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    This Chef's Practical Tips For Cutting Down On Food Waste In Your Home Kitchen Are Going Viral On TikTok

    Throwing away food is never a good feeling, but it's even worse when groceries are expensive as hell.

    Raise your hand if you've ever had to toss out veggies that went bad before you could cook them.

    Throwing away food is never a good feeling, but it's even worse when groceries are expensive as hell. So it's no wonder that 41-year-old chef Alison Mountford's (@itscchefalison) food waste prevention tips are going viral on TikTok.

    Alison's videos have racked up millions of views. In a couple of her most popular clips, she shows viewers how to soften up brown sugar that has turned into a brick by using a piece of bread, and what to do with garlic that's about to go bad. (Spoiler: You need to make a delicious garlic confit.)


    Friends that know I teach home-cooked to reduce their food waste give me their aging vegetables. This week was 3 1/2 pounds of peeled garlic! But, even if you have just a handful of peeled garlic, or even some old clothes, you can use this oil poaching trick to make soft, roasted garlic and infused oil in one fell swoop. I put most of this in my freezer and will not peeled garlic for the next year 🙌 fofoodwastetiponofoodwasteagarlicconfitoroastedgarlicobotulismocookinghacksa#savethefood

    ♬ original sound - Alison Mountford
    @itschefalison / Via

    And commenters are extremely on board with her message.

    Comment: No food waste educator? Instant follow

    I had to learn more about her mission to cut down on food waste and her best tips for home cooks, so I reached out via email.

    Alison told BuzzFeed that she used to run a meal delivery and catering company, and her experiences there opened her eyes to how much food goes to waste. "During that time, I worked out of customers' homes, their offices, and for five years had a café. With all of that experience, I was able to see how home cooks, families, consumers, and businesses handled their food and where they struggled."

    Person throwing produce away

    She continued, "Around 2015, I learned about the enormous environmental impact of food waste and that about 40% of wasted food happens at home. I realized that I had a very special insight into home cooking and decided to teach people how [to reduce] the food scraps! It’s such a simple eco-friendly action that anyone can take, with no special equipment needed or skill required. I remain passionate about it every time someone leaves a comment or shares a photo of what they’ve made!"

    Person holding vegetable peels in their hands

    She also shared the two biggest mistakes she sees home cooks making that lead them to throw food away. Culprit number one is simply buying too much food without planning out how to use it. "It's common to grocery shop without a real plan in mind, and that leads to bringing home about 30% more food than you’ll actually cook and eat. If you learn to make a meal plan that fits with your mood and lifestyle, THEN grocery shop to match that plan, you’ll effortlessly waste less food," she said.

    Alison also sees home cooks go by dates on food packaging rather than trusting their senses, which can cause them to throw food away that's not really past its prime. "'Use by,' 'sell by,' 'best by,' and other 'expiration' dates are NOT about food safety (only infant formula is regulated for safety) — they’re about manufacturing and some quality," she said. "We don’t trust ourselves to look at a food to tell if it’s safe to eat, and thus we panic and toss it out."

    Woman sniffing a jug of milk to see if it's gone bad

    And she shared that most people don't grasp the full impact of wasted food. "Food in the landfill releases methane, which is the gas driving global warming, but also, wasted food wastes fresh water, precious cropland, natural gases, and resources required for refrigeration and transportation; it wastes billions of dollars annually; and there are millions of people in the US alone who are food insecure. Whether you can 'afford' to buy more groceries is only a fraction of the concern."

    Trash in a landfill

    When you do find yourself having to throw some food away, Alison recommends composting it, since this way, it's not sitting in a landfill producing methane. BTW, you don't need to have outdoor space to compost — you can use a sealable bin indoors, too. Or, if you live in an urban area, check to see if your city has a composting or organic waste disposal program that can help make it easy.


    Replying to @vampirevtubervixen I could talk about reducing food waste for dayssssss. What questions do you have? Tips to Zero Waste 101 * meal plan * start with whats already in your house tho * prioritize “aging” foods * freeze/preserve things before they’re trash * compost when you can * reinvent leftovers! #nofoodwaste #foodwastewarriors #leftovers #mealplanning #foodcycler #methaneemissions @thefoodcycler dries my scraps! 🙌

    ♬ original sound - Alison Mountford
    @itschefalison / Via

    Alison also founded Ends + Stems, a website devoted to teaching people how to reduce their food waste. "I have a 'What’s in Your Fridge? Recipe Finder' on the site and instructions for a food waste audit to get you started on your journey! There’s a meal planning app to put recipes together and make dinner more easily. I have a few eCookbooks and classes offered. I do a lot of public speaking to public and private groups who want either cooking classes, meal planning classes, or food waste awareness classes."

    Finally, while Alison is all for empowering individuals to waste less food, she says it's also incredibly important that we hold corporations accountable. "We need systemic change and for corporations to make sustainable changes too! As an individual, I think it’s important to try to do what you can within your lifestyle needs and budget, but also give yourself room to make errors or fail at being 'perfectly sustainable.' Sometimes we don’t have the time or money needed. Do what you can and take baby steps that you can build on. If you accidentally have to throw out food, just figure out the root cause and try to improve for next time."

    Follow Alison on TikTok and Instagram.

    Do you use any tips or tricks to cut down on food waste in your home? Share what's worked for you in the comments.