Some studies show that an average American wastes approximately 400 pounds of food, or about 500 dollars worth of food every year. It seems like experience doesn’t teach us that fruits and veggies usually go bad after several days; it seems like it’s easier to throw away a large chunk of cheese with a moldy edge, than to cut off the edge and use a perfectly edible cheese.
Another study shows that 30 to 50% of produced food in the world does not get eaten, for various reasons… while people in Africa are starving (and not only in Africa).
Eco organizations are becoming louder and more visible with their pleas to take small, easy steps to save our planet. Many people will start listening only when they realize what’s in it for them. A pretty good incentive would be to save their money. One of such easy and obvious things that help reduce food waste and our food expenses is: freezing food.
Freezing food allows us to save vegetables, eggs, meat, cheese, fruit, bread, etc. from going bad before we have time to use these items. The process, though seemingly obvious, involves several important steps that shouldn’t be skipped:
How to Properly Use the Freezer and Stop Wasting Food
1. Set your freezer to 0 degrees or lower.
2. Plan grocery shopping in advance: make a list of things to buy, and make sure it doesn’t contain items that you most likely won’t eat.
3. As soon as you get home, take out all the items you have and start preparing them for the freezer. Everything that won’t be eaten in the next 2 days (and cannot stay in the fridge for longer than that without going bad) should be washed, blanched (if it’s vegetables), cut, diced or chopped into smaller pieces, and put into one-serving-size freezer bags or plastic containers.
4. Whenever you make a meal and your family doesn’t eat all of it, freeze leftovers.
5. Whenever you chop onions or prepare any other food item for cooking, freeze whatever is extra.
6. Label every food packaging you put in the freezer. Use strong adhesive freezer tags where you can note down the info about what you are freezing and the date of freezing. That way you always know how much time you have to use a certain item.
7. Regularly check what you have in the freezer and move packages around. Bring older items closer to the door, so you’ll know to use them before newer products.
8. Always defrost food one day in advance, in the freezer. If you forget to do so, you can thaw food under cold water, but still safely packaged.
Once you start automatically wrapping leftovers or extra ingredients for freezing, you’ll stop wasting food and money. And believe it or not, you’ll be making a small contribution to saving the planet.
Ana Brady has been guest blogging about food, nutrition, healthy living, family life, recreation, organization in the kitchen, etc. She is a mother of two, and she loves spending time with her family in nature. She works on a project on food packaging labels.