Food waste is a massive problem in America—one that Florida-based chef Michael Love is eager to fight. As author of The Salvage Chef Cookbook (Skyhorse, 2014), Love is on a mission to slash food waste by passing on tips and tricks to ensure food ends up being, well, food, and not landfill fodder. Here are a few savvy ideas he shared with Live Naturally.

Freeze Your Herbs

After you buy basil, thyme or other fresh herbs, and you have some you know you won’t use in the next day or two, seal them in a ziptop bag and place in the freezer. They’ll be good for 2–3 months.

Make Croutons

You never have to throw away day-old or two-day-old bread—simply use a serrated knife and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a bowl, and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and grated Parmesan, or any seasoning blend you prefer. Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Once cooled, you can bag them and freeze them. Simply reheat in the oven for a couple of minutes once thawed.

Don’t Toss Tomatoes

If they’re moving past their prime, slice them in half, and place them skin-side down on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, scatter chopped garlic and thyme over the top, drizzle with olive oil and place in a 250° oven for 2 hours. Scrape the entire contents into a blender, and you have the most amazing base for a tomato dressing. Add a splash of vinegar for dressing; add fresh basil and a little extra olive oil for a delicious tomato sauce.

Grow More Scallions and Garlic

Snip off the ends of the scallion (with the root), and place them in water for 2 days; then transfer to soil. Place a few garlic cloves (with skin on) into some dirt, and watch them grow. In two weeks, you will have fresh scallions and a new head of garlic!

Dress Up Leftovers with Dipping Sauce

This sauce works for everything. An easy, fresh and healthy recipe: Mix your favorite spice blend into plain Greek yogurt; equal parts smoked paprika, granulated garlic, thyme, basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper works brilliantly.  

michael-loveIn addition to authoring The Salvage Chef Cookbook, Michael Love is a specialty chef for Epicure Gourmet Market and Café in southern Florida. In 2011, he launched Epicure with Love, a line of all-natural, gourmet food products.