Food is wasted in large quantities at different levels; edible crops are rejected for not being visually appealing, a lot of produce is lost in transportation, consumers buy bulk food, consumption is less than what is cooked. All these factors contribute towards food wastage. There are a number of ways in which you can avoid wasting food. Some of them have been mentioned in this Buzzle article. Read, learn, and do your bit.
Make a weekly plan that enlists the meals you will be cooking on each day of the week. This way, you know what to buy and how much to buy.
Buy only what you need
Based on your plan for the week, make a shopping list, and then go food and grocery shopping. Stick to what you need to buy, and refrain from impulsive, off-the-shelf shopping.
Avoid getting trapped by promotional sales
Stay away from promotional offers and sales. You end up buying stuff that you don’t really need, causing unnecessary wastage.
Buy in parts, instead of whole
If you wish to try out a new recipe, and the recipe needs just four slices of pineapple, buy fresh and loose produce, instead of buying a whole can of processed pineapples. Make bulk purchases when it comes to grains, nuts, and spices.
Choose to cook those items first that will perish faster if stored for too long.
Don’t prepare more than what is required
Storing food for later use is okay, but try not to cook or prepare elaborate meals when you are sure about how much will be really sufficient.
Carry a doggie bag
When eating out at restaurants, feel free to ask the waiters to pack the leftovers that you can carry home. Reheat the next day and eat it. This avoids wastage to a great extent.
Use what is bought
No matter how perfectly you try to follow your weekly meal plans, emergencies are bound to happen. You might be invited to a dinner, or might decide to eat out. But make sure you utilize whatever you bought before it gets spoiled, and you don’t have to throw it away.
Remember what’s in your pantry
An uncluttered and clean kitchen is not only necessary for hygienic reasons, it also lets you keep a check on your store. Regularly check your cupboards and pantry, so that you are aware about the available ingredients or the ones you need to refill.
Take/Serve smaller portions
At the dinner table, whether in a restaurant, or at home, fill your plate with smaller servings. If needed, you can always ask for a second helping. This is good for restricting waste as well as the waist.
Keep it fresh
Educate yourself on the ways to store food in a way that will keep them fresh for the longest duration. For example, certain fruits need to be stored inside the fridge, while certain vegetables should never be washed before storing them in the fridge.
Learn to read labels
These labels include information about manufacturing date, best-by date, use-by date, sell-by date, and its expiry date. The sell-by date is the last date on which you should ideally buy that product, but can use it until a week later too. The best-by date is the day the food reaches its peak quality, and should preferably not be used after that.
Maintain the temperature of the refrigerator
Warm storage tends to spoil food faster, and hence, is not recommended, unless a particular food item demands it. To ensure freshness and longevity, store food in a refrigerator which is set at a temperature of 1 to 5 °C .
Freezing food items stabilizes the oil present in them, thus, preventing them from getting spoiled. Maintain the temperature of the freezer at -18 °C.
Preserve and Share
Reheat last night’s pizza slices, and eat them at lunch the next day. Leftover vegetables can be used to toss-up a salad, softer and less fresh fruits can be blended into juices or smoothies, and leftover pasta can be filled into tacos.
Apart from meat, fish, dairy products, and peels of certain citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and lemons, you can compost food scraps, and use it in your garden. Uncooked vegetables that have gone soggy, soiled fruits, salads, etc., can be used to create compost.
Share your food
Do this not only because you want to avoid throwing away your leftover food, but also because someone out there is starving, and is not privileged enough to have food.
Keep these essential tips in mind, and reduce as much wastage of food as possible. Since it starts at home, do your bit and educate others too. It will eventually add up to the betterment of the condition that affects the world when it comes to minimizing food wastage.