The fruit gets fuzzy or the meat goes off, you toss it and buy a new batch. We’re fortunate enough to have access to many food options but sometimes this easy access can lead to a little disregard when it comes to food waste. And waste we do.
According to an article in the Globe & Mail “We waste approximately 40 per cent of our food, or $27-billion worth, according to the Value Chain Management Centre, an independent think tank based in Guelph, Ont. And just over half (51 per cent) of that gets tossed from households.”
As part of the #GladFreshFoodChallenge I’ve been dwelling on my own family’s food wastage. I’m not saying we’re joining the freegan movement but there are easy ways we can cut down on our food waste and keeping things fresher longer.
1. Re-examine Your Definition of Bad Food. I tend to be an expiry fanatic, using the dates as law, but in reality, they are just a guide. Just because the yogurt expires today doesn’t mean it has to be tossed. Use your judgment (and your senses) to determine if your food is really bad for your family.
2. Don’t Toss the Baby Out With the Bath Water. An apple with a big bruise doesn’t mean the whole piece of fruit is destined for the green bin. Cut the bruised part off and enjoy what’s left.
3. Frozen Herbs. I love the idea of using fresh herbs in cooking but since I don’t grow them myself I usually buy them in bunches. I often found myself tossing out wilted rosemary and brown green onions. Now as soon as I buy them I wash, dry, cut and freeze. This makes it easy to pull out and toss into a stew or omelets and the GLAD Freezer Zipper Bags don’t take up lots of room in my freezer.
4. Avoid Spoiled Fruit. Predicting my family’s eating habits can be tricky with bananas and apples disappearing from the shelves one week and going uneaten and brown the next. I’ve discovered there are ways you can prolong the life of your fruit. Have you ever noticed when you have one bad apple in a bunch, the rest shortly follow suit. Keeping the fruit stored without touching one another, such as wrapping them in GLAD Press ‘n Seal, has slowed down this issue enabling my apples to last longer. I’ve also discovered the trip of wrapping the tip of your bananas with GLAD Cling Wrap to delay the ripening process.
5. Find Alternative Uses. Sometimes food just goes bad no matter what effort you make. Fruit that is over rip or bread that has gone stale may not be appealing to your taste but instead of tossing it try to find alternative uses. Sometimes I purposely let bananas overripe so I can make a batch of banana bread (the riper the banana, the richer the flavour). Stale bread is perfect for bread pudding.
6. Bagged Ice. I wrote recently about how adding ice to your drink, any drink, can change the whole experience. I love the clink of ice in a glass even if it is just a glass of water. But sometimes ice cube trays left in the freezer too long can take on an unpleasant taste and the cubes actually shrink. Once frozen I just pop them into a baggie like the GLAD Freezer Bag and the cubes last much longer. It may not be food but wasted water is still wasted and this avoids that problem.
7. Bulk Cooking. Our Big Green Egg retains the heat no matter what the conditions are outside which means we can barbecue all year round. This has led us to bulk cooking on the weekends. Not only does that cut down on cooking time during the busy week it usually means less meat going bad in the refrigerator. Once it has been cooked we bag up serving sizes for the week in GLAD Storage Bags and then freeze the remainder in GLAD Freezer Bags to be pulled out later in the month. This means fresh turkey weeks after we cooked it and when everyone is craving it again.
Sure, I can easily buy fresh for my family. We are very fortunate to have this food access, but that doesn’t mean I should turn my back on the unnecessary wastage. Applying these simple steps can help any family cut down of tossing out food that could have been saved. These are just a few tips we’ve been following as part of our #GladFreshFoodChallenge. What tricks do you use to keep foods fresher in your home?
This post was sponsored by GLAD but all opinions and experiences expressed in this blog are my own.