve found ground cinnamon (perfect for this use-it-up apple crumble) and almond flour (essential for macarons, if you’re up for the challenge). If your local bulk aisle offers peanut butter, you can even give these zero waste peanut butter cookies a try.
2. Make the most of your ingredients
Maximizing your ingredients helps to reduce food waste. For example, you can incorporate orange peel zest and juice into this orange pound cake with orange curd, or you can soak citrus peels in vinegar to create a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner. Or check out 7 ways you can use apple peels!
3. Upcycle jars into dessert gifts
Here’s a fun gift idea that repurposes old jars accumulating in your cupboard: fill them with dry ingredients of hot cocoa, cake or cookie mix to make a delicious gift.
4. Source locally
Shipping worldwide contributes to 3% of global greenhouse gases, which is more than what Canada or Brazil contributes. We can help change this trend by choosing locally-sourced ingredients like carrots (great for these zero waste carrot cake bites), eggs and milk.
5. Compost your food scraps
Common dessert ingredients like dairy are compostable in traditional home composting systems, and they are also accepted through food scrap drop-off and pick-up services. By July 1, 2020, all Vermont residents are required to divert food scraps from the trash bin.
6. Rescue leftovers
Got leftover ingredients? In addition to sharing with friends and family, you can use community forums like Front Porch Forum or apps like Olio to connect with neighbors who can put your ingredients to good use.