The amount of food that is wasted every day is absolutely astronomical and, quickly frankly, out of control. Especially considering how many people either don’t have access to fresh, healthy produce or can’t afford it. In an effort to be more sustainable and a more conscious consumer, we’ve made some changes in our home to reduce food waste. The EPA has a list of tips, but I wanted to share 5 things that have actually worked for me as well.
6 Tips to Help You Reduce Food Waste At Home
Store food correctly
My #1 tip for reducing food waste is to store food in the most appropriate way for the type of food. A good example of this is that I keep my green onions in a mason jar with a few inches of water at the bottom. This keeps them from wilting, while also encouraging the cut ends to grow more usable parts. I also keep some herbs in jars of water, some produce in paper bags, etc. A simple google search is all you need to know exactly how to store each food item to reduce waste.
Buy less & shop as needed
When it comes to grocery shopping, I typically prefer to buy everything all at once. I’ve found though that that can lead to food waste because I might not always get to something before it needs to be eaten. Instead, I’ve changed my shopping habits to buy fewer things and go to the store as needed. I’ve found that shopping for 2 days worth of meals has helped exponentially in my quest to reduce food waste in our home!
Grow what you can
I absolutely LOVE having a garden. It’s actually one of the things I looked forward to the most when I bought the house. When my veggie garden is growing in the summer, it majorly cuts down on our grocery list AND the amount of food waste we generate. Having a garden allows me to only take what I need and let the rest keep growing. It’s also helpful in a pinch so that I don’t have to run to the store! Then, when fall and winter come, I either pickle or can things… or store them in a way that will let me use them later.
Freeze what you can
Every summer, I go way overboard buying berries because I get so excited for fresh fruit. Inevitably, my eyes are bigger than my belly and we end up with a plethora of fruits. A few years ago, I started freezing berries when they were in season so that we could have them during the off months. It’s really paid off! I love having access to out-of-season produce in the winter for things like baked goods, smoothies, etc. I definitely recommend researching what you can freeze because it always surprises me!
Make stock with leftovers
Speaking of freezing… my freezer is currently full of stock that I made! After Thanksgiving, I saved the bones and cut off ends of veggies in order to make delicious stock for soups. It’s paid off all winter long! To make your own stock, simmer bones and veggie ends like onions, carrots, shallots, etc with herbs. Typically, I use sage, thyme, and oregano because that’s always growing in my garden. I usually use a giant stock pot and add enough water to cover everything. I like to have intense flavor, so I simmer for about 4-6 hours on low heat, adding water as needed. When it tastes how you want, strain the liquid and store in airtight containers and freeze. It’s so easy!
I mean, of course, I believe that everyone should have chickens cuz they are weird and amazing. But I also love chickens because they will eat pretty much anything. I always bring home leftovers if we eat out for the chickens, especially french fries. My hens don’t care that the fries aren’t crispy anymore, which is better than throwing out the leftovers. I definitely recommend researching what chickens can and cannot have before doing this. Also, make sure that you feed them a well-balanced diet — and not just day-old fries!