If you’ve ever been into a Knifewear store, watched one of our YouTube videos, or seen our TikToks, you’re probably aware that many of our staff have backgrounds in professional kitchens. In restaurants, margins are razor-thin, and waste is a mortal sin. During my years behind the line, three main points got hammered home in every kitchen, and they can help you reduce waste in your own home!
“Sharpen your knife, chef!”
Use a Sharp Knife
Quality is determined by more than good produce; a dull knife will result in bruised herbs, rough cuts and an angry chef. A sharp knife will passively reduce waste, making it the easiest way to keep that compost bin empty. Less bruising, cleaner cuts and more precision when trimming blemishes means less time spent redoing that nice brunoise or picking through squished chives. Keep your knives sharp with a ceramic honing rod! If they require a little more work, bring them to us for professional sharpening or even take a class to learn how to sharpen them yourself. Trust me, a sharp knife cuts out waste better than almost anything else!
Planning ahead means less guessing at the market and less food sitting in your fridge going bad. By making a meal plan, you can streamline your grocery trip and save some cash while you’re at it. No need to try and figure out what to do with that cauliflower sitting in the veg drawer; plan your meals accordingly (Harissa Roasted Cauliflower, anyone?), and you will end up throwing less stuff into the compost bin. Try writing down some great recipe ideas in one of our Cooks Notebooks, and even use the handy seasonality chart at the back to get the most out of your groceries at the right time of year.
Make syrups, soups, sauces, and stocks!
I wish we could all get to the same point as some truly Zero Waste kitchens by making garums and fermenting everything under the sun. The truth of the matter is that we don’t all have vacuum sealing machines, temperature-controlled walk-in fridges and access to high-end molecular gastronomy tools. However, we can be thoughtful about the food waste we create. Keep a good peeler handy to take less skin off when you peel a carrot, and even then, have a freezer bag full of your veggie trim ready to make a stock that can boost the flavour of pretty much any dish. Our Kuhn Peeler has a wicked sharp carbon steel blade that doesn’t take away too much of the flesh of your veggies!
Want to use up that floppy celery before it goes bad? Chop it up with some onion and carrot and use it as the base for almost any soup.
For delicate things like herbs, put them in a ceramic mortar and pound them into a delicious pesto or herb oil. Freeze them in ice cube trays to keep it fresh.
Now that you’ve picked the leaves don’t throw those stalks away. Herbs like cilantro, dill and parsley all have stems that contain loads of flavour and aren’t too woody. Try using your nice sharp knife to finely chop them and add them wherever you have used the leaves. Herb stems are great in salads, soups, etc. Alternatively, throw them (as well as woodier stems like thyme, rosemary and sage) straight into that stock pot to add great flavour and aroma.
It doesn’t have to stay savoury, either! Boil equal parts water with sugar until the sugar has dissolved, take it off the heat and add in those mint stalks or the skin from the ginger you just grated and hey-presto: you’ve got yourself some deliciously flavoured simple syrups to add to your next batch of cocktails!
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas on how to use your kitchen gear to its fullest potential and cut down on the waste in your kitchen, too, with recipes that even Martha Stewart and her collection of Takamuras would be proud of. Or stop by one of our stores and chat with our staff, or better yet, take the Cut Like a Chef class and ask for more ideas!