I almost called this post Avoiding Food Waste but after some reflection and research, I realized that it is impossible to completely avoid food waste. The most we can strive for is to reduce it through awareness and our actions. Here are some tips for reducing food waste.
Bulk buying is a well-advocated means of saving money on items you use frequently and in large quantities. However, a little common sense goes a long way when buying in bulk. If you can’t use the amount by the time it will spoil, there is no point buying massive amounts. Large cans of vegetables or sauces must be consumed within a few days after opening otherwise they begin to spoil. You might have saved a fortune on that jumbo can of tomato sauce but not if you have to throw half of it out.
Meal planning is a great way to reduce food waste. With a menu in hand, you buy just what you need for the week or month. When you prepare the food, you make just enough for the meal or a planned amount of leftovers to be used for lunch the next day. Meal planning allows you to be judicious about purchases and preparation. You don’t find surprises in the back of the refrigerator that you forgot you had because everything was planned for.
Freezing helps you keep certain bargain food buys for a long time without loss to spoilage. Meats, fruits and vegetables can all be frozen and kept for months so feel free to stock up on these when you find a bargain. Freezing can also work for leftovers. If you only have enough food left for one serving, freeze it and use it when you find yourself home alone for lunch or dinner.
Using Leftovers and Scraps
Try though we might, there will always be morsels of food that seem destined for the trash can or the dog’s bowl. There are some ways we can make the most of foods on the edge. Fruits that are just beginning to go softer than normal can be tossed in the blender with some milk or juice and ice for a fabulous and healthy smoothie. Vegetables can be used in soups, stews, casseroles and pot pies. Leftover ground beef from tacos, meatloaf and other dishes can be stored in a container in the freezer. When you have enough, defrost and heat it and add some spices. Use the crumbles to make nachos. Leftover steak or pot roast can be used to make beef stock or soup. Then you can give the bones to the dog.
The best tip I can give you is to just be aware of what you have on hand. That way nothing will slip past you and end up in the trash can.