Reduce food cost & food waste with soup

Food prices are going UP in 2021! The forecasted increase is the HIGHEST in dollar EVER projected by the Canada Food Price Report. 

This empty fridge soup is an easy way to reduce your food costs and your food waste.

In this blog we discuss

  • Empty fridge soup recipe
  • Soup preparation tips
  • Crouton recipe
  • Food price forecast
  • Food waste
Canada's food price forecast

Canada’s Food Price Report, published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph predicts the highest increase in dollars of the report’s history.  An increase of 695$ for a total of 13,907$ is the anticipated food cost of a family with 2 adults and 2 children – This amount DOES NOT include ANY food service. 

Food waste

The average household waste 309 lbs/year of food – worth on average 1,100$!

The comestible waste throughout the food chain is estimated at 11.2 million tons.  To better understand how much food that represents we need to break it down. 11.2 million tons of food is enough to feed ALL Canadian for 4.9 months!

What can we do?

As a starter, main course, side dish or as a sauce, soups can transform yesterday’s leftovers and less appetizing vegetables into tasty new dishes. It’s one of the fastest, easiest, and most delicious ways to use up the foods in your fridge and pantry!

 

Empty Fridge Soup
Ingredients
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp Butter or vegetable oil
  • 5 cups of mixed vegetables or 1 single vegetable cut into slices or quarters (e.g. carrots, turnip, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, leek)
  • 5 cups of liquid of your choice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. In a saucepan, soften the onion in the butter. Add the vegetables and broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Optional – In a blender, reduce the soup to a smooth puree. Salt and pepper.
Optional ingredients
Optional soup ingredients

Add these ingredients with the vegetables and broth. 

  • Parmesan rind – remove before blending. It will add umami to the soup
  • Potato, mashed potatoes, rice, grains. Add about 1 cup. It will thicken the soup.
Soup liquid ideas

You can include a combinations of liquid.

  • water
  • vegetables broth
  • chicken/beef broth
  • cream (1/2 cup)
  • coconut milk (1/2 cup)
  • orange or apple juice (up to 1 cup)
Fine herbs &/or spices by vegetable type

Add these ingredients with the vegetables and broth.

  • Orange vegetables
    • Cumin (1 tsp) ginger (1 tsp)
    • Ginger (1 tsp), turmeric (1/2 tsp), pepper (1/8 tsp), cinnamon (1/2 tsp), nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
    • Curry (1 tsp), turmeric (1 tsp), pepper (1/8 tsp), 1 lemon (zest and juice add after the coup is cooked)
  • Varied vegetables
    • Bay leaf (1), thyme (1/2 tsp)
    • Oregano (1 tsp), basil (1 tsp)
    • Provence herbs (2 tsp)
    • Italian herbs (2 tsp)
  • Green vegetables
    • Dill (to taste), Greek yogurt (to taste)
    • pesto (2 to 3 tbsp)
Garnishes

Use to decorate the soup.

  • Croutons – see recipe below
  • Herbs
  • Parmesan 
  • Meat (crispy bacon, leftover chicken,…)
  • Cream / Greek yogurt
  • Lemon or orange zest
  • Pesto
Soup preparation tips

1. To make the soup pretty, use vegetables of the same color. When you mix all the leftover vegetables for a soup, the soup can be a little brown. From today, your soups will be vibrant with different color combinations. 

  • Orange produce
    • sweet potato, carrots, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers,…
  • Green produce
    • Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, fennel, leeks, …
  • Neutral produce
    • potatoes, cauliflowers, parsnips, rutabaga, apples,…
    • Neutral produce can be added to any colour soup or can be used to make a very lightly coloured soup. 

2. To control the thickness of your soup, you can remove about 1 cup of the broth before blending and add it back as desired.

 

Croutons recipe

Since we are making an “empty fridge soup” might as well double up on the waste reduction and make croutons with leftover or dried bread.  Home made croutons taste nothing like store bought ones. They are filled with layers of flavours. Get ready to fall in love with croutons!

Ingredients
  • Leftover bread – about 4 cups
  • Oil – 1 tbsp 
    • e.g. cameline, olive, grapeseed oil, avocado
  • Dried herbs of choice – 1 tbsp 
    • e.g: Italian spices, provence, basil, oregano.
  • Salt & pepper
Preparation

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parment paper or a silicon cooking mat.
  • Cut the bread in 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Place the bread cubes on the lined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the bread with oil, herbs, salt & pepper. 
  • Combine with your hands and place in a single layer.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.
Why homemade croutons?
  • Home made croutons cost lest than half the price of store bought ones and taste a lot better.
  • The ingredient list is simple and high quality.
  • Reduce food waste by using bread that may have ended up in the garbage. 
Canada's food price forecast

Canada’s Food Price Report, published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph predicts the highest increase in dollars of the report’s history. 

