Classic Tips for Saving Food.
Happy Friday, all! Made it through another week. I was in the car the other day with The Boy and we heard a public service message about food waste. Did you know:
Consumers are responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores, restaurants, or any other part of the food supply chain, so changing household behavior is key to reducing the problem of food waste. 21 percent of the food each person buys goes to waste, with the average American family of four spending $1,800 per year on food that they don’t eat and each individual tosses about 20 pounds of food per month, adding up to 238 pounds of wasted food a year.
The Ad Council put together this video on the life and times of a strawberry, a product that’s near and dear to my local heart.
Now, our family is as guilty as the next. Leftovers typically get eaten for work lunches, but I just had a melon go bad on the counter that I was hoping to save for the weekend. Drat! And there always seems to be a bit of something suspicious in a state of active decay in the odd jar or baggie lurking in the dark corners of the fridge…
What’s the old expression? The more things change, the more they stay the same? The U.S. Food Administration was promoting frugal food tips back during WWI due to rationing. Obviously, still relevant today if for different reasons.
- Buy it with thought
- Cook it with care
- Use less wheat and meat
- Buy local foods
- Serve just enough
- Use what is left
Ten strategies I use to help our family eat what we buy –
- Wash and freeze raw veggies that are about to go bad in the ‘stock’ bag.
- Feed the rabbit leftover herbs if we haven’t used them within 2-3 days. Let’s be real, who is going to be chopping up fresh parsley for the hastily made spaghetti before guitar lessons on Monday nights? Not this mom.
- Chop and freeze bananas for smoothies if they aren’t getting eaten.
- Make salads before using the frozen vegetables. This is a hard one because it is so easy to be lazy with packaged frozen veg.
- Check expiration dates on meat. I need to be careful because I always buy meats that are on sale, which means they’re coming up on expiration dates and they are priced to move. Roast/freeze anything that’s about to expire. Throw some herbs/BBQ sauce on the meat, roast it in the oven after dinner and then store by bedtime. Done! Made two chickens on Monday night after guitar.
- Save bread heels for bread puddings and breadcrumbs.
- Set aside a few pieces of meat from family packs for soups.
- If there is one serving left, throw it in a lunch container and put it in the freezer for a work lunch.
- Limit the number of small storage containers. When you realize you don’t have any left, it’s time to eat whatever is in the freezer.
- Don’t buy it! This is something I struggle with… Yes, it would be great to experiment with that one recipe that calls for 1 Tbsp. fresh fennel and 2 tsp. of special Asian fish sauce. How much are you actually going to use? Will the family like it? Will you be able to use whatever is left before it goes bad? We pause for a moment of reflection… That was all that I could think of when reading a cookbook by Rachel Ray the other day. The ingredients were not mainstream and so one-off as to be impractical for everyday family cooking.
For all of my food lovers out there, what are your self-imposed strategies to limit food waste at home?
Source: U.S. Food Administration.