We closed out Earth Month 2021 with a sustainable meal preparation class led by Katrina Brink, from The Empowered Kitchen. In this interactive online class, she showed a few dozen Jupiter customers and friends from around the world how to use a meal prep process to make delicious meals that make full use of the ingredients, to cut down on food waste. For those of you who weren’t able to attend the event in person, here are a few highlights.
Katrina is the owner of The Empowered Kitchen, where she teaches home cooks a new approach to meal prep, by focusing on making full use of all parts of your fresh seasonal ingredients. Her professional background is all in sustainable food systems. She has a Masters degree in agriculture, food, and environmental policy from Tufts Nutrition School in Boston, which is where she became interested in food waste. This inspired her to develop a business where she could help people learn how to use all the odds and ends of their food and make the best use of all of their food when they're cooking.
Katrina’s Meal Prep Tips
- Chop Once to Use Throughout. Katrina started off the class by prepping all the onions that were to be used across the three dishes she taught.
- Minimize Cleanup With Smart Prep. If scrubbing baking sheets is not your thing, consider using a sheet of parchment paper to cover the surface and make cleanup a snap.
- Separate Veggies for Roasting. When you're roasting vegetables, if you want them to be nice and caramelized and kind of crunchy, make sure they're separated on the pan and not touching each other. If they touch each other, they will be ofter and still taste good, but you’ll miss out on the sweet caramelized taste.
- Choose Roasting Oils Carefully. When roasting, use a high heat cooking oil, such as sunflower, safflower, or grapeseed. These oils have a higher smoke point so they don't start smoking until the temperature is pretty high.
- Cut Onions in Half. Starting by halving your onions makes it easier to get the peel off. But when peeling, make sure you don't take off more layers than you need to. Just remove the papery, dry layers.
Ideas for How to Minimize Food Waste
- Compost Unusable Plant Materials. Katrina made a point to put any plant scraps that aren’t edible, like the woody asparagus ends, into a countertop compost bin.
- Trim Asparagus Sparingly. Thicker ends aren’t always inedible. Remove only the white, hard ends. With fresh asparagus, you can often easily snap off those ends by hand.
- Give Asparagus A Drink of Water. If you have any leftover asparagus that doesn’t fit on your roasting pan, grab a small glass of water. Then put your asparagus standing straight up in just a little bit of water and it will stay fresh longer in your refrigerator.
- Turn Stems into Stocks. Save your onion skins, leek tops, parsley stems, the green tops of carrots, and more and use them to make vegetable stock for soup. You can keep them in a sealed container in the freezer until you are ready to make your stock.
- Buy Whole Spices. Grind them up right before using them to get the most flavor from their natural oils that release as you grind them.
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