I hate the idea of wasting anything, but wasting food is the worst. When I throw food away, it feels like throwing cash in the garbage. Plus, it can be difficult to toss food in the trash when you think about all the people dealing with food insecurity. With recent events, I’ve been exploring new ways to prevent food waste. Our household is not likely to ever get to a zero-waste point, but we can definitely improve when it comes to food waste. If you’re interested in wasting less food and learning ways to better use what you have, read on for some tips on reducing waste in your home.
Don’t toss those overripe fruits
One of the best ways to prevent waste is to use your freezer. Most overripe fruits freeze well so you can use them later in various recipes. Berries, mango, peaches, and pineapple can be frozen for use in smoothie packs. In our house, buying certain fruits like bananas is a gamble. We either eat them immediately or they go brown and mushy so no one wants to touch them. Once they start to brown I just peel them and throw them in a freezer bag. You can use your frozen bananas in your morning smoothies or banana bread.
Veggies also freeze well
Leafy greens like spinach and kale can be frozen once they start to wilt. Then you have the option to put them into a soup or add them to your smoothies for extra vitamins. If you have vegetables that are no longer good for eating fresh, you can freeze them for use in soups. I’ve learned that I can freeze tomatoes to make pasta sauce or vegetable soup. This is a very helpful tip if you grow your own tomatoes and are looking for ways to use them up. Other garden vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers can also be frozen to be cooked later. Keep in mind that most vegetables will go through a texture change once frozen so they’re best used cooked in recipes rather than eaten fresh. Some veggies with a high water content like cucumbers, lettuce, and celery don’t do well in the freezer.
Don’t forget the leftovers
Many people just don’t like leftovers. I get it. Some foods just don’t reheat well and the texture and taste can be affected. But with many foods, there are ways to use your leftovers in a new way. One of the best sources for finding new ways to use leftovers is Pinterest. This is especially true if you have large cuts of meat like ham or turkey leftover from a holiday meal. A quick search yields tons of uses for leftover turkey or leftover ham. These leftover meats can be used in soups, salads, casseroles, and sandwiches. You can even use the turkey bones to make bone broth and the ham bone to add flavor to beans.
If you waste less food, that means wasting less money and getting the most use out of the food you have. If you know you won’t use produce before it goes bad, throw it into your freezer for later use. Don’t toss those leftovers as many can be used for lunch the next day or made into a new dish with other ingredients you have on hand. By wasting less food, we can lessen our impact on the world around us and save money on our grocery costs.