The 2021 food price forecast is as follows:

Credit: https://cdn.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/sites/agri-food/Food%20Price%20Report%202021%20-%20EN%20(December%208).pdf

The 2021 report forecasts that overall food prices will increase 3 to 5%.

An increase of 695$ for a total of 13,907$ is the anticipated food cost of a family with these members:

  • a man (age 31–50)
  • a woman (age 31– 50)
  • a boy (age 14–18)
  • a girl (age 9–13)

This amount does not includes any food service expenses. 

Food Waste
Household food waste

The average household waste 309 lbs/year of food – worth on average 1,100$!

Food chain total waste

In Canada, 58% of the food produced is wasted throughout the food chain – a total of 35,5 million tons. This includes non comestible foods like eggshells and bones.  The comestible waste throughout the entire food chain is estimated at 11,2 million tons. 

To better understand how much food that 11,2 million tons represents we need to break it down. Here are the maths:

  • How much food is that per Canadian?
    • 11,2 millions tons of food/ 37.6 million canadians = 0.3 tons/Canadian
    • 1 ton = 2000 lbs
    • 0.3 tons = 600 lbs
  • How long does it take to eat this amount of food?
    • The average person eats 4 pounds a day.
    • 600/4 = 150 days of food
    • 150 days = 4.9 months

This 11,2 million tons of food is enough food to feed each Canadian for 4.9 months!

Global food waste
  •  

Food waste is an important global issue globally. Here are some numbers to better understand the impact of food waste:

  • 1/3 of the food produced in the world is lost or thrown away, equivalent to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year
  • Food produced but not consumed unnecessarily occupies nearly 1.4 billion hectares of land, which is the size of Canada and India combined.
  • Producing all this lost or discarded food requires about 1/4 of all the water used in agriculture each year.

sources:

Sources
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Reduce food cost & food waste with soup

Perfect Pies

PIES! Pies are filled with memories and comfort. They remind us of holidays, spending quality time with our grand-mothers and mother. 

Reduce food waste with pies. Yes, you read that right! Pies are a delicious way to use bruised fruits and vegetables. Often fruits and vegetables that are a little older are sweeter and actually make better pies. 

In this blog you will learn how to make:

  • Perfect pie crust
  • Saskatoon apple pie
  • Tomato tart

Perfect Pie Crust

crust ingredients

Perfect Pie Crust

This is our mother’s fail prof pie recipe! We cherish it and are excited to share it with you. We use this pie crust recipe to make all kinds of pies. From tourtieres to saskatoon berry pies you will get the perfect buttery puffed layered crust. This recipe makes three 8 inch pies (top and bottom).
  • Total Time 75 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add the flour. Cube the cold water. Using a pastry blender (or 2 butter knifes) cut the butter in the flour until the pieces of butter are about the size of rolled oats.
  2. In a small bowl, add and combine the egg, apple cider vinegar, salt and cold water.
  3. Add the liquid ingredient to the flour and butter. Combine until there is no more dry flour and ensuring not to overmix the dough.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  5. Turn on the oven to 425F. Divide the chilled dough in 6 even segment. Each segment will become an 8" crust. Spread flour on the counter and on a rolling pin. Roll the dough starting from the middle out to form a circle. If you notice to dough starts to stick, add a bit of flour on the counter and on the dough to ensure it does not stick. Roll the dough to about 1/4 cm thickness.
  6. Place the dough in an 8" pie mold and cut the excess dough. Fill the pie and cover with another pie crust. Cut the top crust about 1 cm larger than the pie mold. Fold the top pie crust under the bottom pie crust and press the edge with a fork. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Notes

Freezing: This crust can easily be frozen for up to 4 months. After combining the dough (step 3), divide the dough in 6 and wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap before freezing. Blind baking pies: To bake only the bottom of a pie crust, make wholes in the crust with a fork and place foil on top of the crust and fill with pie weights or dry beans. This will ensure the pie keeps its shape while it bakes. Bake at 400F for about 10-15 minutes if the pie will bake again (e.g. quiche) if the crust needs to be fully cooked (e.g. banana cream pie) bake until the bottom crust is golden brown - about 20 minutes.

