Save the Food: How to waste less food this holiday season

The holiday season is upon us and that means eating delicious food and lots of it! However, with comes eating all that delightful food there comes a lot of leftovers and sadly, even waste. According to the National Resources Defense Council, each year 40 percent of food goes to waste. That is an incredibly upsetting statistic especially when we compare that with how many individuals going hungry on a daily basis. Doesn’t it seem like we could feed those in need with that 40 percent?

When we sat down and started organizing bRUNch events, one thing we were conscious of was food waste. Restaurants love buffets for large groups, and don’t get us wrong, buffets look and taste great, but the amount of food wasted can become staggering! As as a company, we to strive to reduce the amount of food we waste each year to be as minimal as possible. 

As we enter the holiday season, we will fill our bellies beyond its normal capacity. There will be leftovers and food will be just thrown away without being given a second thought and that is just plain wasteful. So, we decided to reached out to Arlan Preblud, executive director at Denver’s We Don’t Waste, for some tips on how we can reduce our wasteful tendencies this season, and everyday. 

  • In preparing for the holidays and holiday cooking, buy what you believe you will consume and consume what you buy. (Seems easy enough, right?)
  • Don’t worry about fruits and vegetables looking pretty, they all taste the same.
  • Maintain your leftovers. Frozen leftovers last longer, if properly handled. Leftovers with less liquid are easier to maintain. There is no magic, common sense is the best test.
  • When saving food, make sure to take any hot foods down in temperature before storing. Make sure the food is cool before storing in the refrigerator.

Need some tasty ideas for your leftovers? We reached out to some of our amazing partners and asked them to share some of their best “leftover” recipes with us and we will be sharing them with you all holiday season! Here the first recipe to help you recreate your leftovers: we call it turning over your leftovers (#bRUNchhumor).

Chef Matt McKenzie at The Edison Restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida loves to make turnovers with leftovers. 

"I'm from the South, so ham has always been a bigger deal around the holidays for my family than turkey could ever be. I typically roast and glaze a bone-in ham and my mother makes a holiday dressing with sage sausage. Now, I'll happily stuff my fat little chipmunk cheeks with either of these things, hot or cold, but in the past when I've felt like keeping the kitchen magic alive, I've made little turnovers filled with these ingredients (which I've then dipped in leftover gravy, because why the heck wouldn't I?)

Holiday Turnovers

3 cups bread flour (AP is fine if bread flour isn't available)

4 Tbsp. dry milk powder

3.5 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 cup water, warm

Leftover holiday dressing

Leftover ham

Dissolve the yeast and sugar into the water and allow the mixture to bloom for 2-3 minutes.  Add the salt, flour and milk powder and form into a rough dough.  Knead with a dough hook mixer attachment for 2-3 minutes or by hand for 5-8 minutes.

Divide the dough into 10 equal portions.  Roll each portion flat.  Into the center of each flattened dough portion, spoon in leftover dressing and lay on a bit of ham, as thick as you'd like.  Fold up the edges of the dough and pinch closed, making a sort of chocolate kiss-shaped pouch.

Line the pouches up on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Cool on a rack or eat immediately. With gravy. Because gravy is delicious!

Join the fight, and help save the food! Use what need and consume it or share it but don’t let it go to waste. Our community partner Metro Caring is on the front lines of hunger prevention and food sustainability. This year they launched a campaign to “Save the Food, Share the Food.” We invite you all to sign the pledge to reduce food waste. 

There are many that are in need of food, let’s work together to waste less, and fill the bellies of everyone.