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Food waste

Preventing Food Waste

Food waste has become a growing issue over time. Because of this, we are constantly trying to find ways to cut back. Not only can we do our part at home, but the foodservice industry is also doing their part.

From reducing the amount of food prepared and served to reusing or repurposing uneaten foods to recycling and composting, there are many ways to take action. Here are a few examples of how we can creatively use food.

Sure, ripe red raspberries are delicious whether eaten fresh or used for cooking. But anyone who has brought home raspberries knows how easily these sensitive berries can bruise and spoil.

Because raspberries are so delicate, much care must be taken when processing. Most fully ripe berries are processed within hours. Processing can take different forms, including puree, concentrate, and individually quick frozen (IQF). The IQF method individually freezes each piece to prevent ice crystals from forming and the pieces from sticking together. The fruit at its peak of nutrition is preserved with cold air only, no chemicals or additives are necessary. There are also two grades of IQF red raspberries – Grade A and Grade B. Grade B has more broken pieces (“crumbles”) and are better suited for foodservice for baked goods and garnishes.

Since research has been showcasing the health benefits and culinary versatility of walnuts, they have become a coveted food. They are sold according to size and color, with the lighter walnuts being more popular. In regards to flavor, light walnuts have a mild flavor and subtle tannins while light amber walnuts have a more robust flavor with a slightly sweet finish and smooth, round tannins.

As far as cooking, light walnuts are great for toasting and adding to baked goods and breads, ideal for dressings, sauces, and walnut milk, or for sprinkling on salads. Light amber walnuts are better suited for grinding and chopping to use as a meat replacement, for soups, gravies, crusting or frying, and make a perfect pair for rich chocolate desserts.

Proper storage is the key to preserving the taste and flavor of walnuts, and thus, preventing food waste. Once you have opened the sealed packaging, transfer any unused walnuts to a sealed, airtight container. If you will be using them right away, store them in the refrigerator. If storing for a month or longer, freeze them. And to maintain flavor, only shell, chop, or grind walnuts as needed.

Fish & Meat
Nose-to-tail cooking is nothing new, but helps to reduce food waste by making use of nearly every part of an animal. The Chefs Collaborative is a non-profit network focused on inspiring, educating, and celebrating chefs and food professionals to build a better food system. They hold workshops and conferences that emphasize sustainability and minimizing food waste. Of their offerings is the Chef Power Hours, which are monthly conferences to discuss critical food issues.

As evidenced, there are ways to access creative ideas and ways to minimize our food waste. Are you employing any techniques or methods to cut down on your food waste? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

N case you haven’t heard, our store hours will be changing next week. Effective Monday, January 9, 2017, we will be open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Our new breakfast menu will be available until 10:30am. We hope to see you all bright and early next week!

Food Waste

Food waste has become a burgeoning problem among our society. Did you know that roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted?  From improper use or storage to discarded “ugly” produce, we must find a way to address this issue.

This was the task at hand for students at the University of Florida’s Innovation Academy. They were asked to create a business concept or invention that could tackle the food waste problem. Ideas included a household composting device, participating in food drives, and donating to food pantries. These bright young students were onto something, however, they all seemed to assume that food waste is inevitable. We need to take a closer look at what causes us to create food waste so we can stop it at the source.

Take, for example, the standards that fruits and vegetables must meet in order to be on display. We have these ideas of what produce should look like in our minds and if they do not match what is available, we likely will not buy it. Thus, “ugly” produce that do not meet the standards is often discarded or wasted. Also, because of our attraction to abundance, we are more likely to choose from a large pile of apples as opposed to a small one, even if they were identical apples.

So how can we proactively decrease food waste? Imperfect Produce is a company that offers affordable fruits and vegetables to consumers by sourcing the produce rejected on farms for cosmetic reasons. Whether they are too small, misshapen or the wrong color, rather than being wasted, they are salvaged  and help offered at a lower price, also helping to decrease food insecurity.

Another proposed idea is to get people involved in food production. When students plant a seed and watch it grow into sustainable food, they get to experience firsthand all the hard work that goes into food production (energy, time, labor, water). Their investment in the production of food could lead to a better understanding that when it comes to food waste, we lose much more than just food.

Do you have any ideas on how we can prevent food waste? Any thoughts on how to make the most of our food waste? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona. Come in for a yummy sandwich, fresh salad, or tasty dessert weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm (closed Sundays).

