More Tips for Eliminating Food Waste

Nobody Likes to See Good Food Go To Waste^ - N...

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My recent focus on cutting down or eliminating food waste has made me more aware when I am in the grocery store. I am less likely to walk through on autopilot, tossing the same old items into my car. Now I try to think about each thing I’m buying and why I’m buying it. (I also feel more pain each time I toss spoiled food into the trash can or composter, and renew my pledge not to waste.)

One thing I’ve discovered is that it’s usually a mistake to buy fresh food, like produce or dairy, in large quantities, even if it is on sale. I’d rather make one more trip to the store each week than throw out food we didn’t get around to eating. We are a small family, so instead of buying an entire bag of potatoes or apples, for instance, I’ve found it’s better to buy just what I think we’ll eat in the next few days. I used to buy a week’s worth of fruit at a time, but there was inevitable spoilage. Now I only buy two or three pieces of each kind of fruit that we want and make sure we eat them.

The caveat to this is that it’s sometimes better to buy in bulk, but only if I have a plan for the food. For example, if something is on sale, like chicken or broccoli, I will stock up and freeze the excess immediately after I get home. I will also buy a large number of cheap apples, if I know I’m going to get around to making applesauce that day.

This brings me to my next tip. We eat more food if I prepare it for eating soon after bringing it home from the store, rather than waiting for when we want to eat it. For instance, I tear and wash fresh lettuce right after I get home, so I’m always ready to make a salad for lunch or dinner; if I have room in the fridge, I’ll store the lettuce in my salad spinner. Or I’ll peel and grate a large quantity of carrots for snacking, salads and sandwiches right away. Food that I don’t want to prepare right away, I divvy up for meals and freeze any excess.

What tips are you using to keep from wasting fresh food?

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6 thoughts on “More Tips for Eliminating Food Waste

  1. […] More Tips for Eliminating Food Waste (simplycooking.wordpress.com) […]

  2. GoodbyeNavi 10 January 2012 at 4:11 pm

    You are exactly right. After being tired of throwing away wasted food, we discussed just going to the grocery store more. We also do a lot of freezing. I do buy my chicken fresh but I just separate it and freeze it. Frozen vegetables work like a charm. There are some things I have to buy fresh because frozen just doesn’t taste as good. I try to cook everything we have in the house.

  3. Denise Boyd 10 January 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I’ve fought this same issue for awhile now and have been really focused on it lately because I so detest food waste!

    I buy for just one – me. 🙂 But I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and don’t want to run to the store every other day so I’d been buying what I thought I’d eat in a week or even two. That wasn’t happening, though, so now I buy just a little at a time and make sure to use it! I went shopping Sunday and bought one zucchini, one yellow squash, four small tomatoes, and 4 small red potatoes. I keep the produce on a fridge shelf where I can see it rather than in the drawer where it’s hidden from me and that works beautifully! I think it would work well for those who buy larger amounts, too. Just keep some of the produce on the shelf above the drawer and replenish as needed.

  4. Shannon 10 January 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Great tips, Denise. Thanks!

  5. Lee Ann 10 January 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Lately I’ve been buying frozen veggies since I’ve been so busy…and not too much fresh fruit at a time…I agree with you there!

  6. schooly 9 April 2012 at 10:56 am

    If you are serious about eliminating food waste and you live within 5 miles of your supermarket, you can do what I do. Never ever buy anything to eat unless you carted it home by human power. If it came home in my bike basket or my backpack, it’s part of our food budget. You’ll be amazed at the money you save, too! BTW, I shop for 3 adults.

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