Simple ways to lessen food waste and save you time and money
With the start of longer days and more sun, it’s getting to feel like we are out of the dark and into the season of spring finally!
I am still thinking lots about the massive topic of waste and how small steps can make a big difference.
Last week we looked at food packaging and food waste in our stores and purchases. What about in our homes?
How do we keep from throwing out food that we have purchased, or even cooked, before or even once it goes beyond its safe shelf life?
-For perishable items like your produce, only purchase what you feel you can use within a 4 days to a week. Some hardier veggies and fruit can last longer. This can mean shopping an extra time per week, but saving $5 to $15 dollars a week on items that may end up going bad and being tossed can be worth it. Also, knowing the shelf life and how to best store each type of fruit and veggie for optimal shelf life is key. I will get more into that in the coming weeks.
-Have ideas of what you can use your produce for before you purchase. This is where meal planning really shines. If you plan for 1 big salad a week, which can usually stretch into 2 or 3 meals if you don’t directly add mushy/water veggies like cucumber, you can get more bang for you buck and time of chopping. Then for each meal double the veggies you would consume so you have left overs for the next day. Either repurpose that steamed broccoli or cauliflower into a soup or quick stir fry or rice bowl. I usually have a cook day, then a use leftovers day to save time and use up those leftovers up.
-When you open the fridge and see a random selection of items google for recipes with 2 or 3 of the items you need to use. Example - “recipe using cabbage and snap peas” type of thing and select one that looks interesting that has at least 30 comments and over 4.5 or more stars. I am pretty much always impressed with what I find that way, and if it turns out to be amazing, it gets added to our “Amazing Recipes” binder! Or, cook free style using your favourite spices, sauce or dressing to make sure it is something you will enjoy. You gotta enjoy it!
Now, if you have veggies or fruit on hand that you know you can’t use and they are getting close to not being good - you can:
-Freeze them for future use, such as a veggie broth, smoothies, soups, chilli, etc.
-If you have pets, those veggies are great when frozen and given as a part of their meals or treats. Our dog loves broccoli stems, cabbage cores, cauliflower cores and leaves, kale stems, sightly over ripe snow peas, etc. I am sure she is healthier for it!
-When no other use can be found, the answer is COMPOST!
Let’s save money, time, and the planet by planning how to use the precious food we have.
Have a great week,