How To Cut Down On Your Food Waste

Food waste continues to be a major problem among us. Not only is it costing us money, but its impact on our environment is damaging. But why do we have so much food waste? Our poor shopping habits are likely to blame. Find out how we can do our part and cut down on food waste.


Bulk Purchases
One of our poor shopping habits is the allure of bulk purchases. It’s hard to resist buying in bulk. Often times the prices are lower and it saves us trips to the store. Unfortunately, we overestimate our abilities, and the food often goes to waste. While we appreciate the immediate savings, it ends up costing us more in the long run.

But bulk purchases aren’t all bad. There are things better suited to buy in bulk, while other items would be better purchased in smaller quantities more frequently. Buying in bulk is more beneficial to full households rather than single dwellers, simply because there are more mouths to feed. Also when buying in bulk, or grocery shopping in general, be aware of the shelf life. If possible, opt for the items with the longest shelf life, which will give you more time to consume your purchases. Things like dry rice, beans, pasta, cereal, or oatmeal are better to buy in bulk as they don’t require refrigeration and tend to keep longer. On the other hand, things like nuts, spices, produce, and other items you don’t have room to store should be bought on an as needed basis.


Keep Track At Home
Other ways to cut down on your food waste include improving your shopping habits and learning to work with what you have. Refine your cooking skills by signing up for a cooking class, where you can learn far more than just new recipes and techniques. You may be able to learn about food safety, portion sizes, shopping tips and ideas for leftovers. Or you can try your luck at home and search the Internet for video tutorials or recipes.

Keeping a food diary can help you better understand your eating habits. Take note of what you eat, at home or dining out, what you buy, and what you throw out. Soon you will be able to adjust your purchases so that you shop more purposefully.

Buy Fresh, Buy Often
Shopping more frequently may pose as an inconvenience, but will help you significantly cut down on your waste. Fruits, vegetables, and breads typically last about 2-4 days. If you don’t plan on using these by the fourth day, consider freezing them until you’re ready to use them.

Expiration Dates
Having a better grasp on expiration dates will prevent you from throwing out your food too soon, out of fear of uncertainty. The sell-by date is generally used to indicate the freshness of a product, but is not an ultimate consume-by date. Depending on the product and how it is stored, foods can still be viable to eat anywhere from days to weeks after its “best before” dates.

Yes, it is confusing, but luckily, the Internet is at your fingertips and you can do your own research to see how long you can or should keep certain foods. Or you can go with your gut and use your best judgment based on smells or looks.


If you store smarter, you can prolong the shelf life of your foods. For example, the crisper drawer is where most of us store our produce. Unfortunately, this may not be the best idea. Certain fruits and vegetables require different humidity settings, and, as the old adage goes, out of sight, out of mind. If your produce is ripe, keep it within sight so that you don’t forget about them.

Organizing your refrigerator can greatly reduce your food waste. The warmest part of your refrigerator is the top shelf, and the temperature lowers as you go down, making the bottom shelf the coldest. Prepared food, yogurt, cheese and sauces fare well on the top shelf, while your properly sealed (to avoid cross contamination) meats, fish and poultry are better off on the bottom shelf.

Reserve your crisper drawer for more delicate vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots, and leafy veggies. Fruits may be stored here, but most are better stored on a shelf or cool counter (ex. apples, apricots, nectarines). Strawberries and cherries are best kept in an airtight container on a refrigerator shelf.

Do you have any shopping, cooking, or storage tips to reduce food waste? Share them with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.

If you’re looking for the best fresh, natural, and just plain yummy sandwiches in Pomona, visit us at the Brick Market & Deli – Your Neighborhood Deli. We’re located on the northwest corner of Arrow Hwy and Garey Ave, open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.


Food Scraps Or New Favorites?

Next time you’re cooking or prepping food in your kitchen, you may want to rethink what you are throwing out. Plenty of times we throw away perfectly edible and nutritious food simply because we don’t know better. Stop wasting food and money and see what nutritious things you’ve been missing out on.

Celery Leaves
They’re often the first thing you chop off then toss, right? Well, you may want to think twice next time. The celery leaves pack even more celery flavor than the stalks, plus they are rich in fiber and calcium. You can add them to a salad, like you would with other greens. Or you can add them to soups, either as a garnish, cooked into the soup, or like an herb.

Apple Peels
Whether you’re peeling an apple to snack on or to cook with, you’re actually tossing out most of its nutrients. Two-thirds of the apple’s fiber content, and most of the antioxidant quercetin, is housed in its peel. Save yourself the time and effort and leave the peel on. Side note: 20% of a potato’s nutrients are in the skin, so wash thoroughly and leave the skin on.

