Tips to reduce food waste

 

“On an annual basis, one third of the world’s food is wasted, amounting to 1.3 billion tons of produce valued at 400 billion US dollars…food wastage includes not only the product itself, but also the time, water, land and human resources used (and wasted) in its production. Food that is produced and left uneaten has an environmental impact encompassing 3.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions, 250 cubic kilometers of water (3 times the size of Lake Geneva in Switzerland), and 1.4 billion hectares of land” (Sustainable Home).

Though the problem appears too large for an individual to grasp and solve overnight, reports indicate the average US household loses $1500 in wasted food - it’s time for us to step up our food waste game so we can toss more yummy foods into our stomachs, rather than our waste bins. Alli Cherry and I collaborated on this post to bring you two separate videos for tips to reduce food waste in your home, as well as some fun recipes to help preserve your food to make it last longer. Check out my video above and Alli’s below, as well as a synopsis of our tips in this blog post to reduce food waste in our homes!

Products in videos - Reusable mesh market bag, Tea towels, Cotton mesh produce bags, The swag produce bag, Stainless steel container, Nesting stainless steel containers, Kerr wide mouth pint jars, Ball wide mouth quart jars, Beeswrap

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Simple tips to reduce food waste

  1. Finish before you buy by shopping your fridge and cabinets

  2. Before buying, plan out your meals and grocery list based on what you already have

  3. Separate your fruits from your vegetables

    • Fruits emit ethylene gas, which causes other produce to ripen

  4. Know what to eat first

    • Fruits with higher water content such as peaches, berries, grapes should be in the fridge and eaten first throughout the week. The others can be left on the countertop if desired, unless you’d like to keep them fresher for longer in the fridge

    • Vegetables with higher water content are: romaine, spinach, salad greens, herb

  5. Remove moisture from produce with tea towels or mesh produce bags, especially greens

  6. Soak some produce in water to keep them fresher for longer: carrots, celery, and herbs do best

  7. Seal foods in properly sized reusable containers

    • Glass is best to keep foods sealed, but match the container to the amount of food if possible so there will be less open air

    • Use plates or pot lids on top of plates and bowls to cover

    • Beeswrap is a plastic free, reusable option instead of plastic wrap

Cooking methods to reduce food waste

  1. Veggie scrap broth

    • If you have leftover produce scraps like carrot tops, onion peels, etc., save them all in the freezer to make your own homemade veggie broth

    • Find the recipe from Zero Waste Chef here

  2. Natural preservatives and pickling

    • Adding salt or sugar works to remove water content from food, and helps preserve foods for longer

    • Acidity and lowering the pH of your foods also inhibits bacterial growth in your foods

    • Asian pickle recipe featured in Sustainable Home

  3. Freezing foods

    • One pot soup/stews freeze well if you’re looking to meal prep and have some leftovers for a rainy day

    • When freezing in a glass jar, make sure to leave at least .50 - 1 inch empty at the top, or do not go past the ‘freeze’ line which may be indicated

    • Find the one pot veggie stew recipe here

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