At Hotel Mockingbird Hill, it is important that we do everything that we can to try and avoid waste. With a little thought and creativity, it is very much possible to produce zero waste!
Some of the ways we try to reduce waste and recycle at Hotel Mockingbird Hill include:
- Composting on-site and in the garden
- Giving cooked leftovers to the hog farmer
- Having a daily changing menu to reflect ingredients that are available, seasonal and local. Aside from our guests enjoying a fresh meal, having cooked-to-order meals allows us to have no excess waste!
- Washing and recycling bottles to make sauce containers, and to give to bee farmers
- Washing and recycling tins to make candle holders and watering cans
Here are some simple tips you can use to reduce your waste and offset your carbon footprint:
- Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good “mock hash brown”
- Don’t toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs
- If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don’t waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers
- Celery leaves usually get tossed. There’s a lot of good flavor in them; chop them up and add them to meatloaf, soups, or stews
- Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. You can then store them in olive oil in the refrigerator (if you plan on using them within a week) or in the freezer
- Too many bananas or zucchini? Make cake, bread, or muffins. If you’re not ready to eat your baked goods right away, freeze them. When you’re ready to eat, defrost and enjoy!
- Make croutons out of day-old bread
- Turn day-old bread into homemade bread crumbs
- Freeze leftover bread. This way you’ll have day-old on hand whenever you need breadcrumbs
- Put Parmesan cheese into the food processor with day-old bread to make Parmesan bread crumbs. This tastes excellent on eggplant slices, pork, or chicken
- Add chopped bread to a soup. It will dissolve and thicken the soup. Delicious!
- Made too many pancakes or waffles for breakfast? Put them in the freezer, then toss in the toaster for a fast and tasty weekday breakfast
- Don’t toss those chicken bones! Boil them to make homemade chicken stock
- Turn leftover bits of cooked chicken into chicken salad for sandwiches
- Use leftover roast beef or pot roast in an easy vegetable beef soup by adding veggies, water, and the cooking juices from the meat
- Chop herbs and add them to ice cube trays with just a little water. Drop whole cubes into the pan when a recipe calls for that herb
- Make pesto with extra basil or parsley or arugula
- Leftover coffee in the carafe? Freeze it in ice cube trays. Use the cubes for iced coffee or to cool down too-hot coffee without diluting it. You can do the same with leftover tea
- If there’s a splash or two of wine left in the bottle, use it to de-glaze pans to add flavor to whatever you’re cooking
- If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don’t pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of pickles, or add it to salad dressings
- You can also freeze broth or stock in ice cube trays, and use a cube or two whenever you make a pan sauce or gravy
- If there’s just a bit of honey left in the bottom of the jar, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and swish it around. The lemon juice will loosen up the honey, and you have the perfect addition to a nice cup of tea
At Hotel Mockingbird Hill, we use a lot of these tips given by care2 at our restaurant Mille Fleurs. In addition to reducing food waste there are many other tips on reducing other forms of waste such as packaging. We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce waste so please feel free to share your ideas!