Life with kids means hours spent in the kitchen prepping food – whether it’s the nightly ritual of dinner, the breakfast bombsite that appears every morning, or the endless task of snack prep for busy families on the go.
Not only is the kitchen the heart of the home, it’s also the place where we’re most likely to create waste – and no-one wants to see our fresh food being thrown away. It’s a drain on the environment and the wallet.
Freyja Tasci, founder of Apiwraps – Australia’s original beeswax wrap company, is a big believer in reducing unnecessary waste in the kitchen. Here, she shares her five top tips for sustainable food prep to get you started.
1. Keep food fresh for longer by being a clean freak
Food spoils in storage because the nasties on our fingerprints have time to grow. Cheese with mouldy spots, pumpkins starting to rot, and mayonnaise that’s growing a garden all happen because of contamination from utensils or hands that aren’t clean enough. Wash hands with soap and handle fresh food as little as possible. Keep the wrapper on the cheese as you grate it, cut only what you need from the pumpkin and always use a fresh clean knife in jars.
2. Prep your veggies
Setting aside half an hour for when your weekly veggies arrive will help them last longer and stay fresher. Wash leafy greens, and wrap them in beeswax wraps to make sure they’re ready to go on busy weeknights. Hard veggies like carrots, pumpkin and cabbage can hang around for longer, but even leafy greens will last a week if they’re wrapped in an Apiwrap.
3. Get organised with your meal planning
Planning out your meals will help you only buy what you need, and also to prioritise the order you’ll use things. Planning what you’ll use first after shopping day will mean the coriander and frilly lettuce are at the front of the week, while the carrots and potatoes can wait for another day. As you cut your vegetables, keep any pieces of things like capsicum, red onion and cucumber in an Apiwrap pocket, ready to prepare for a salad the next day. It’ll save you time and mental load, having everything in one place.
4. Say bye bye to single-use plastic
Packing your sandwich in a sandwich bag every day? One beeswax Apiwrap lasts a year and could save you from throwing away 250 sandwich bags. Single-use plastics are nasty for the planet and nasty on food, so ditch the cling wrap, and invest in some quality beeswax wraps and stainless steel containers. It will reduce unnecessary waste AND keep food fresher for longer. Win-win.
5. Fall in love with leftovers
Leftovers are a fact of family life, so treat your leftovers right and they’ll love you right back. Put leftovers straight into lunch box containers or sandwiches, saving time in the morning and ensuring they don’t stay forgotten in the fridge, spoiling. Also factor in leftovers to your weekly meal planning, and keep some go-to recipes in your planning which are great for using up bits and bobs left in the fridge at the end of the week – things like risotto and fried rice are great for this.
Everything you need to know about beeswax wraps:
- Beeswax wraps keep food fresh for longer because they make a watertight seal, but they also breathe! This combination of properties mimics the skin of fruit and vegetables to keep foods as though they’re still intact even though they’ve been cut – we’re looking at you avocado.
- Beeswax wraps can be reused more than 250 times with a quick cold water rinse with a little hand soap between uses. That’s saving a whole lot of ‘shipped from China’ plastic from the system.
- Your Apiwraps can be refreshed and made brand new with a quick hit from a hairdryer or some time in the sun. This melts and reactivates the beeswax, giving them a new lease on life.
- Beeswax has always been the optimal way to preserve cheese, beeswax wraps level it up by being easy to unwrap and wrap again after lunch prep.
- Beeswax, gum rosin and coconut oil all have anti bacterial properties and can save fresh food from spoiling.
- Beeswax wraps can seal onto any hard surface – hard plastics, wooden salad bowls and watermelon skins are wrapable – see ya cling wrap.
- Beeswax wraps are, well, beeswax. They’ll melt if you use them in the microwave. Don’t drape your freshly washed Apiwrap over the tap to dry (if someone turns the hot water on it’ll stick). And don’t leave your lunch on the backseat of the car on a hot day!
- When the wax has worn off your Apiwraps and it’s time to retire them, you can pop them in your worm farm or compost bin where they’ll feed your plants and become bee food all over again. Full circle living!