According to research, we waste 50% more food than we did in the 1970s. For Americans, this translates to about 23 pounds of food per person, each month! Not only does this mean that you are basically throwing money away, but think about all the water and energy that went into the production of these food items. If we throw food away, we are wasting more than food. We are wasting money, time, energy, and water. So the prevention of food waste is something we should all focus on more. Here are a few tips to get you started!
1. Freeze ingredients to make stocks
Many food scraps we throw away can actually be used to make a flavorsome stock. Food items like beef bones, chicken carcasses, and vegetable peels can all be frozen and used for a stock later. Once your stock is made, you can freeze it in ice cube trays. In that way, you can use as much as you need, while the rest is stored in the freezer.
2. Freeze bread
If you always seem to end up with moldy bread, then you should start utilizing your freezer. By freezing sliced bread, you can take out only as many slices as you need. You can either toast the slices straight from the freezer, or defrost them in the microwave for a few seconds. The bread will taste as fresh as the day you bought it!
3. Re-use baking paper
If you regularly use baking paper (also known as parchment paper), it can lead to a lot of waste. You can re-use the baking paper a few times until it becomes brittle. Alternatively, invest in a non-stick baking mat. You can use it to bake cookies, patisseries, and even sticky caramels!
4. Freeze zest
Sometimes you only need a small amount of zest, but it’s wasteful to throw away lemons of oranges if you only use the zest. To prevent this, wait until you want to make fresh juice. Zest your lemons or oranges beforehand, and freeze it in Ziploc bags for later use.
5 .Regularly check your pantry, fridge, and freezer
Sometimes we buy food items that we already have, so it ends up going off. To prevent this, do regular checks of your pantry, fridge, and freezer and use what you have before buying new products.
6. Don’t go overboard when shopping
Yes, we know a sale is great. But you don’t save money if half of the food items end up in the bin. If you want to buy in bulk, rather opt for non-perishable items: canned goods, flour, rice, sugar, etc.
7. Make a weekly mystery meal
Set out one day a week to make dinner with whatever you have left over in your fridge. Not only will you prevent food waste by using what you already have on hand, but you will also learn to get creative. See it as your own MasterChef mystery box challenge!