The average family wastes at least two full meals per month. This could happen for a variety of reasons: the meal wasn’t popular, too little time spent at home, or simply too much food was purchased in the first place.
This article provides simple tips that most families can do with little effort.
With the exception of a few vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers, most foods can be fozen to preserve their freshness. Place your food in single serve bags or containers, then mark it and date it if desired. You are pretty much guaranteed to stretch your food budget when you freeze whatever you will not be able to use within the next week. Items like condiments have a long shelf life, so aside from this, your fridge should only have a couple left overs and fresh food for the next couple days. Otherwise throw it in the freezer.
Why buy chicken, beef, or veggie broth when you can make your own? This takes surprisingly little effort. Buy your meats bone in, then gather the bones and freeze them until you have enough. then boil them in water until your broth is formed. You’ll not only save a ton of money on store bought broth and stock, but you have found an alternate use for those bones. Also, meat and poultry is substantially cheaper when you buy it bone in. If you don’t eat the skin, cook your chicken with it on anyway, then peel it off before serving and store it with your bones. it will keep your chicken more moist and provide a hearty flavor for your broth later.
Do you have left over breading from that shake and bake? How about a tiny cup of veggies? These things can be saved and reused within a short period of time. My kids make a habit of disliking food one day only to eat it later in an entirely different form. Get creative to get rid of your left overs. Left over fish can be tossed into a chowder on the slow cooker. Steamed broccoli goes great on a home made pizza. And if all else fails, puree that stuff and throw it in a marinara sauce!
Invest in a Few Proper Containers
A decent lettuce container will preserve your head of lettuce and keep it crisp for at least double the time it would normally be if it was kept in a bag. Older containers tend to collect bacteria from extensive use, even when they are sanitized properly. This means that a new container will keep your food longer than an older one. Plan to buy new containers at least annually, and forget about heating them up in the microwave. this will drastically reduce the life of your storage container.
Start a compost container. You can use old fruit peels, egg shells, corn cobs and other non-meat related waste in your compost pile, then fertilize your flower bed and gardens with it. This will save you valuable money in the long run, plus it is more eco friendly. You’ll also benefit from knowing exactly what’s in your compost in the first place. rest assured it is 100% organic because you are the one that made it!
Grow It Yourself
Home grown food just lasts longer. This is because produce bought at the supermarket has already suffered a long trip from the farm and has been sitting on the shelf until it is either picked out by a clerk or purchased by you. Growing your own garden takes less work than you might think, is substantially less expensive, and your harvest will last longer and have more nutrients. The average packet of seed can cost as little as 20 cents and will likely yeild you at least $20 in produce. The short trip it takes from your back yard to your fridge can add up to a week in shelf life for your veggies, and you know exactly how it was handled and what chemical were (or were not) used on it as well!