So you already recycling your plastic, aluminum, paper and plastic, but you are in a quandary as to what to do with all that leftover food that is wasted. Sure you compost what you can, but a compost bin can only hold so much. Here are a few tips to help to eliminate waste from unused food.
Of course prevention is the key to producing less waste. Buying in bulk is not the best idea for food items. Shop for as few days as possible. It may not be very advantageous to shop daily, but is you shop for items like fruit and vegetables often, buying them as you need them will prevent them hanging around your kitchen waiting to be eaten.
By shopping for specific recipes you can also reduce the amount of time that you have certain items, not allowing them to turn or rot. I found that creating a menu of a couple of meals that can both yield enough for leftovers is a great money saving and waste preventing tip. Speaking of leftovers, this is the ultimate way to eliminate food waste. Eat it. Make sure you eat leftovers the following day or two. Making an entirely different meal as leftovers hang out in the fridge is just asking for it to linger much longer, because now you may have a whole new set of leftovers.
A way to store leftovers is very important. Store all of your leftovers in airtight, leak-proof, clear containers. You can also divide the leftovers into smaller portions depending on your servings needs. Always refrigerate leftovers no more than two hours of cooking. Now as we know, sometimes things come up – an impromptu dinner date, a late night picking up something quick, or in my case sometimes, being just too tired to eat. (I don’t recommend the last one of course.) In these instances leftover will still be leftover. So on to preservation.
Don’t stuff the fridge to capacity. To keep food at a safe temperature longer, cool air need to circulate. Also storing leftovers in flat containers can help them cool faster.
A great way to store food to prevent excess waste is to know which foods to store together. Keep vegetables and fruits separate and store similar items together: Oranges with oranges and carrots with carrots. Because they give off different gases, vegetables and fruit can cause deterioration in each other. Also never wash fruits and vegetables “before” refrigerating. Rapid mold and rot can be a result of the dampness.
Freezing items allow you to keep them longer. Try freezing those apples, strawberries and fresh veggies to not only make them last longer, but to use them in other items such as smoothies and soups.
There are also ways to keep store non-refrigerated foods to make them last longer, therefore eliminating waste. First keep items such as garlic, and potatoes in a cool dry place or an open container.
Buying the right storage container is invaluable when trying to eliminate food waste. You can get items in bulk such as green fruit and veggie bags, and stay fresh containers. There are lots of companies dedicated to food storage and reduced food waste. Their items range from a single container that can go from the freezer to the microwave, to bulk freezer bags that you can snag using that pack rat promo code you’ve been itching to use.
Proper storage of food is half the battle in eliminating waste. Your wallet will thank you as you shop less, and the environment will thank you also. Less waste is always a good thing for mother earth.