April 13, 2011

Tip of the day--Reducing Food Waste

Americans waste a ton of food every day. It is a little ridiculous how much food we throw down the drain, in the trash or out the door when others have so little. When you waste less food, you are also being kinder to the environment. All of the energy and money that went into growing and transporting that food is reduced when you buy what you use and use what you buy. Not to mention, you'll also save some money on your grocery budget! Below are some tips for reducing food waste at home:

  • Set up a compost pile at your home so that whatever food that you do waste doesn't go into the landfill.

  • Save vegetable peels and meat bones to make stock. Chicken, beef, and shrimp peels all make great broths and stocks--just keep them separate for the best flavor.

  • Get creative with leftovers. I just posted a recipe for quiche on the blog, and it is a great meal to make when you have a little of this and a little of that to use up.

  • Feed scraps to animals. I have a friend who has chickens and they love bits of leftover cantaloupe and squash. Talk to your vet before changing your pet's diet, and ask for recommendations about what options may be better than others.

  • Learn how to preserve foods. Freezing is probably the easiest place to start. This week we had some extra asparagus from the garden, and I blanched it and popped it in the freezer. I was done in less than 5 minutes.

  • Have a flexible meal plan. I plan 7 meals a week but we often have a few meals that I don't need to cook because we use leftovers. When you prepare a bigger meal, make the next day's meal one that can easily be moved to another day if needed.

  • When you freeze foods, label them well. If it gets lost in the freezer, you'll most likely not use it in time.

  • Store foods in the pantry with the idea of first in, first out. I try to put the cans that are the newest in the back of the shelf.

  • Once a month, check your food stores. I usually try to post a reminder to do so on the blog, but you can also mark your calendar or do it on the same day each month.

  • Only buy what you'll use. I learned the hard way when I was having an eat from the pantry challenge that creamed corn is not my favorite thing! Needless to say, I won't be buying it anytime soon.

  • Donate the rest. I'm all for having emergency food stores, but storing food to the point that it will expire before it can be used is wasteful. One of the many blessings that couponing has given me is the ability to donate to worthy causes for very little out of pocket expense. Use your couponing powers for good, not evil. :)

  • Learn little tricks. A whole banana, peel and all can be stored in the freezer to be used at another time for baking. When celery gets limp, cut it and pop it into ice water for about 5 minutes. Tear lettuce leaves instead of cutting them with a knife to keep them from browning as quickly.

1 comment:

  1. A very informative post Gabrielle.. I am all about composting!