Reduce Food Waste in 2022
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With the start of a new year, many of us make resolutions or set goals to try and change behaviors or our lifestyle. This year I have been thinking a lot about food waste and want to incorporate ways to decrease the food that I end up throwing out due to poor planning on my part.
Here are some tips that I have come across for helping to reduce the waste that I create.
- First, it is important to understand when food is spoiled and should be thrown away. Most dates on foods are just date when the food is at its best quality. Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor, or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria.
- Use your oldest foods first, First In First Out, (FIFO) used by most restaurants and food establishments, is also a good rule for home foods. This helps you avoid having foods reach that spoiled stage or lower quality stage.
- Plan to buy just what you need to use. According to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the average US household wastes 31.9% of the food its members obtain. You won’t waste it if you don’t buy it. You can buy to store but don’t over buy past when you will usually use items. If this happens, you can donate foods that are getting closer to their best-by dates if you want.
- Freeze, dehydrate, or preserve food approaching date labels – If you have purchased it and still haven’t eaten it, look for ways to use it. Most fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat products can easily be preserved at home by freezing. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has recipes for freezing for highest quality and safety.
- Use even the small leftovers. A smart way to use up leftover vegetables is to make a vegetable soup container in the freezer. The small portions of leftover green beans, corn, or other vegetables can be added and used later in a soup.
- Use vegetable scraps to make a soup stock. Cornell University has a great blog on Making Vegetable Stock.
- Know what you have at home. Do a weekly assessment of what you have on hand and plan your meals according to what is needed to be use. There are many online menu planners or just google recipes that include some of the items you have on hand that you need to use.
These are just some ways to try and reduce our food waste. It does really come down to planning and keeping in mind what we have on hand when we plan meals. Happy New Year and may this year bring better planning and less wasted food for you and our community.