How to reduce food waste. Tired of throwing away so much food? Wondering if there are ways you could use the scraps instead? Here are some super simple solutions to reducing food waste at home.
Reducing food waste isn’t just good for your budget. It also helps the planet by contributing less waste to landfills. Implementing a few new practices in your kitchen can save money and reduce food waste.
Food Waste Statistics
Food waste is more common in wealthier countries, like the United States. It refers specifically to food that makes it all the way to the end of the food chain – our homes – and still doesn’t get eaten.
Some sources estimate that many American households throw away up to 40% of the food they purchase. 40%!
If this has you thinking about how much food is wasted in your home, don’t worry – with a few simple practices, you can reduce how much of your grocery haul goes into the trash unused.
8 Tips for Reducing Food Waste
Ready to implement some food waste prevention practices in your home? Here are some super simple ideas!
1. Practice proper produce storage
One of the biggest reasons we waste so much food is because fresh produce often goes bad faster than we use it up. With a little attention upfront, you can maximize shelf-life. Storing produce in ways that help maintain their freshness longer can help prevent premature wilting, softening, and mushiness.
Read my post How to Properly Store Produce >>
2. Meal plan
Food often gets wasted because we purchase more than we actually use, or we don’t have plans for how to use what we buy. Making a grocery list is great for staying within budget, but knowing what everything will be used for during the week can also prevent food waste.
3. Use the full strawberry
The green stems and leaves of strawberries are edible! You can chop the full berry up and use it in salads. I also like to throw the whole berry, stem and all, into smoothies.
4. Use a food processor to pulverize tough veggies like kale for salads
Because of its tough stem, kale can be a difficult food for some people to enjoy. While you can massage kale to make it softer for salads, I recently discovered another approach. Throw the whole kale leaf, stem and all, into the food processor and pulverize it. This naturally softens it up and makes it a perfect ingredient for salads with a variety of textures. Just don’t pulse it too long or you’ll have kale puree 😉
5. Sauté beet greens
Beets are incredibly healthy, and work well roasted, in salads, and even in smoothies. But what do you do with all the greens? Sauté them! Beet greens are also full of nutrients. Chop them up and cook them on the stovetop along with a little olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato paste, salt, and pepper.
6. Toss your ends, rinds, and peels into your water
Fresh produce is a subtle way to add natural flavors to your water. If you’re looking to change things up, adding peels and ends of fruits and veggies can help. Plus, it prevents these items from going to waste without being used. Some that work well include berries, citrus peels, cucumber ends, and wilting herbs.
7. Collect veggie scraps to make broth
Vegetable scraps, like peels, stalks, tops, and ends, can be used to make broth for cooking and as a soup base. Cook them on the stove with olive oil, add water, and simmer. Then, strain out the solids.
8. Keep the coffee grounds
If you love coffee as much as I do, chances are good that you often have grounds available. The cool thing is that coffee grounds are rich in nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. This makes them a great plant fertilizer for anyone with a green thumb. Also interesting, one study found that coffee grounds deter mosquitoes. Apparently, you can set dry coffee grounds in old bowls or cups and burn them like incense to keep pests away on your porch.
If you’ve noticed that you throw away more food than you’d like, try some of these simple practices for reducing food waste. You may even find new ways to enjoy your produce!
Weigh-in: Have you tried any of these tips to reduce food waste in your household? What are some simple practices you implement?
For more simple and practical food and lifestyle tips, take a peek at these:
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