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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Save Food, Resources, Money and Address Hunger.

We already know that we throw away a lot of food. How many times a month do you clean out your fridge of bad leftovers? Ever see people not finish a meal at a restaurant and just leave the rest behind? Have you thought about how much expired produce is rotting in the dumpster behind your local supermarket and how many franchise eateries throw out the unsold food at the end of the day?

We aren't just wasting food by doing this, we are wasting all of the resources and energy that has gone into the  production of the food. Not to mention, if you check out the infographic to the left, we could potentially feed 7 billion people by being conscious of our actions and making some simple adjustments to our routines.

The video below sums up some  statistics in less than two minutes about how much food, energy and resources are wasted from the farm to the fridge in a people managed food system.
                                      



Some simple things I do to minimize food waste:

1. Don't cook much more than I am going to eat. 
It always seems like a good idea to make more and eat leftovers, but I've noticed moods for foods change, or we get sick of eating something three days in a row. We let things go bad, rather than choke it down. Which is silly considering we complain of food prices and how times are rough. It's hard to feed our families, so why waste food?

2. Freeze uneaten leftovers
If you do have leftovers you're not sure you are going to eat, put them in a freezer safe container and freeze thing thing, yo. You can always defrost it when the mood hits you.

3. Recycle leftovers
Ive made soups, casseroles and all sorts of creative things out of leftovers that I wasn't crazy about to begin with. This goes for restaurant leftovers too. Those scraps of onion, lettuce and tomato would be just fine in tomorrows sandwich, or cooked in a stew.

4. Shop for discounted produce
Most supermarkets have a section of produce wrapped up for REALLY CHEAP because they aren't pretty looking anymore. This is a great thing to utilize as it keeps food out of the trash. This is the final stage before it gets tossed. I get a big bag of tomatoes for $1 to $1.29 which are great for making sauce. Ive gotten zucchini, mangoes, bananas, peppers, apples and more. All still good to eat or freeze. People are so freaked out by a little brown spot on their food that they cant eat it unless it looks like a fruit bowl ad. Really, grow up.

5. Try Green boxes or bags
Green boxes or Green bags extend the life of your produce by minimizing the gases that it lets off as it ages. Or something science-y to that effect. The bags work well for me. The bags in addition to baking soda cups in my crisper works pretty darn good. Although, I really want to give these boxes a try. Cute as hell.

6. Chop and freeze produce
If you have produce that seems like it may be on its way out, just freeze it. Frozen melons, peaches, and berries make good smoothies or soft serve ice cream.

7. Keep fruit and vegetable scraps in the fridge for compost
The weekly farmers market near me has a food scrap collection for compost. They are all over the city. Food scraps can be made into fresh earth to use in gardening and landscaping around the city. It gives your food second life, and minimizes the amount of trash that needs to be picked up and rot in landfills. I keep mine in a bag and drop them off weekly at one of the many drop-off spots in NYC.

8. Buy as you need
Many people go shopping and buy everything in one lump. When buying fresh food, its better to buy it as you need it. I make two trips per week for fresh ingredients. If there is a shop within walking distance for you, give it a go.


Anything I missed? What are some good suggestions to save food and minimize waste?

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