5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste at Home

Waste not, want not. Here are five foods you thought went bad that you can still use

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1. Soft wrinkly apples, pears, peaches, plums, and nectarines: You put them in the crisper drawer to keep them fresh only to forget them. Now they are anything but crisp.

Don’t worry. They’re just letting you know that want to be made into a cobbler.

Try this super simple Rachael Ray recipe or use your own.

Cobblers are ridiculously easy to make. Once you have one in your back pocket you will be able to mix and match wilting fruits to make a homemade dessert any night of the week.

Next time:

Try displaying them in a fruit bowl in your line of sight. Don’t limit yourself to just the kitchen. Try putting a small bowl of fruit where you work, study, or watch TV.

Also consider if you should buy fresh fruit more frequently, but in smaller amounts.

2. Spoiled wine: It was a really nice bottle of wine. You just never had an occasion to open it. Now you’re too scared to.

Don’t worry! Wine doesn’t spoil the same way meat does. It simply turns into flavorful cooking vinegar. It might not be drinkable, but add a splash to enhance sauces, main and side dishes.

Next time:

Don’t save fancy wines for “fancy” occasions. Instead, use it to make an average day a little more special.

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3. Moldy pitas: You bought a pack of fresh pitas from a little independent grocer. (Woo-hoo!) They even are preservative free. (Yay!) Two days later they’re sprouting blue fuzz. (Oops…)

The moldy parts do have to go, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Remove and toss the technicolor bits. Cut up the rest and toast in a dry pan on the stove. Now you have pita chips!

Next time:

Pitas, like many kinds of bread, freeze and thaw extremely well. Freeze unused pitas until you plan on using them.

To thaw, wrap pitas and leave them on the counter overnight.

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4. Stale baguettes (sourdough loaves, cinnamon bread, etc.): With a bakery in every megamart how could you not enjoy fresh baked bread? Unfortunately you forgot to store it properly and you now have fossilized bread that would make any archaeologist proud.

Congratulations! You have the making of french toast. Mix a little milk with a beaten egg. Dip the thick slices of bread into the batter and fry them in a pan. Add a little powdered sugar or jam. Boom! You’ve got an easy/fancy breakfast.

Next time:

    There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Reuse an old plastic bread bag, from mass produced sliced bread, to protect fresh bread overnight. Not only are you reducing food waste, you’re also keeping that bag out of landfills.

For long term storage many breads freeze well.


5. Wrinkled  grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes: You bought a pint as a healthy snack but you didn’t snack as healthy as you planned to.

They’re not bad, they just have a bit more life experience than smooth tomatoes.

Cut the them in half and add them to store bought spaghetti sauce. Heat them together until the tomatoes soften. Serve with pasta for a dinner that tastes farm fresh.

 

Or if you want to get pseudo fancy:

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Cut them in half.

Sauteed with olive oil, a diced small onion and some garlic.  (Fresh garlic, powdered garlic: it doesn’t matter.)

Add a splash of wine or a flavorful vinegar (like from that spoiled wine).

Cook until liquids thicken.

Season to taste

Put over pasta, poultry, meat, or whatever floats your boat.

(Looks purdy, don’t it?)

Next time:

Get that (massively relatable) trait of laziness to work for you instead of against you.

As soon as you get them home from the store, wash them and divide them into single serving sized bowls. Then put those servings in the places where you snack the most.

Instead of having to get up and going to the refrigerator or cupboard, where you’ll be more likely to grab an unhealthy snack, you can just sit in your comfy little chair and eat what many gardeners refer to as “nature’s candy.”

These tips will save you money and but food waste isn’t just a money issue. Expanding and creating new landfills uses up natural habitat. Their runoff pollutes both ground and ocean water. They also emit carbon dioxide, methane, and volatile organic compounds.

While some food waste is produced by modern farming and supermarkets, as you can see, you can still make an impact at home.

Can you think of another food that can be saved from being tossed? Tweet me or post your thoughts in the comments section.

And remember, it’s not a matter of perfection it’s simply a matter of doing something today to get a little Closer To Green.

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