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10 Simple Ways to Avoid Food Waste

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Jacqueline PaumierGuest Blogger
June 04, 2016 · 2k Views
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Not only does food waste put huge stress on your bank account, it’s also harmful to the environment and those around us. In the United States alone, nearly 49 million people face hunger while we waste over 36 million tons of food. Out of the food that is wasted, nearly 31% is still edible. Not only can that wasted food go to helping others, it also drastically effects our climate change. 96% of the food that’s thrown away end up in landfills, and results in 25% of U.S methane emissions. However, our countries reputation for food waste isn’t necessary. In fact, if we wasted just 15% less food, it would be enough to feed nearly 25 million Americans.

Here we have put together a simple list of ways to avoid food waste, save money and help the planet. With practice, these little habits will become second nature and you will feel a whole lot better about what goes into your trash can.

 

1. Check the Fridge

Source: The Odyssey Online

We get it, these days who has the time to even make a grocery list? Still, planning out your trip to the grocery store and taking 10 minutes of prep before heading out can save you from a lot of waste.  Before making your shopping list, check out your fridge to see what you have left. Be sure that you don’t double up on items, and make sure that your refrigerator is running at the correct temperature (40 degrees Fahrenheit for the refrigerator and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer). Also, pay attention to where you store your groceries in the fridge,  keep fruits in vegetables in their own compartments to keep them from spoiling.

2. Properly Read Labels

You may be surprised to find that more than 90% of Americans toss food too soon due to misinterpreting food labels. Be sure that you are buying products before the “Sell By” date which will let you know the last day a package should be sold. The “Best if Used By” date is less of a health hazard and more of a suggestion in terms of flavor or quality. The “Use By” date is where you want to pay attention, as this will inform you of the last date the product is safe to consume. If you still have some confusion, try downloading the Is My Food Safe? app for more information.

3. Freeze Your Food

Source: Rankling Lekarzy

When you know you’ve bought entirely too much to consume, always freeze what you have left. Freezing helps extend the shelf life of foods like seasonal produce or meats. Be sure to wrap items in freezer bags, freezer papers, plastic wrap or foil, to prevent food from getting frost bite. To keep vegetable fresh, try blanching them in salted water prior to freezing. Follow the FIFO (first in, first out) method used in professional kitchens by dating all freezer bags and using oldest items first.

4. Take Up Canning

Think canning is just for grandmothers and farm wives? Think again. Learning how to properly can food is a cheap and sensible way to preserve food and reduce waste. Invest in about a dozen mason jars to store food such as berries, cucumbers, or tomatoes. You can also whip up delicious toppings and spreads the preserve well, like jam, jelly, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. Use a pressure canner or cooker, and be sure the gauge of the canner or cooker is correct.

5. Take Up Baking

Source: Good Housekeeping

Bananas about to go bad? Berries and Melons looking a little soft? When fruit becomes overly ripe it’s the perfect time to use them in baked goods. In addition to baking, techniques like jam making and dehydrating are great ways to reinvent food that would otherwise be tossed out.

6. Store it Right

Surprisingly enough, a majority of the mistakes made resulting to food loss occur when we first bring our produce home. Be sure you are properly storing fresh produce to prolong it’s shelf life. Line shallow Tupperware containers with a paper towel and gently place in unwashed berries in a single layer. Keep cleaned and dried lettuce and leafy greens in an airtight container with a paper towel placed on the bottom. Also, keep in mind that some produce is best stored in the refrigerator, while others last longer at room temperature. Produce such as grapes, mushrooms, eggplant, ginger, broccoli, apples, asparagus, and berries are best kept in the fridge. While, avocados, peaches, pineapples, mangoes, garlic, potatoes, onions, and even pears should be kept at room temperature.

7. Reinvent the Leftovers or Skip Them

Source: Tesco Real Food

How often do you pile in 2-3 days worth of spaghetti into the fridge, swearing you will finish it off when SURPRISE they end up straight in the trash. You’re not alone, no one feels like eating the same boring leftovers three times in one week. There are certain leftovers that make great sandwiches for work or can easily be added into scrambled eggs the next morning, but if there’s no easy way reinvent the wheels stick to cooking only what you could eat in one sitting.

SEE ALSO: An original DealsPlus recipe: make a Turkey, Stuffing, and Cranberry Quesadilla from leftovers!

8. Buy Less

Here’s a novel concept, buy less food! If you find that every month you are tossing almost as much as you’re buying, take it as a clear indication that you are buying too much food. Be honest about what foods you and your family are curious about, and what foods you really need. You may find that certain items make the monthly list just to be thrown away.

9. Keep the Scraps

Source: Simply Scratch

Peels, stocks, and leftover pieces heading straight in the bin? Store them in freezer bags and add them to sauces, stocks, our soups for an instant recipe upgrade. Not only will you save on wasting the food, but you’ll have everyone guessing what your secret ingredient is.

10. Compost

When all else fails, don’t let your waste go to waste! Start a composting bin in the yard and use leftover food waste to make nutrient rich soil that’s perfect for growing your own produce. Yet another way to save you money while keeping it green. 


 

jacquelinebuch profile picture
Jacqueline is a modern day gypsy, who has lived in several countries and has traveled to over 20. A sucker for all things pleasing to the senses; her world revolves around food (any and all food), foreign indie films, and salsa music. The first to jump off a waterfall and the last to say no to sushi, she has been described as a bit of an “extremist”. In her perfect world, no one ever spells “cool” as “kool” and Ryan Gosling has more tattoos. She enjoys spending her free time in her New Orleans home with her Cubano guitarist husband and 1-year-old son.
MissesSunshineJun 08, 2016
Food waste is a HUGE problem! These are great tips!

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