Easy ways to reduce food waste

Chances are you spend a good chunk of your income on food. You can save a lot by being careful how you spend your money, but those efforts can be wasted if you find yourself throwing a lot of food away. Use these easy tips to reduce food waste in your kitchen.

Meal Planning

Planning your meals will save you money and also time and stress. It makes your life so much easier when you know what to buy when you are shopping (you will buy fewer impulse items) and you know what you are going to make for dinner tonight.

Find meal planning ideas.

Proper Food Storage

How you store your food can make a huge impact on the amount of spoilage you have.

A few ideas:

  • I have found that wrapping celery in aluminum foil really does keep it fresh longer (I had seen it recommended for years before I actually tried it, but it does work!).
  • Keep lettuce and other greens in an airtight plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture (the moisture makes it spoil faster). Only wash what you are going to use right away. Replace the paper towel with a dry one each time you open the bag to take some out.
  • Keep tomatoes at room temperature so they won’t get soggy

Creative Use of Leftovers

I take pride in my creative use of leftovers! It is an art form that I have developed recently in my quest to use everything

I have many suggestions for using leftovers. I am thinking about writing an e-book of some of my leftovers recipes.

Preserving Food

Some foods are easy to preserve at home for use later. I am not an expert at canning or fermenting foods (although I do make my own yogurt); the easiest methods of preserving foods that anyone can do are freezing and drying.

I routinely freeze bananas and berries to use in smoothies or baked goods later. I also keep staples that don’t get used up quickly (like flour and corn meal) in the freezer so they will stay fresh longer. Freezing is a good way to preserve summer vegetables like greens, beans, and squash for later.  You can also freeze tomatoes after cooking them or making them into sauce.

If I have more mushrooms than I can use I dry them in my dehydrator. (You can dry foods in your oven if you don't have a dehydrator.) I have also dried apples – dried apples make a delicious and healthy snack food, and you can dry your own much cheaper than buying them that way.

I also preserve fresh herbs by drying or freezing them.

More info on preserving herbs.

Pay Attention

One more thing you need to do if these ideas are going to help you is to pay attention! Clean out your refrigerator and pantry often enough so that you can keep track of what you have on hand and how much longer it is going to last. Forgotten foods are usually wasted foods.

When you effectively plan your meals, store your foods properly, and know how to use leftovers and preserve food, you should see a big change in the amount of food waste you have.

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From Reduce Food Waste back to Frugal Food

Meal Planning Ideas

Using Leftovers

Preserving Herbs

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