Spring always makes me think of planting a garden. And planting a garden, makes me think about what needs to be planted so we can make the most use out of the garden. I try to be thoughtful when purchasing items because I don’t want to make a lot of trash. The other day I noticed our overflowing recycle bin and was a bit upset. Thankfully, hubby reminded me that we are doing our part because we recycle. So, I thought I’d share 5 easy ways to reduce food waste.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture organization states that 1/3 of all food grown is wasted. But there are things we can do to help reduce food waste.
5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Meal planning can help to prevent food waste. Creating a weekly meal plan based on what you already have in the house is a great start. It keeps you from purchasing more than you need which might result in food spoiling.
Meal Planning also allows you to piggy back off of leftovers. Add some leftover spinach to your white bean and pancetta saute or use those leftover pureed sweet potatoes to make sweet potato pancakes. If you work through your meals at the beginning of the week you can use the leftovers from the prior night. This can also help save money (we all like that, right?) on your grocery bill.
Make use of Scraps.
During a cooking class the chef instructed us to make sure we were careful. He didn’t want any cross contamination because everything would be used to make stock. What a great idea. Now that we have an instant pot it’s even easier to put that practice into use. So I don’t throw the tops of celery or carrot peels out anymore. I place the cleaned vegetable scraps (carrot peels, mushroom stems, onion skins and celery ends) in a freezer bag (in the freezer) until I’ve accumulated enough to make stock. Once I have enough, I take the frozen scraps out and add olive oil, onions, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Add at least 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Freezing extra food has been the most effective way for me to avoid food waste. We often spend Sunday making tons of food. If it was left in the fridge it most likely would spoil. Instead we make a big pot of food and put half in the freezer. Especially, if we’ve made the whole bag of dried beans or baked two loaves of bread. I’ve always had a problem remembering to take food out of the freezer in the morning. But items like frozen lentils and pureed sweet potatoes can be quickly defrosted stovetop.
Rotating the food in your fridge helps. Not sure if the family realizes it but sometimes I reorganize the fridge to make sure the food that needs to be eaten first is seen first. This sometimes means putting it on the top shelf in the fridge. I also do this when I’ve used half a pepper or an onion and I don’t want it to get lost in vegetable tray.
I know many people are hesitant when it comes to composting. We started because we were given some organic compost and it was one of our best growing years. So, really we bought a Tumbler Compost Binfor the garden not to actually decrease our food waste but that was the result. We purchased that particular compost bin because it had holes (air is necessary) and the compost can be rotated. But even if you don’t have a garden or a big yard there are counter top Stainless Steel Compost Bins you could use. I know it’s a stretch for some but egg shells and coffee grinds really do a plant good.
These 5 easy ways to reduce food waste are some of the first that came to mind but there are plenty of other things you can do. We all can do a little. It’s not necessary to do all of the above. Implementing just one or two of the above strategies can reduce food waste and save you money.
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