Saskatoon Apple Pie

filling ingredients

Saskatoon Apple Pie

Saskatoon apple pie is not only an amazing flavour combination; it also holds a special meaning for us. We grew up in Quebec beside an apple orchard. The delicious combination of Saskatoon berries and apples represent our 2 homes. This recipe makes an 8 inch pie and easily serves 6.
  • Prep Time 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time 45 Minutes
  • Total Time 50 Minutes
  • Serves 6 People

Ingredients

  • 2 pie crust (1/3 of the above recipe)
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Saskatoon berry jelly
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cups Saskatoon berries
  • 2 peeled and diced apples

Instructions

  1. Turn on the oven to 425F. In a bowl, add and combine all filling ingredients.
  2. Divide the chilled dough in 6 even segment. Each segment will become an 8" crust. Spread flour on the counter and on a rolling pin. Roll the dough starting from the middle out to form a circle. If you notice to dough starts to stick, add a bit of flour on the counter and on the dough to ensure it does not stick. Roll the dough to about 1/4 cm thickness.
  3. Place the dough in an 8" pie mold and cut the excess dough. Fill the pie and cover with another pie crust. Cut the top crust about 1 cm larger than the pie mold. Fold the top pie crust under the bottom pie crust and press the edge with a fork. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Notes

Freeze: You can freeze the pie before baking for up to 3 months. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes. 

Tomato Tart

tomato tart

Tomato Tart

This tart is a beautiful ways to use the abundance of garden tomatoes this summer. It is filled with layers of fresh tomatoes, cheeses and fresh herbs. We love serving it with a large green salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Prep Time 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time 60 Minutes
  • Total Time 70 Minutes
  • Serves 4 People

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp french style mustard
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup fetta cheese
  • 1/3 cup mozarella
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs (basil, chilves, teragon)

Instructions

  1. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2 cm. Place the tomatoes in a strainer and sprinkle with salt. Let the tomatoes drain for about 15 minutes.
  2. While the tomatoes are draining, spread flour on the counter and on a rolling pin. Roll the dough starting from the middle out to form a circle. If you notice to dough starts to stick, add a bit of flour on the counter and on the dough to ensure it does not stick. Roll the dough to about 1/4 cm thickness. Place the crust at the bottom of an 8 inch pie mold. (You can also use a rectangular pie mold, just ensure to roll the dough in a rectangular shape)
  3. Use a fork to make wholes in the pie crust and place foil on top of the crust and fill with pie weights or dry beans. This will ensure the pie keeps its shape while it bakes. Bake at 400F for 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. Evenly spread the mustard on the bottom of the tart. Place 1/2 of each cheeses on top of the mustard add a layer of tomatoes and 1/2 of the fresh herbs. Place the rest of the cheese, herbs and garnish with an other layer of tomatoes.
  5. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted. Let cool about 10 minutes and serve with a green salad.

Flat Out Delicious

What is Flat Out Delicious?

Flat Out Delicious is a valuable travel book that takes us on a journey to meet Saskatchewan’s farmers and producers. This book captures the stories and values of Saskatchewan’s resilient and inspiring farmers and producers. Through their stories and beautiful photography, we are taken behind the scenes, into the fields, kitchens and backstores of each food artisan. This book reveals the breadth and depth of Saskatchewan food landmarks. Each story is an opportunity to fall in love with our local culinary artisans.   

Through this book we discover Saskatchewan’s varied personalities and culinary experience. These 167 stories cumulate into this beautiful expression of Saskatchewan’s nickname: Les grenier du monde, the world’s attic. From grain fields that expand as far as the eye can see to northern boreal forest, Saskatchewan is home to one of Canada’s most unique food systems. Saskatchewan’s farmers and producers have been rising quietly for decades; Flat Out Delicious is a tribute to their legacy. 

Picture by our beautiful cousin and friend Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Our little cousin, Asher, and Zina are enjoying the sun after a long rain.

Why we love Flat Out Delicious

We received our book less than 10 days ago and are flat out in love with it! We expected a lot from this book and have received way more than we could have hoped for. 

The main reasons we have such a strong connection with Flat Out Delicious are:

  • It aligns with our roots
  • It tells the story of ZestyKits’ stars 
  • It bring awareness to the value of eating local 
  • It is truly a labour of love

Aligns with ZestyKits’ Roots

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Havilah playing in her “bean house”. It’s the little memories that will last a lifetime. 

Growing up with a French background, our parents raised us with artisanally produced simple ingredients. We lived across the road from an artisanal vegetable and fruit farm which we visited regularly to buy seasonal produce. Our parents promoted the importance of knowing where our food comes from, to eat the best quality ingredients produced as close to home as possible. They helped us understand that our wealth is our health while money comes and goes. Even though we grew up with limited resources, our parents always supported artisanal farmers and producers. They raised us with a deep respect for food and understanding of the impact it has on our personal health and on our community’s health. 

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Our mother and Myriam’s mother both had this bread knife since before we were born. This bread knife reminds us of the smell of warm breads our mothers made.

