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Stopping Food Waste in Your Home

As a food rescue organization, Food Finders, Inc. is always searching for tools and tips to help make people aware of the high costs of wasting food. Today we discovered a wonderful article on building a “Sustainable Pantry.” Like most things at home, it’s about organizing things so that they are accessible and easy to find, but with food, we must make sure that good food doesn’t go to waste because we forgot about it before going bad. We hate that!! Below are some very useful tools to start the new year off right: organize pantries, refrigerators and your counter space so that you do not waste food.

Organizing your fridge prevents food waste

Building a Sustainable Pantry

Like many of us, you may have found your routine changing with news of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, whether you’re working remotely or keeping more supplies around for a possible extended stay at home. In stressful times, we usually look to food as a source of comfort. That doesn’t have to change if you follow a few guidelines and do as best you can to plan ahead. (Experts agree that it’s always a good idea for everyone to have 2-4 weeks of food on hand if budgets and space permit.)

Here are some smart and easy-to-follow tricks we’ve found for stocking up responsibly without adding to your stress.

Here’s our handy printable checklist

Source: Misfits Markets

Take stock of what you’ve got
Before you shop, do a simple pantry check and inventory what you already have. Move items that have the most recent expiration dates to the front of your pantry. Just like the FIFO (first in, first out) method for the fridge, the same rules can apply for shelf-stable items. You’ll want to eat up nearly-expired food first and plan to restock.

Buy what you like
If you’re going to have more food on hand than usual, make it stuff that you and your household already eat. If that means an abundance of pasta or soup mix—great! Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s a good idea to have both favorite snacks and nutrient-rich crowd-pleasers on hand, so don’t be tempted by labels with years-long expiration dates if it’s not something you normally eat. If by chance you don’t end up having to rely on your pantry of food, unfamiliar foods will continue to go to waste and could be better used by others who like them.

Start with non-perishables
Anything that can live in your pantry for weeks and months at a time is good to have on hand. The following items have long shelf lives with extended expiration dates. As long as you have a few on hand, you can make any meal in a pinch without sacrificing taste or nutrition:

In our Marketplace, we currently sell a number of deeply-discounted pantry and shelf-stable items such as oatmeal, dried lentils, and canned tomatoes—and even more goodies to come!—so you can fill your pantry while getting the fresh Misfits Market produce that you love.

Move onto fresh fruits and veggies
Some produce can last for weeks or months without refrigeration as long as it’s kept in a cool, dark, and dry place. We call these cellar foods. Many are hardy and starchy, so they help you make large and filling meals that can last a few days when refrigerated. Store the following items in a pantry or basement cellar if you have one:

Other fruits and veggies do require refrigeration but can still keep for 1-3 weeks:

Store fruits and veggies in the fridge with FIFO in mind: Keep the ones you need to eat first in the front of the fridge and the produce with a longer shelf life in the back. Always prioritize eating the most perishable fruits and veggies first or you’ll continue to create more food waste. Before eating produce that’s been in the fridge for a while, check for dark spots, mold, and mushy areas. You may be able to cut away bruised spots with no issues, but always smell the produce first—if it seems off, toss it.

Consider pickling
You can save time, money, and even save your Misfits Market produce from going to waste by pickling. Onions, cabbage, and even cherry tomatoes can be pickled and used for weeks if access to fresh produce is touch and go. 

Freeze everything else
Frozen foods you can quickly heat will always be a staple in any emergency, but you don’t need to rely solely on pre-made meals and packaged veggies. If you can spare the time, take a day or weekend to cook meals in batches, starting with your favorite meals and foods like chicken, roasted veggies, smoothie packs, meatloaf, and lasagna. Many of these meals can last 3-6 months in the freezer so you’ll have easy weeknight meals or blended drinks at the ready if you’re in a situation where you can’t make it to the store or if you’re in-between Misfits Market deliveries.

What’s more, bread, butter, and even eggs can be frozen. If you can’t fit everything you’ve bought in the fridge, take perishable items you always use and toss them in the freezer to use in a pinch. Just use them within a week after thawing.

Then, you’re ready to eat
In the event you’re holed up at home for any reason in the future, you can easily combine your shelf stable items with fresh produce as long as they’ve been stored and frozen properly. Pair fresh Misfits Market fruits and veggies with pantry items and you can still eat fresh, delicious, and nutritious meals like grain bowls, smoothies, tacos, one-pot pastas, soups, chilis, fried rice, and even ramen. Canned tomatoes can be paired with just about any fresh veg. Toss canned beans into salads and on top of baked potatoes. Add steamed fresh veggies and a hard boiled to instant ramen for a filling, nearly no-cook meal.

Save everything
Following the sage advice of Atlantic staff writer Amanda Mull, don’t toss anything that could be repurposed for another meal or to flavor multiple dishes.

Got a tip for saving food indefinitely or a question about the best way to stock your pantry? Let us know in a comment below!

#foodwaste #foodfindersin #sustainable pantry #misfitsmarket #foodstorage

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