Challenge Your Family to Cut Down on Food Waste
o one intentionally tries to waste food. In fact, we all like to believe that it must be other people who throw out food… not us! After all, food is expensive and it just doesn’t seem right to waste it. If however in the last few months you have found a bunch of slimy parsley in the back of your fridge or if you tossed a half – eaten apple or a few slices of moldy bread then (sorry) but you DO waste food. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified discarded food as the single largest component of US landfills! So maybe we could all do just a little better when it comes to throwing out food.
Here are a few ways to help reduce the amount of food that your family wastes… and to save some money in the process!
1. DO plan out your meals and make a grocery list.
Be sure to find ways to use those aging food remnants in your kitchen by working them into your menu. For example, those left over green beans could be tossed into a soup. Trim the discolored edges from that small wedge of cabbage, then chop and stir fry it in olive oil for a delicious side dish. The end piece from that loaf of stale French bread may be turned into home - made croutons for a chef salad. You get the idea!
2. Try running a small spatula around the inside of an almost empty jar of peanut butter. There is often a full tablespoon that would otherwise get tossed!
3. Eliminate back-of–the-fridge science experiments by placing newly purchased produce BEHIND what is already there.
That half–empty bag of gooey spinach and that rotting pepper are disgusting reminders that food is easily forgotten when it is covered up by… newer food.
4. Use the edible portions of foods that are typically thrown away.
For example broccoli stalks are tough and might not be the best thing for dipping, but they are delicious (and extremely nutritious) when grated and added to a salad or coleslaw. That large center stalk from kale leaves may be chopped and added to soups or it may be sautéed with olive oil and garlic.
5. Before tossing out that empty jar of pickles, consider slicing several carrots into thin circles.
Place them into the pickle juice and store in the fridge. In 2 or 3 days you will be able to enjoy crisp carrot “pickles”.
6. Once every week or two, prepare a “scavenged” meal from whatever you can find in your fridge and pantry that needs to be used up. You probably have all of the makings for a terrific casserole, soup or quiche. Just be creative!
For more ideas check out the Save the Food website: Savethefood.com
Photo by Sergey Zolkin (via Unsplash)