If you feel like you’re throwing a wallet full of money down the drain every time you throw out food, you’re not alone – the average American family tosses an estimated of food every month. It’s safe to say that we could all benefit from a “waste not, want not” mindset! Whether you’re cooking for one or have a large family to feed, these simple, easy-to-implement tips can help you save some cash and reduce the amount of food your throw away.
1. Use Those Leftovers
One easy way to reduce food waste: eat those leftovers! Leftovers from your favorite meals can be reused up to four days after you’ve properly stored them in the fridge. Placing them in clear glass or plastic containers means you can immediately see what’s in there, so there’s a better chance you’ll actually eat them. Keep track of leftovers by applying a date sticker or writing the date on the container with a dry erase marker. And don’t forget the freezer, which can extend the life of your leftovers for far longer.
Tip: Preserve berries you know you won’t get around to eating by popping them into ice cube trays, and fill each section with water. Then add them to a pitcher of water or seltzer – instant fruit infusion!
2. Repurpose Your Peelings
Freeze fresh vegetables if you have too many to get through. Simply blanche or purée them in batches and then let them cool before freezing in zip-top freezer bags. Some peelings and veggie ends like carrots, green onions, celery leaves and onion skins are full of flavor, so keep them in a bag in the freezer until you have enough to make a healthy stock. Use it to for a hearty vegetable soup, and add leftover rice or pasta to bulk it out. Add peelings you can’t use to the compost bin to reduce waste and to help keep your garden thriving.
3. Don’t Toss That Stale Bread … Yet
The ends of bread loaves go stale quickly, but don’t toss them just yet! Crumble leftover bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs, and then freeze them in a zip-top bag so they’re on hand for making hamburgers, turkey burgers or breading for chicken breasts or fish filets. You can also cut bread slices into cubes, pop them on a baking tray, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt and Italian seasoning. Bake them for 6 to 10 minutes at 400 F to make croutons for a salad.
4. Do Regular Fridge Rotations
Before every trip to the grocery store, throw spoiled produce in the trash or composting bin, and give your fridge a good clean. Wipe up spills with a Bounty DuraTowel and remove stuck-on food and grime with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Move older foods that are still fresh to the front so they don’t get wasted once you add more produce.
5. Create Smoothies
If you regularly buy strawberries, bananas and raspberries, you probably feel like they go bad within seconds! To keep them longer, chop up the fruit, separate it into portions in zip-top bags and freeze. Then just throw a portion in the blender with milk, water or juice to make a delicious smoothie – without the waste!
Tip: Forgot to rinse out your blender? No problem. Add a few drops of Dawn Platinum dish soap, fill with hot water and wash – Dawn Platinum’s formula can power away 48-hour stuck-on food.
6. Smart Fruit and Vegetable Storage
Knowing the best way to store different food types will save you lots of waste and money in the long run. Bananas should be separated, not kept in a bunch, so they don’t brown as quickly. Keep bananas, apples and pears away from other fruits and vegetables to avoid early spoilage. And don’t wash fruits and veggies until you’re ready to use them – the excess moisture can cause mold to grow.
We’d love to hear your ideas and easy tips for preventing food waste and saving money in the process! Log in or register to share your tips in the comment section.