During the holidays food all around us. Generally, food is plentiful, but there may come a time when it may not be so. Since I started preparing, I have become more conscientious about avoiding waste. Let’s face if you stop throwing out rotten produce, stretch your leftovers, you will need to buy less, eat out less, leaving with more cash for your emergency fund, buy storage foods or build up for your supplies.
Here are some of the habits I started developing to avoid wasting food:
- Serve kids age appropriate portions that they can finish. I used to serve way too much food that just that ends up in the trash. If they want more food, they can always ask for seconds.
- After finishing the meal, refrigerate or freeze leftovers as soon as possible to avoid spoilage.
- Give out leftovers to guests who want them if you are on a diet and don’t want them lying around to tempt you later.
- Be creative with leftovers so the family does not get bored after a couple of days. An example was a barbecue beef brisket we had the other night. The following day we had tacos; the next night, I shredded what was left and mixed the meat with some chopped onion, peppers, and scrambled eggs and had breakfast for dinner.
- Serve salad dressing on the side instead of tossing with the greens: the lettuce and greens stay fresher longer.
- To keep vegetables fresh for a longer time, do not wash them until you are ready to use them. I found that the best way to store them is to wrap each type of vegetable in paper towels inside the plastic produce bag. Check them after about 4 days and re-wrap in a fresh paper towel. Keeping moisture off seems to work and even lettuce and spinach can last over a week if wrapped in paper towels.
- I found that leftover wine will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and can be used for cooking such as spaghetti sauce, beef stew gravy etc.
I would be interested to find out what everyone else does to avoid waste. Feel free to comment and add your tips!