I have brought to you a dozen ways to waste less food and increase your food’s shelf life, so you can save money and reduce food loss.
Ironically, the rate of hunger and food wastage is increasing at the same time. Surprisingly with more than 300 million people facing food insecurity, concurrently 2.5 billion tons of food was wasted in the year 2022. Although in the past few years after the different circumstances that the world got to experience during the pandemic, reducing food wastage has gotten into the focus. The probable damage that the massive amount of food wastage can have on humanity is quite alarming.
You might have not thought of it on an individual level, but it is where the change can begin. Much of the food that is lost or wasted is controlled by the one who possesses it, whether it is a seller or a consumer. A year back I was absolutely gutted by the massive amount of food loss, not only that occurring globally, but at home too. If you are too bothered about it, then go through a dozen ways to waste less food and increase your food’s shelf life that I have found and tested.
A Dozen Ways to Waste Less Food and Increase Your Food’s Shelf Life
Being a Homecook I have observed food wastage on a much closer level and was actually responsible for most of it until I realized where I was going wrong. Blinded by consumerism like many others I always ended up buying a lot more than I needed while doing grocery and many of the products ended up being dumped in the trash bin. Well, luckily I found out that you can save food even if you have bought a lot by using numerous different methods to increase its storage life.
1. Shop Wisely
Many people suggest that one has to buy less in order to save food from being wasted. It is partly true as if you buy a lot of stuff in one go you might not even be able to use them before they go bad. The correct way is not to shop less, it is to shop wisely. If you are not a fan of going out for groceries every other day, then you don’t have to. Not all food goes bad easily, just get food like grains, biscuits, meat, chicken, and eggs that have a long shelf life of a week or two.
But when it comes to vegetables, dairy, fruits, and seafood, then it is best to shop when you need them. There are even many online grocery apps and services available all across the USA, so you even don’t have to step out. Just order your greens, dairy, and fruits when you need them, so you can not just enjoy their fresh taste, but can also reduce the wastage of food.
2. Set The Menu For The Fam
You cannot shop wisely until you know the needs of your family. Setting a menu for the upcoming week might not seem to be related to reducing food wastage, but it surely helped me a lot. Usually, food gets wasted if you have either not calculated the right proportion of food that will be suitable for the family members or what you have cooked is not according to their taste.
It is best to grab a notepad and pen and sit down to make the menu. You can even ask your family for help as much of cooked food gets wasted because no one eats it. Think of what they like and what amount will be sufficient enough. Select the dishes that you will have to cook, what ingredients you will require, and in what amount. This will help you in the next method which is also crucial for reducing food loss.
3. Grocery List Will Do The Trick
They say that weight loss begins at the grocery store, similar is the case with food loss. So, it is better to make a grocery list, so you cannot get carried away. If you have made a full-week food plan, then you will already have in mind what you need. But it will be even better if you go through your pantry and mark out the things that you already have, so you don’t end up having more things than you need. This will not only save your food but your money too.
4. Organizing Is The Key
Whether it is your pantry or fridge, you might not know what is inside if it is improperly organized. Many users treat their fridges and pantries like storage bins. So, it gets hard to know whether you need it or not. If you have put your food items in proper storage boxes, then going through them will be enough to know what you need.
If you also end up having similar food items, no matter how much you try, you don’t have to worry. I also struggled with it, but thanks to a friend of mine who told me about the FIFO method, now I don’t end up wasting food. All you have to do is to arrange the food items that you have got before in front of those that you have got recently.
5. Get To Know Your Food More
Many people don’t opt for seasonal fruits and veggies. This leads to them buying food that is more likely to go bad easily. You must know what food is best for what season and how one needs to store them. Some food items can last longer when they are placed with other food items. While some food items last longer when put together.
Putting together bananas, avocados, and apples, with zucchini, carrot, cauliflower, and cucumber will rot them quickly. Whereas you can put corn, mushrooms, potatoes, and bell peppers with ethylene-producing food items like apples, bananas, and avocados. The more you know about these small things, the less you end up spoiling food.
6. Store The Food Accurately And At The Accurate Place
Not all foods can be stored together, likewise not all places that you think are good for storing the food help you last them longer. Tossing all the groceries in the fridge will not help you. There are many little things that will help you save your food if you pay attention to them.
First, when you bring in the grocery, put the veggies and fruits like bananas and avocados in the fridge separate from your leafy greens. Potatoes, onions, and garlic should be starred out of the fridge. Keep a check on the thermostat in your fridge as high temperatures might lead to spoiling and rotting of food.
7. Utilize The Leftovers
It is good to eat fresh food, but eating leftovers once in a blue moon will do nothing. If you have got some food left from the previous meal, instead of cooking a new meal from scratch you can be creative and make something new out of it. My favorite ones are making sandwiches, pasta, or soups out of leftovers. You can also turn your leftover white rice into a veggie fried rice or a red bean with rice.
8. Freeze For Later
Sometimes it can be quite tempting to say no to those fresh berries at the store. You can get your favorite fruits and freeze them for later. No matter what type of fruit, protein, or veggie you like, all you have to do is clean them, wash them, wait to dry, put them in zip-lock bags, then in the freezer. You can make healthy ice lollies for kids by making smoothies of different fruits and putting them in the molds. These last longer and you will save your fav fruits from being wasted.
You might have tried freezing a lot of stuff in your refrigerator including butter, meat, chicken, and seafood. It is one of the easiest ways to preserve your extra food items, but there are many more. You can make pickles of almost anything. This will require a few spices, vinegar, and a jar. Many things like herbs and even some veggies like onions or tomatoes can be dried, so you can use them later.
10. Keep A Check On What Is Going Into The Bin
Along with taking all these measures to waste less food and increase its shelf life, you also keep a check on what might still be going into your bin uneaten. By doing this you can see where there is still some room for improvement. This will also help you mark those foods which are more susceptible to getting rotten and wasted. You will be more careful in the future.
11. Give A Second Thought
Even if you come across something that you are about to throw out, sit back, and give it a second thought. There are many times that I end up buying the item that I have thrown away again the very next day. Food scarcity is a real issue, you can be a little more creative and use these items to make some good out of it. Make cheese or butter out of the extra milk or make ketchup out of the extra kilo of tomatoes that seem to be too soft.
12. Keep A Check On the Serving Size
When dining out, you must not opt for a buffet, as it seems that much of the food gets wasted. Instead, you can order your favorite dish and enjoy it. Do take into account the serving size that the restaurant has to offer. This will help not just in wasting less food, but will also eliminate any chances of staying hungry because of the smaller serving size than you expected.
What are 2 ways to improve the storage of food to prevent food wastage and loss?
First, you should know your food. As the better you know about the food the easier it will be for you to select a storage location that will help it stay fresh for longer. You must also know how you can store it. Keeping the food in cold, dry, and clean places in containers will be more helpful. The more your food is out of the reach of microbes the lesser the chance of it getting spoiled.
There are a dozen ways to waste less food and increase your food’s shelf life. When it comes to food loss the first thing is to overcome the habits or actions that lead to food wastage. Once you have got them under control, you will easily see a reduction in the amount of edible food in your bin. Secondly, you must know how to store the food accurately, so the food doesn’t get spoiled and wasted.