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There are many reasons to care about food waste. Right now, when it’s stressful to even get out to a grocery store while whole states are on coronavirus lockdown, food waste is an area we can all focus on to use our food wisely. One of my homemaking goals while I am social distancing is to reduce how much food we throw away and improve my creativity in using up food scraps.
What are the tools we can use to reduce food waste? A large freezer, good food containers, the right recipes, and a few other tools we can all throw away less food. An added benefit is that reducing food waste is frugal and saves money!
Tools To Stop Food Waste
If you’re anything like me, you’re kind of obsessed with food waste. Around one third of the food produced in the world gets lost of wasted. That’s a huge deal, and no doubt it has a big environmental impact. It also has an impact on our wallets.
I hate wasting food, and I try my best to use everything I can. There are a few tools that I have that make that easier, and I thought I would share them!
Some of these tools are more expensive, but they’re a good investment. This is one of those “spend money to save money” situations. But don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good! Start small, because even small steps help.
A Big Freezer
This is my biggest tip, and definitely the most expensive. If I was relying only on my fridge’s freezer, I’d be wasting a lot of money and a lot of food.
With this big freezer, I’m able to buy up Thanksgiving turkeys when they’re on deep discount and save them for when I want to make them. I can buy huge hunks of beef when that’s on sale, too.
My biggest tip for the freezer, though? Process your food before you feed it.
For beef, that means making burger patties, cooking it for pasta sauce or tacos, or stuffing it into muffin tins for mini meat loaf muffins.
For poultry, that means cutting up that whole chicken and portioning it out for meals. Make sure you save the carcass for broth, too!
Good Food Containers
I’m a huge fan of my glass containers from Ikea. It lasts forever and can go into the oven or the microwave to cook whatever is inside with minimal prep! They were also very affordable, plus they stack well in my cupboards.
Plastic tupperware is fine, too, and definitely lighter and therefore more portable. These are ideal if you’re sending kids or your husband to work with leftovers.
Since kids can be clumsy, if you send them with glass food containers, you run the risk of them breaking.
With good, airtight storage, your food will last longer in the fridge and freezer!
If you want to use up those leftovers or scraps from a meal, you need a good recipe. Those crusts from bread that your kid had you cut off would be GREAT to use for french toast sticks. And those potato skins make for yummy oven fries.
A good website to check out when you need to use something up is MyFridgeFood. You can choose what foods you have on hand, and it will suggest recipes you can make.
It’s essential to tap into your creativity when you’re trying to use up food scraps. If you end up not liking the recipe, maybe a friend will enjoy it?
Plastic Freezer Bags
I use these to store scraps that I’m going to use for broth, like celery leaves, potato skins, carrot shavings, and onion skin.
I also use these for bones that we get throughout the week. When we eat chicken thighs, I have my family throw their bones in a bag in the freezer instead of the trash.
For Christmas, my mother in law gave me some reusable silicone bags that I have been using for this purpose. I love them, and they reduce my carbon footprint even further!
Extra Ice Cube Trays
This goes along with my tip to process your food as soon as you buy it.
It must be something in my house, but I just can’t keep citrus from rotting within a few days. So instead of waiting for that to happen, I juice every lemon I bring into my home immediately, and freeze the juice and pulp. Once frozen, I throw them into… you guessed it! Another freezer bag!
The added bonus is that those ice cubes require no extra work to make a refreshing drink with electrolytes after a hard workout. Just pop an ice cube in!
A Food Dehydrator
I don’t have one of these yet, but I wish I did! You can make so many things with a food dehydrator, from dried apple slices to fruit leather, and don’t forget beef jerky!
Those dried foods will last considerably longer, so you’re less likely to have it go to waste before you can eat it.
A few Ball jars, a canning bath, and some water are all you need to save the fresh produce you get at the peak of its freshness. Once canned, those foods will last for ages and will taste delicious almost forever!
And even if you don’t want to can, these jars can be used and reused almost forever to store dry goods and truly keep insects out of them.
Useful for closing up any kind of bag, clips are a necessity for every kitchen. I use standard binder clips because they close more tightly than chip clips, but use whatever works for you. You can get quite a few binder clips for a dollar at the Dollar Tree.
I use these clips to keep my flour tightly closed to keep bugs out, to close frozen fruit and veggie bags so they don’t get freezer burned, and yes, for chips.
Reduce Food Waste Today
If we could all waste just a little less food every day, we could put a real dent in the ecological disaster of factory farming and large scale agriculture. It just takes a little bit of effort and creativity to help change our landscape for the better.
Let’s all promise to do our best!
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