Waste Not, Want Not
I can’t tell you how many times while growing up my mom said to me, “waste not, want not“, whenever I didn’t finish all the food on my plate. She didn’t want me to overeat…she just wanted me to learn not to put more food on my plate than I could eat…so I didn’t waste food. And her mantra lives on…through me…she’d be proud!
Here are 7 ‘Easy to Do’ Tips that can help you eliminate some of the food waste that goes on in your family refrigerator and pantry every week…hope this helps you:
Tip#1 Leftover Fruit
Freeze it. Yes that’s right, fresh fruit… put it in a freezer container and freeze it (up to a few months) to use in smoothies, cook and puree to add to muffins or cakes, or use to ice drinks/tea/wine/sangria. Freeze whole ripe bananas to use for smoothies and banana bread.
Tip#2 Cereal the kids won’t eat
You thought they would eat it. The image on the box looked really good (high in fiber, double good) and it had a surprise toy…oh well. Most cereals can be made into a breakfast/snack bar with some added chocolate chips. Here is a standard recipe that works for a lot of cereals, but you might have to adjust some of the ingredients to suit the texture of the cereal.
2 Cups Cereal
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tbsp Honey
Line a 9″ x 11″ with parchment paper. Heat peanut butter and honey until melted, then mix well with the cereal, pour into pan and flatten. Place in fridge for about 30 minutes to harden.
Tip #3 Salad Greens that are about to go out of date
Sauté them in Olive Oil with a little bit of garlic. Chefs do it all the time. Romaine, Chard, Kale and all types of greens taste wonderful when they are lightly sautéed . For a little different flavor, add a little red wine vinegar at the end, right before serving.
Tip #4 Leftovers
Designate one night each week as “Leftovers Night” to help deplete waste in the refrigerator and keep your inventory manageable. If the fridge gets too cluttered, then it’s hard to determine how old it is, so you end up with more wasted food. Another great tip is using masking tape and marking the date and description on the package. Also, immediately after dinner, package lunch size portions of leftovers to save money instead of eating lunch at a restaurant
Tip#5 Repurpose Meals
Some meals are easier than others to repurpose, so that the family does not feel that they are eating leftovers a couple of days in a row. Here are some examples I use on a regular basis:
Baked Rosemary Chicken (first night), Chicken Alfredo (second night), Chicken Salad or homemade Chicken and Rice Soup (for lunches)
Crock Pot Chili (first night), Chili nachos with all the fixings (second night)
Spaghetti with Meatballs (first night), Meatball Subs (second night), baked spaghetti with Ricotta Cheese (third night)
Sirloin Steak (first night), Black and Blue Steak Salad (second night)
Tip#6 Stale Bread
Simply add a little olive oil and Italian Seasoning to any sliced bread, cut into small squares and bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees f0r approx. 2 hours and you will have some very tasty croutons. Thinly sliced cheese melted on toasted stale bread can compliment most any meal, especially a tomato basil soup.
Tip#7 Preserving – Canning or Freezing
If you have veggies or fruit that will not get eaten before they ruin, you always have the option of making a jelly or jam from the fruit and blanching/freezing veggies to use at a later date. If I have too many onions or peppers, I might dice them up and put them in the freezer to use in cooking (up to 3 months). I always freeze unused fresh basil to use at a later date, because it is so easy to crush into the recipes.
Feel free to share any Sustainable Living Ideas that you would like covered in our weekly posts. Just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You! Leigh
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