Seven Ways To Reduce Food Waste at Home

bell peppers

We’ve all heard the idiom “waste not, want not” before, but in today’s fast-paced world following this sound advice can be difficult. Here’s seven easy ways to reduce your food waste and help deal with extra food in the kitchen.

1. Reheat Leftovers

If you can’t get to your leftovers in time, reheating them after three or four days will re-sterilize them and help them last longer. I’ve used this trick to more than double the shelf life of beans.

2. Ferment Vegetables

Fermenting food is a technique that has been used for food preservation for centuries. Bread, pickles, cheese, and yogurt are all ferments. It’s easy to find pickling recipes for all kinds of vegetables online. The best part is, fermented foods are incredibly healthy and they don’t take up any space in the refrigerator. New to fermenting? Sandor Katz just came out with an amazing new book that will walk you through it (and, yes, that’s an affiliate link).

pickled vegetables

3. Eat Your Leftovers

I know it can be hard, but try to eat those leftovers! Get creative with it and use leftovers as ingredients in new dishes. French toast was originally made to use up stale bread from the day before and the Chinese make a delicious porridge from leftover rice called congee.

4.Shop More Often

Find the time to shop more often. The more often you go shopping, the less food you have to worry about going bad before you get a chance to use it. If you do chose this strategy, bike or walk if you can, otherwise any benefit to the environment will be more than erased.

5. Use Breathable Produce Bags

Resealable and reuseable produce bags that are especially designed to make fresh produce last longer by moderating the oxygen and CO2 levels within the bag. These bags use BreatheWay technology that allows the natural respiration of produce to slow its ripening process. Easy to use and a good way to make many fruits and vegetables last up to 50% longer (depending on the age of the produce when you put it into the bag).

6. Start a Garden

This is easier than it sounds. Even a small garden will allow you to serve fresh-picked veggies. Not only will a garden help you reduce food waste, you can actually compost your food waste and feed it to your garden!

backyard container garden in brooklyn

7. Buy From a Farmers’ Market

Food from Farmers’ markets is usually fresher than from the grocery store. This means it will last considerably longer, possibly taste better, and help support local & small scale food producers.

Warren Howe is a writer for Clearly Fresh Bags and an avid gardener.  Clearly Fresh Bags keep fruits and vegetables fresh from the grocery store or farmers market up to 50% longer.  By creating the ideal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, Clearly Fresh Bags slow the ripening of produce for crisper, fresher, longer lasting fruits and vegetables.

 Image credits: moon angel at flickr under a Creative Commons license; ZakVTA at flickr under a Creative Commons licensecanarsiebk at flickr under a Creative Commons license

  1. Amanda

    One thing I do I saved my netted potato bags and when I get potatoes in a plastic bags from the store I transfer them over to the netted ones, works great.

  2. Jocelyn Deprez

    Great article and great tips! Number 3, second sentence (about getting creative with leftovers) is what my new book is all about: “The Refrigerator Files: Creative Makeovers for Your Leftovers”. There are 30 chapters describing the many ways you can make a tasty new meal out of last night’s supper remains. You can find it at iUniverse, Amazon, or B&N. Meanwhile, I am so happy to read about other people who hate to waste such a precious commodity as food!

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