Eco-friendly ways to save leftovers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - By Kim Cook

Hol­i­day meals tend to mean lots of leftovers; ei­ther we make enough for an army, or the army we ex­pected didn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize.

If you’re wor­ried about the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of that king-size roll of plas­tic wrap or that stack of dis­pos­able plas­tic tubs, here are some al­ter­na­tives:


“The key to stor­ing leftovers in an eco-friendly way is to use — and re­use — what you al­ready own,” says Madeleine Somerville of Ed­mon­ton, Al­berta, author of “All You Need Is Less: The EcoFriendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Liv­ing and Stress-Free Sim­plic­ity” (Viva, 2015).

“Mak­ing use of (jars and con­tain­ers) that you al­ready have will al­most al­ways beat out buy­ing some­thing new,” she says. “Don’t worry about not hav­ing a per­fect, In­sta­gram-wor­thy fridge or freezer. As your old con­tain­ers break, get lost or wear out, then you can be­gin in­vest­ing in glass or stain­less steel op­tions.”

Soups, stews, smooth­ies, frozen fruits and veg­eta­bles all work well de­canted and stored in glass jars; just leave 1/4 of the jar empty for ex­pan­sion. And while a glass con­tainer with a snap-lock lid isn’t 100 per­cent plas­tic-free, it does a good job keep­ing turkey and other meats and leftovers fresh, and can be used in­def­i­nitely.

Wil­liams-Sonoma stocks a va­ri­ety of glass Ma­son or Weck can­ning jars. Check out Fishs Eddy’s jar col­lec­tion, em­bel­lished with straw­ber­ries, flow­ers, bees or polka dots. (www. )

Mighty Nest stocks Du­ralex’s tem­pered-glass stor­age con­tain­ers, which can go from fridge or freezer to mi­crowave or oven. The lids are free of ph­tha­lates, BPA, PVC and lead. They’ve got sturdy stain­less steel con­tain­ers, too. ( )

Bos­ton Ware­house has a stoneware col­lec­tion that can be used for cook­ing as well as stor­age. Pieces have mod­ern geo­met­ric prints on them, and vented lids. (www.ev­ery­thingk­ ) Or check out Corelle’s enamel steel stor­age col­lec­tion, in a va­ri­ety of prints and pat­terns, ready to go from fridge to ta­ble. (www.way­fair. com)


Bee’s Wrap, in­vented by Bris­tol, Ver­mont, mom and gar­dener Sarah Koeck, is a beeswax, jo­joba oil and resin-coated or­ganic cloth that can be used to cover bowls or to wrap breads. It comes in sev­eral sizes and warms to a pleas­ing mal­leabil­ity when han­dled. The wraps last about a year, and can be cleaned with cool wa­ter. (www. )

And if you find it hard to re­lin­quish zip­pered plas­tic bags, con­sider Bio Bags. They’re made of plant starch, so when you’ve eaten up the leftovers you can com­post the bag. ( )


Kris Bordessa, who writes a blog called At­tain­able Sus­tain­able, sug­gests: “When it’s time to clean up after din­ner, we of­ten have small amounts of veg­eta­bles or sauces left in the pan. Not quite enough for a left­over lunch, but enough that I don’t want to waste it.”

She col­lects those odds and ends in con­tain­ers in the freezer. When she makes soups, she reaches for one of those jars. The trick, she notes, is not to mix in­com­pat­i­ble fla­vors.

She also freezes small quan­ti­ties in muf­fin tins. Once the food’s frozen solid, she wraps it

in wax pa­per and foil to store.

HGTV’s Scott McGillivray also uti­lizes his freezer: “I use a lot of fresh herbs from my gar­den while cook­ing for Thanks­giv­ing, so I cut up the leftovers and freeze them in olive oil in ice cube trays. You can toss the frozen cubes in a sauce pan or fry­ing pan for a fu­ture meal and you’re good to go.”

He also uses ice-cube trays for left­over wine. “In the un­likely event you ac­tu­ally have wine left over, you can freeze it and use it to en­hance your next dish.” www.scottm­


This un­dated photo pro­vided by Bee’s Wrap, shows the com­pany’s eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive to plas­tic wrap. Aside from keep­ing fruits, veg­gies, school lunches, bread, cheese, and so much more fresh, Bee’s Wrap is great for cov­er­ing bowls of leftovers, proof­ing dough and, es­pe­cially this time of year, bring­ing to hol­i­day gath­er­ings to cover plat­ters of food or giv­ing as a host­ess gift. They’re re-us­able, wash­able and com­postable.


This un­dated photo pro­vided by Way­fair shows the Corelle Stor­age Set, which comes with flo­ral, leaf and geo­met­ric pat­terns, and are freezer, mi­crowave and dish­washer safe.

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