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The Big Waste Tackles a Big Food Problem in America

Obesity might be a rising problem in the United States today, but it isn’t the only tough issue that the Food Network will tackle this year. On Sunday January 8 at 10PM ET/PT,  chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli will team up to face one of the most massive problems in food today: food waste.

On two teams, Bobby and Michael square off against Anne and Alex and with 48 hours on the clock, the chefs are challenged to create a multi-course gourmet banquet worthy of their great reputations, but with one major caveat: they can only use food that is on its way to the trash.

The chefs will shop grocery aisles, produce farms, orchard lines and garbage piles to source enough ingredients to feed a large crowd as they challenge common views of food waste and discuss how and why it is created.

According to Jonathan Bloom, creator of WastedFood.com, Americans waste as much as half of the food produced every year. In fact, between 160 and 295 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year -enough food to fill a 90,000 set football stadium every day.

To help alleviate the American food waste problem in your own kitchen, here are a few small steps that you can take:

Use Your Freezer. Food writer Sarah Caron freezes meat and vegetable scraps for stock, soups and stews. “For example, broccoli stems, which a lot of people would otherwise throw away, can be used in soup,” said Caron.

Get Creative. Rachel Wind, the blogger behind Not a Crazy Vegan, uses leftover ingredients to experiment in the kitchen. “For better or worse, you’ll learn something, even if your recipe doesn’t turn out.” For example, take the canned pumpkin from your baked goods to create smoothies or soups and use leftover vegetables in new soups, stews or casseroles.

Keep a Compost Bin. Freelance writer Kristen Seymour keeps a compost container handy whenever she is cooking fresh food. “We’ve never used our compost for anything except reducing food waste,” Seymour said. Composting at home is easy if you keep a small bin or basin in the kitchen for food scraps. Keep a larger container outside for yard and garden debris, kitchen scraps and other organic materials which decompose into a nutrient-rich mixture for plants and soil.

Also Read:

4 Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

5 Ways to Use Leftover Eggs

15 Foods to Banish From Your Kitchen

January 6th, 2012