How to Have a Waste Free Kitchen

image001-4It’s incredible that 40% of food in the United States goes to waste and that landfills are mainly filled with tossed out food.  You can learn how to make a difference in your own kitchen with Dana Gunders, a food waste warrior and author of Waste Free Kitchen Handbook: A guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food.

As a senior scientist, Dana Gunders helps the home chef strategize to minimize food waste by providing shopping tips, storage suggestions and recipes for scraps.   Dana is a kitchen magician who can help you transform that overripe avocado into chocolate mousse!   Her book even has as chart that says which scraps you can and cannot feed your dog or cat. Dana also explains why you shouldn’t necessarily toss out that carton of milk when it reaches its expiration date.  “Many people don’t realize that these expiration dates are not federally regulated.  The date isn’t saying that the food is bad, but rather that the brand thinks that the food will be at its best before that date.”

Here is Dana’s recipe for Avocado Chocolate Mousse from her book: Waste Free Kitchen Handbook


Makes 4 servings

Uses up

Overripe avocados



This brilliant dessert substi­tutes all the smooth creami­ness of an avocado for the less healthful ingredients that are typically in chocolate mousse. And you won’t even notice. It’s delightfully smooth, and the chocolate easily covers up the flavor of a slightly overripe avocado. Go wild with the top­pings and you’ll have a sundae even your gym trainer would be proud of. If you don’t have any milk on hand, don’t worry; the mousse will be just fine without it. But if you do you have some available, add it for a looser, smoother mousse.

2 large ripe or slightly overripe avocados (see Note)

¼ cup/60 ml milk, milk substi­tute, or yogurt (optional)

½ cup/60 ml agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, or super­fine sugar, plus more if desired

5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more if desired

1½ tsp vanilla extract

⅛ tsp salt


Raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries

Sliced banana

Shredded coconut, toasted

Candied citrus peel

Chopped nuts

Whipped cream (the mousse is so healthful, you can splurge here if you want)


Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor. Add the milk (if using), agave nectar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and process until free of lumps and velvety in texture. Taste and add more sweetener if it’s not sweet enough for you; or add more cocoa powder (just 1 tsp at a time) if you want a darker chocolate flavor. (Alternatively, if making by hand, mash the avocados with a fork first, then mash in the remaining ingredients.)

Serve plain or with one of the toppings. The mousse will keep for at least 1 week in an airtight container in the refrig­erator, but honestly it’s so delicious that the chances of it lasting that long are slim.


If you have small avocados, blend them with 5 Tbsp sweetener, 3 Tbsp cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla, and a small pinch of salt. Taste, then add small amounts of cocoa and/or sweetener until you hit a balance of sweet to chocolate that you like.

Let’s become Food Waste Warriors!  What do you do in your kitchen to reduce food waste?  Please share your tips.

Savor the day!



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