If you want to help reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and lighten the amount of food wasted in your home, check out these simple tips:
- Be realistic at the grocery store. In the last few decades, the popularity of buying groceries in bulk to save money, has become a trend that some would argue isn't really all that frugal. While bulk is good for nonperishable items, buying more than you or your family eats in a week can be a huge waste of food. Before your next shopping trip, consider which items you've had to throw out because they spoiled. The most common items are fruits, vegetables and fresh meat.
- Use all of it. Instead of throwing away vegetable scraps and meat bones, save them in the freezer until you have enough to make a batch of homemade stock. Stock can be used for future soups, stews and gravies and will punch up the flavor. You can freeze and store homemade stock up to two months.
- Reuse citrus rinds. Rinds from oranges and lemons can be dried in a low temp oven or food dehydrater and reused. Add citrus rinds, cloves and cinnamon bark to a steaming pot for a rejuvenating aromatherapy blend that will fill your home with a warm and inviting scent. You can also add citrus peels with Epsom salts for a healing bath. Dried citrus rinds are a good addition for tea too, either by the cup or even in a sun tea gallon jar.
- Pay attention to "sell-by" and "use-by" dates. Studies have shown that many consumers are confused by these two dates and often end up throwing out perfectly good food. The "sell-by" date is for the store. In almost all cases, this is the date retailers use to know when to stop displaying food items on their shelves. However, the "use-by" date is generally 2-5 days later than the "sell-by". Of course, your nose and tastebuds can be the deciding judge should you question if a food item that "looks" okay is truly safe to use.
- Leftovers. Yes, leftovers. The amount of food that the average family of four (who doesn't use leftovers) throws out on a weekly basis is staggering. The waste of both food and money can be avoided by storing leftovers for another day's meal. And, while some may turn their nose up at the idea of leftovers, there are dozens of websites that can give you great ideas for making your leftovers more appealing.