7 Ways to Avoid Food Waste

I HATE food waste. It seems criminal. People are starving while we throw away 40% of our food. With what we throw away, we could feed over 60 million people for a whole year. Food also makes up 20% of the solid waste in landfills. If that's not enough to make you think about what you're buying at the grocery store, you're wasting around $2,275 a year. Yikes. 

7 ways to avoid food waste from www.goingzerowaste.com

Tips & Tricks

 1.      Take inventory

I don't love meal planning. I'm never in the mood for what I've planned. Instead, check your pantry and your fridge before going shopping. Plan your meals based on what needs to be eaten now. 

You can read my tips for making a five-minute meal plan formulated especially for those who don't love meal planning. 

2.      A little bit of mold won't kill you

If a fruit or vegetable has a small speck of mold, it’s fine. Cut it off and use the rest of the plant. Cheese is mold. If it has a little bit of mold you're fine. This does not apply for milk, yogurt, or meat.

3.      Buy less food than you think you’ll need.

Produce is not meant to last weeks. I always buy a little more produce than I need because I'm afraid I'll run out. Don't fall into this trap. Don’t be afraid of going to the grocery store more than once. 

4.      Save Scraps

Save stalks, cobs, peels and other undesirable veggie food scraps in the freezer to make "freezer" veggie stock. You can use it to enhance rice, pastas, sauces, soups, and other dishes. It's delicious and made from stuff you would have thrown away!

5.      Can't eat it? Freeze it.

If you notice something getting a little wilty - freeze it. Most vegetables and fruits can be frozen. Slice it the way you like it, let it freeze untouched on a baking sheet then put in a container and store in the freezer. Greens and fruit are great for smoothies. You can even freeze avocados! Mash them with a little bit of lemon juice. Let it thaw and you've got year round guac on hand.

6.       Make it Once

I hate leftovers. Eat casserole three days in a row? No, thank you. I make smaller batches of food and freeze the mix in a mason jar. At a future date, I defrost the mix in the fridge, place it in a baking dish, bake it, and have dinner ready without the prep.

I don't have to worry about leftovers getting moldy, and I don't have to cook every day of the week! Some of my favorites include marinara and soup!

7.      Optomize your food storage

 -          Carrots and Celery: store in the fridge submerged or placed in water

-          Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts: an open container in the crisper

-          Cucumbers: Stored on the counter unless you’re going to eat them within 2-3 days then store them in the fridge

-          Greens: In something to absorb moisture. If you’ve let your greens go limp shock them with some ice water and dry them

Wash, Cut, and Dry your lettuce

Wash, Cut, and Dry your lettuce

Then wrap in a towel like a cinnamon bun. The towel will absorb what moisture the leaves release keeping a longer lasting and crisper product. 

Then wrap in a towel like a cinnamon bun. The towel will absorb what moisture the leaves release keeping a longer lasting and crisper product. 

-          Onions and Potatoes: store them in open baskets in a shady spot of our kitchen

-          Apples, Lemons, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower, and Avocados: In the crisper

Learn how to store your fruits and veggies for longer lasting produce from www.goingzerowaste.com

-          Herbs: Fridge bouquets; stems in water

-          Tomatoes: *Controversy* I like to store mine in the fridge, other people say the counter. But, I don’t have good luck on the counter in my house.  

 How do you store your tomatoes? Do you have any tricks for storing your food?