Waste Not Want Not

Some estimate that one third of the world’s food is wasted. We have a food waste problem going on in our country. It’s time to consider how each of us contribute to this, and find solutions to this problem.

When I was growing up my mother would often say “Waste not want not”. By this, she meant that if you limit waste (whether is was food or other resources) you will need less. Think about your own kitchen. How much food do you throw away every week? How can you do better? Here are some easy ideas.

  • Make a list and stick to it. This isn’t just good for your waistline but it can help cut down on food waste by not stocking your pantry with items that you may never open. Don’t get sucked in by those end caps or front-of-the-store displays. Resisting an impulse-buy is one way to be sure you are only buying what you will be able to consume.
  • Consider what’s in your pantry or freezer before you stock up on more items from the grocery store.
  • Don’t throw away food because the “best by” or “use by” dates are passed. Foods such as bread, rolls, rice, pasta, cake mixes, and canned goods are still safe to eat even if the “best by” dates are passed. The quality in some cases, may be less than perfect, but safety isn’t an issue.
  • Get creative. Restaurants are famous for reusing ingredients. If there’s ham or grilled chicken leftover from a large party or holiday, it’ll get repurposed into soup or tacos the following day. You can do the same. If you have a half a loaf of bread at home in your breadbox that’s passed the Best By date, make a French Toast casserole, bread pudding, or bread crumbs with it.
  • Sour cream is two days expired? Bake it into a cake, quick bread, or muffins.
  • Store foods correctly. We all get busy and forget about the yogurt cups that get pushed to the back of the fridge. Check your fridge every week, and do your best to keep it organized.

  • Learn more about use by and sell by dates.  Sell By and Best By only indicate that the food is at highest quality by that date. It does not mean you should throw away the food, or that the food will no longer be safe to eat after that date. So if you have a package of buns, a box of rice, or a condiment, in which the “Sell By” or “Best By” date is passed, you can still consume it.
  • The “Use By” date, however, may be indicative of food safety (in products such as milk or meats for instance), so it’s a good idea to pitch any food that’s passed the “Use by” date.

Consider how much food you waste. Do your best to avoid over-buying, use what you have on hand wisely. Come up with a few simple strategies to plan better, re-use ingredients, and only pitch food that has far passed the “Use By” date. Thanks for doing your part to waste less food.

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