How to Stop Wasting Food

IMG_20151001_195156

Egg, sweet potato, and kale hash — one of the many quick dishes you can make with kitchen staples.

 

I don’t know about you, but it makes me sad when I find food that has somehow been forgotten, left to perish at the back of the fridge or fully freezer burned. Sometimes we’re just too lazy to cook even when we have perfectly good ingredients on hand.

Jamie Oliver had some helpful tips on how to stop wasting food on his blog last month, and I have a few tricks to add to the list.

1. An avocado trick: I had a friend once tell me he would always buy a “today avocado” and a “tomorrow avocado.” Choose a couple firm ones for later use, or even freeze your avocados. They’ve been cheap lately, so stock up!

2. Buy meat in bulk, then portion it out: We buy most of our meat from Freshfield Farms, which sells bulk meat at very reasonable prices. After we get home, we immediately take all our meat and divide it into plastic bags (usually with one or two servings inside). This makes it easier to thaw and cook exactly what we need.

3. Keep your staples in stock: With these delicious and cheap staple items, you’ll always be able to create a meal no matter what meats and produce you have on hand. They are:

  • Tortillas (breakfast burritos, tacos, quesadillas … anything really)
  • Canned or dry beans
  • Canned tomatoes (make your own pasta sauce!)
  • Hot sauce (always needed)
  • Rice of all varieties
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (easy, easy marinade for vegetables)

And a few perishable items I always like to have around:

  • Eggs
  • Block of cheddar cheese
  • Hummus
  • Plain Greek yogurt

4. Take inventory regularly. That way, you’re on top of what’s about to go bad. You may also be pleasantly (or not-so-pleasantly) surprised by what you find lurking in the back of the fridge.

5. Try winter squash. For those of us who tend to forget about our veggie drawer, winter squash is a great option. Butternut squash can last up to three months when stored in a cool, dry space. Acorn squash will last about a month, and spaghetti squash lasts four to five weeks. (Storing in the fridge? Be sure to use your squash within 2 weeks.)

What are your food-saving tips?