Broccoli Stalks
Did you know you can you use both the broccoli florets and the stalks? True, the stalks have a tough exterior, but you can easily shed that outer layer with a peeler. You can then slice them up and steam, sauté, or stir-fry them. You can also shred them for slaws or salad, or chop them up and add them to a vegetable soup.

Citrus Rind
Before you use an orange, lemon, or lime, you should zest the fruit first. You can use a fine grater to a vegetable peeler, depending on whether you want fine bits or wide strips. Be sure to wash the fruit well, and stop before you get to the white part, as it has a bitter taste. The zest contains Vitamin C and helps to add citrus flavors to things like dressings, marinades, sauces, soups, and more. You can also discard the extra peel in your garbage disposal for an easy and natural deodorizer.

Beet Greens
Have you ever cooked with beet greens? If not, you should. Beet greens are a great source of vitamin A, potassium, minerals, and more. You can sauté them in olive oil, with garlic, citrus juice or vinegar, salt and pepper. You can even cook it with sliced beet root as the sweet and bitter flavors balance each other out. If the leaves are tender and young, you can enjoy them raw in salads.

Squash Seeds
You roast pumpkin seeds, so why not roast squash seeds? Much like other seeds, they are packed with nutrients like magnesium, potassium, iron, and fiber. And did we mention they’re delicious? To roast them, rinse and remove any pulp stuck to the seeds, then pat dry. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, toss the seeds with oil and salt, and arrange them in a single layer. Bake them for 15 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned, fragrant and begin to pop. Enjoy the seeds as a snack, tossed in salads, or as a garnish.

Are there any foods that you love that others many regard as “scraps” or “trimmings”? Share your favorites with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

Want to get out of the kitchen? Come relax at Your Neighborhood Deli, The Brick, and let us make you a yummy meal. We’re open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.

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Freeze! Cut Down Your Food Waste

Do you find yourself throwing out food that, for whatever reason, has gone bad? Food waste happens far too often, but there are ways to combat it. With the proper techniques, your freezer can help to preserve your food. Follow these tips to stretch your food supply.

Ice Cube Trays
Water isn’t the only thing you can freeze in your ice cube tray. You can pour things like gravy, stuffing, stock, minced garlic or herbs in olive oil, and more into the tray. Once it is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag until you are ready to use them.

Blanching & Freezing
Rather than buying frozen vegetables, buy them fresh and freeze them yourself. The best way to preserve most produce is to blanch it in boiling water for several minutes, and then dunk it into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. You can then freeze them, and your veggies won’t get mushy when you cook them. This works well for vegetables like carrots, eggplant, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, among others, and may work with some fruits as well.

Lemons, limes, or oranges can be sliced thinly, and then spread on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen, store in a bag and use them in soups, salads, or dressings. You can even put them in drink straight out of the freezer as a garnish and ice in one.

Stone Fruit
Stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, cherries, or plums can be frozen as is. Let it thaw overnight and you can enjoy it the next day. If you’re looking to make smoothies or use your fruits for baking, you may want to peel, slice, and spread on a tray to freeze, then transfer to a bag after frozen.

Metal Cans
Opened a can but only need a portion of its contents? No worries – simply cover the can with foil or plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to use the rest.

Whether fresh, stale, or as dough, an easy way to preserve your bread is to freeze it. For dough, be sure to thaw it completely before baking. Fresh bread can go in as is, or you can pre-make sandwiches and then freeze them. Stale breads can be frozen for future breadcrumbs (or you can grind them ahead of time and then freeze them). You can even prep emergency garlic bread by rubbing stale rolls with garlic butter before tossing them in the freezer.

Stock Ingredients
Store your stock ingredients, like bones, vegetable stalks, or herbs, in a bag or container in the freezer. That way, when you’re ready to make stock, you can throw it all in the pot to simmer. You can then freeze your stock in old containers.

Bananas & Berries
To freeze bananas, it is easier to peel and cut them into 1 in chunks before freezing, rather than freezing them whole. You can do the same for berries also.

Because of a shorter shelf life, dairy likely goes to waste often. However, you can toss your milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and whipping cream into the freezer and thaw as needed.

Is there anything that you preserve in the freezer that we missed? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and LinkedIn.

Has all this talk of food sparked your appetite? Join us for a yummy sandwich or fresh salad! We’re open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm (online ordering available).