We’ve been thinking about our spending habits lately (does it have anything to do with it being holiday shopping season and the end of the year, we wonder?) and in that vein of thinking, we looked in our refrigerators (because, what else do you do when you think about spending habits). Lo and behold, we realized a major way we could save money and it starts with reducing our food waste. Without further ado, our Top Ten Crumbs of Ways to Stop Wasting Food.
Tab’s Top Five Crumbs:
- Get a food saver and suck the air out of EVERYTHING (chips, popcorn, cheese, brown sugar, you name it).
- When you make dinner, make a little extra and use it for your lunch the next day. I know “extra” sounds counter intuitive, but planning ahead for other meals means you then use all the food.
- A spin off #2, PLAN! Make a detailed meal plan and follow it.
- Save it for later. There are a lot of things that you can freeze or dehydrate for later use. Those limp looking celery sticks and carrots can easily be tossed into a bag for your next stock/broth batch. Kale can be tossed in the freezer, too, for smoothies.
- Use the whole thing. There are times when you buy an ingredient for a specific recipe, only to find that you don’t use all of it (like ginger). This is another area where planning makes a big impact – find more recipes that use that ingredient. Get creative with ways to use the entire item, too, such as the stems of broccoli (use a veggie peeler to take off the tough outer skin and munch them for a tasty snack) or the leafy greens of beets (ribbon them for your salads).
Cyn’s Top Five Crumbs:
- Keep an organized pantry, freezer and refrigerator. How often does that left over tomato get pushed in the back only to turn into next months science project. Just like the grocery store, keep the oldest food in the front. I even have a container that keeps those left overs or must eat foods contained. Go there first.
- Stop over cooking and over serving food. I made a pot of sauce this week, easy enough to freeze left overs for a second meal. Its the pasta that’s the problem. I always over cook and it’s never enough for a second meal so its tossed. WASTE! This week, I actually weighed out the pasta before I cooked it and yes, cooked the correct amount of servings and not a noodle was left in the pan or our plates! No waste and as an added bonus, we didn’t over eat.
- Shop smart. Don’t buy a bag of carrots if you need two. Buy loose produce. Likewise, you can buy grains, nuts, and spices from the bulk bins and buy only what you need.
- Freeze your fresh herbs. I don’t know about you, but I have tried every hack on the internet on how to save that bunch of fresh cilantro only to find it a limp mess. Now I use it the night I buy it, back to planning my friends, and then chop up the rest. I then put it in ice cube trays with some olive oil and freeze. You can pop them out and store them in a Ziploc or just keep them in the tray and pop out when needed.
- Plan an itty bitty night. That’s what my Nana called left over night. A little bit of this, a tiny bit of that. Make it fun and server little bitty servings to the kids!