It is estimated American waste 150,000 tons of food every day, with an added toll to the environment in the form of land use, pesticides and water. Rotting food also clogs up landfills and releases methane, contributing to climate change.
The good news is there are a variety of simple strategies to avoid wasting food and the unnecessary dollars we spend to feed ourselves. Here are a few:
- Bread: Storing bread in the fridge dehydrates it and makes it stale sooner. Storing it at room temperature is preferable. Freezing it and microwaving slices (usually 20 seconds does the trick) as needed may be your best bet.
- Meat: Keep your meats uncut and wrapped until they’re ready to cook. It keeps them fresher.
- Berries: Piled up, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries leak their juices onto one another causing them to turn mushy. Store your berries in a single layer and they’ll last longer.
- Tomatoes: Turn your tomatoes stem or scar down and keep them at room temperature. It prevents air and moisture from overripening them – or, at least, slows the process down.
- Potatoes: Store your tubers with an apple. Apples release ethylene gas and keeps potatoes from sprouting too quickly.
- Bananas: These also release ethylene gas – particularly from the stem, which causes them to turn brown. Wrap the stems with plastic wrap and they’ll ripen more slowly.
- Herbs: Freeze them in water in ice cube trays. It halts enzyme and microorganism activity. Pop out herb ice cubes as you need them, let them thaw and enjoy virtually fresh herbs anytime.
- Avoid washing: Don’t wash your produce before it goes into the fridge. The water can promote mould growth.
- To the front: Keep items you use most near the front of the refrigerator. It reduces the amount of cold air lost when the door is left open.
What are your foolproof ways to preserve food? Share them with your Shop Talk blog community forum members!
Did you know? Best before, not bad after
Many automatically discard foods past their best before date. The fact is this date is about quality, not safety. Foods can usually be eaten well after this date. (Source)