Artisanal food production is in our blood; from the dairy farm on which our mother was raised to the strawberry fields our great uncle harvested until his 96th birthday. Our parents artisanally raised bees and chicken for our family and dreamt of, one day, owning an artisanal farm. They value learning the stories of the farmers and producers behind each ingredient. Growing up some of our best memories include picking raspberries under the hot sun of June and apples with the cold breeze of September. We remember visiting artisanal farms including cheese, vegetables, berry, honey, goat, and ostrich farms. We fondly remember meeting the farmers, hearing their stories, meeting the animals, feeling the dirt between our toes, smelling the fresh air and tasting the delicious food. Food nourishes more than our bodies, it nourishes our soul, it nourishes our community. 

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow.
In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sittling still” – Pico Lyer

When we moved to Saskatchewan from Quebec, we learned to know farmers and producers that give this province the nickname of les grenier de monde, the worlds’ attic. It is through taking the time to truly feel and experience Saskatchewan over the past 20 years, that the land of living sky became part of our soul. 

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Our little cousin, Asher, planted the corn in the background himself.

We created ZestyKits to empower families to come back to the roots, to reconnect with food, to get to know their producers, to discover delicious food farmed and produced with love.

ZestyKits' Stars

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
“You know you love your chicken when you watch them play in the yard more than you watch tv” – Myriam

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
The ladies enjoying the mild weather in early March.

Jenn’s book tells the stories of many farmers and producers who are the stars behind every ZestyKits meal. We strongly encourage you to, not only read the book, but also use it as a travel guide – once physical distancing ends. Go visit the farmers and producers of Saskatchewan’s food, go meet the friendly faces behind the food you eat, go feel the dirt between your toes, go smell the fresh air. You will discover a new love and respect for food as well as the farmers and producers behind it. 

Value of Local Food

At ZestyKits we believe supporting local farmers is supporting health. If we are what we eat, understanding where our food comes from and valuing high-quality local food is a priority.  As Jenn eloquently said in Flat Out Delicious, we believe the key factor when it comes to personal health, sustainability and community economic health is the way our food is grown, raised and how far it travels. As Jenn does in Flat Out Delicious, we encourage you to be curious about the history of your food. Similarly to many important choices such as a trainer, hairdresser, house builder or insurance company; our daily food choices have a significant impact. Our daily food choices impact our personal health and our community health. We encourage you to think of food not as fuel for our bodies but as an investment in our health and our communities. These daily choices are building Saskatchewan’s vibrant future food system.

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Asher is having fun in the garden and smiling at his little sister who brings powdered doughnuts. Life is about the little pleasures. 

Labour of Love

Picture by our dear friend and cousin Myriam @the.farm.folk 
Havilah holding a spring chick on her heart. 

Between the lines of each artisan’s story, we can feel the author’s love for the community and her joy to share Saskatchewan’s food history. Through the lines of Flat Out Delicious we can feel the passion of the pioneers who create Saskatchewan’s food ecosystem. From thriving as multi-generational farmers, to producers who recently left corporate jobs to pursue their dream, Saskatchewan’s food ecosystem is broad, thriving and growing. Reading each story inspires pride for Saskatchewan and demonstrates how bright Saskatchewan food’s future is. 

Meet Jenn & Richard

Jenn Sharp

Having had the pleasure to get to know Jenn Sharp, we consider her a kindred spirit and a dear friend. Her passion and love for Saskatchewan’s farmers and producers is contagious and a joy to see. For five years, Jenn was a featured writer, columnist, and editor at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. She currently writes the Flat Out Food column for the StarPhoenix and the Regina Leader-Post. Jenn is a regular contributor to CBC Saskatchewan and Eat North as well as has been featured in a variety of Canadian publications.

Picture by Richard Marjan

Richard Marjan

Photo credit: http://moore4mayor.ca/endorsements/richard-marjan-endorses-kelley-moore-for-mayor/

Richard Marjan’s photography throughout Flat Out Delicious speaks volume to his talent as a photographer. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; this is especially true of the photographs found in this book. Each photo beautifully represents the story of Saskatchewan’s food history, they take us on a journey with them. Richard is an award winning retired photojournalist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. His work appeared in Canadian Geographic, the New York Times, and the Globe and Mail.

@the.farm.folk

The beautiful photography in this blog is by @the.farm.folk

Myriam is our dear friend and cousin. She is raising two amazing children with her husband on their farm in Northern Saskatchewan. Our mothers were sisters and best friends. We grew up as sisters than more cousins and moved to Saskatchewan within a week of each other. It is such a joy for us to share her photography and a glimpse of her life with you.