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Contributed by Lacie Wever of BrainsBibsandBiz.com.
Tired of throwing out uneaten leftovers, spoiled vegetables, and food items you no longer recognize under their fuzzy disguise? Here are six easy tips for reducing food waste in the kitchen. These tips are simple, practical, and suitable for anyone, especially if you are trying to live waste-free on a budget.
Whether you live in a house, an apartment, or a dorm room, you can reduce your food waste in the kitchen. It is estimated that 30-40% of the food supply in the US is wasted. In fact, the largest category of items found in landfills is food waste.
The problem with food waste
When food rots in landfills it creates methane, a greenhouse gas. Wasting food means wasted energy, water, land, and labor. Food also requires fossil fuels for transportation. This transportation is used to ensure food items can reach people for consumption.
When you consider the negative impact food waste has on the environment, you may start to question how you can reduce the amount of food waste in your kitchen.
6 easy ways to reduce food waste in the kitchen
Inventory your fridge and pantry before your grocery shop
By doing an inventory of what you have, you’re preventing yourself from overbuying while you’re grocery shopping. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to do a thorough inventory, take a picture of your fridge and pantry with your phone. When you’re in the grocery store you can simply swipe through your pictures to make sure you’re not purchasing items you already have.
Meal planning is incredibly helpful in reducing the amount of food waste in your kitchen? Why? Because planning out your meals gives you a perfect guide for what you need to purchase. This way, you aren’t purchasing any more food than necessary!
Your meal plan should include what you will eat for each meal that week and snack options. Don’t forget to include leftover nights and takeout nights! By planning this out ahead of time, you reduce the tendency to overbuy foods and have them go bad.
Make homemade veggie broth from veggie scraps
For some, composting is one of the number one ways to reduce food waste in the kitchen. I understand everyone may not be able to compost at home, but there are other ways you can reuse veggie scraps without composting. One of my favorite ways is to make homemade veggie broth from veggie scraps.
Here’s how to do it:
- While cooking, keep a container nearby to place your veggie scraps. Make sure this container has an airtight lid.
- Once you’ve placed your veggie scraps in the container, seal the container and place it in the fridge.
- Repeat these steps until the container is full.
- Once you’re ready to make your veggie broth, pour the previously frozen veggie scraps into a large pot.
- Add enough water to cover the veggies.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Allow the veggies to reduce down for about 45 minutes.
- Strain the solids from the liquid.
- Add your homemade broth to reusable jars and freeze until ready to consume.
Make DIY cleaners with citrus
Instead of tossing out your lemons and limes, use them to make a DIY cleaner for your home. Add water and vinegar along with your citrus straps to a spray bottle and use it as an all-purpose cleaner!
The citrus does an excellent job at suppressing the vinegar smell and it also helps you reduce food waste in the kitchen by repurposing scraps they may have otherwise been thrown away.
Click here for more all-natural cleaner ideas.
Food can be preserved in a variety of ways. This includes canning, pickling, adding olive oil, and freezing. Of these, freezing is my favorite because it is the most simple and requires the least amount of work.
When food is frozen, it slows down the microorganisms that cause food to spoil and make us ill. Be sure your food is in an air-tight container and place in the freezer to enjoy at a later time!
Sharing is caring
Share your food!
When cooking, it is easy to get buried in leftovers. Your fridge can easily become overwhelmed with extra food that you have no idea what to do with. While it’s a good idea to incorporate leftovers into your weekly meal plan, you may find that you have more leftovers than you actually want to eat. If this is the case, offer to share your food with others.
Sharing food with friends, neighbours, and family members is not only a way to show love and appreciation, but also a way to help reduce food waste in the kitchen. On the night that you’re preparing a big meal – say, burgers – offer to bring a plate to a neighbor (be sure to use a reusable container!). Reserve yourself only the number of leftovers you know you will eat and share the rest with others.
Take small steps to reduce your food waste today
Food generates a massive amount of waste. Luckily, we have the power to reduce food waste in the kitchen. Being mindful of your food waste is one simple eco-friendly habit that you can start today.
Hopefully these practical steps help you decrease the amount of food you’re throwing away in your home. Check out some other strategies for eco-conscious living here!
How do you reduce food waste in the kitchen? Share your tips in the comments below!