Hello best life seekers!
Are you tired of your fruits and veggies going bad before you use them? Maybe you’re sick of wasting all that money too! Did you know that we waste about 40% of our food – including food tossed by households, restaurants, and stores? That’s not just a continent of food but think about all the now wasted energy and resources that went into wasted food. By some measures, those wasted resources – think methane, forests lost to farmland, and transportation – is the third largest contributor to green house gasses! Yikes.
Here are better ways to preserve your produce for longer life and nutrition.
# 1 – Pre-chop It
Sometimes food suffers from neglect. How often have you bought food with the good intention of using it but then forgot to? By the time you realize it, that garlic or onion has sprouted or the peppers have wilted or molded.
Is it neglect or laziness? I’ve noticed one of the main reason I waste food is by sheer laziness. When making a dish, sometimes I don’t want to peel and chop the garlic or onion in addition to the other ingredients. I want something fast and simple. So I skip the additions and that food sits on the shelf and ages, despite being a perfect addition to the meal.
If this is you, I have a suggestion:
Chop up your produce ahead of time.
This saves me from wasting a lot of food. Honeydew melon used to sit in my fridge unloved until I started cutting it all at once and placing it in a bowl on prominent display in the fridge. Then I’d happily eat it for breakfast or a snack all week. No spoilage.
Similarly, when I dice an entire onion or bell pepper or peel an entire bulb of garlic, I wind up using them in dishes throughout the week and spoil less food since the ingredients are right there and ready to go. I grab them and eat healthier.
And am a superstar for not wasting the food or resources that went into making it. See if pre-chopping or prepping works for you.
#2 – Freeze It
You would be surprised by how well some produce freezes. Peeled garlic cloves or bananas and diced or sliced up vegggies like onions, carrots, and peppers are perfect to freeze. Chunked mango or even apple slices can go in the freezer. I tend to put the food into sandwich bags for easy storage and portioning.
Berries make excellent freezer food. These little guys pack a lot of nutrients but spoil quickly. Keeping raspberries longer than two days often produces a moldy mess. If I haven’t eaten them in a day and especially if I buy them in bulk during a good sale, I toss them into sandwich bags by portion and put them in the freezer. Then they are ready for smoothies or baking. They are great additions to recipes or used as ice cubes to chill the liquid and add flavor.
If the frozen items are going to sit in the freezer for a while, you might want to upgrade from sandwich bags to proper freezer bags to keep down the eventual frost or freezer burn.
#3 – Buy Frozen Produce
Relatedly, buy frozen substitutes over the fresh that you can open and toss into dishes before returning to the fridge if you are constantly wasting some foods. Think about your worst offenders. Maybe there is a frozen version you can switch too. If spinach or broccoli is the bane of your cooking existence, buy them frozen. Same for okra, Brussels sprouts, peas or corn. Even bell peppers and butternut squash appear in the frozen aisle. See what your store offers.
Of course fresh is probably best but frozen produce will help you trim the food waste and stop your money from hemorrhaging so much.
#4 – Plan Ahead
One of the best ways to trim the waste and save your money is to have an idea of what you’re going to eat that week. This helps with both formulating shopping lists and sticking to them as well as reminding you about what will need eating quickest. If you shop with meals in mind you’ll get far more mileage out of your produce.
#5 – Don’t Shop Hungry
This is a behavioral habit often overlooked. I don’t know how many times I’ve shopped while hungry and had buyer’s remorse. And a fridge full of ingredients that weren’t going to get used in time without ruining.
Don’t shop hungry or you will often throw more items into your basket than you need, can reasonably use or that your wallet will thank you for.
Keeping It Fresh
These are five easy tricks to get more time out of your produce:
- Pre-chop it
- Freeze it
- Buy frozen produce
- Plan ahead
- Don’t shop hungry
Implement these strategies to cut down on the food waste, the food bill and wasted resources used in producing our foods. Then pat yourself on the back for helping to save the world from climate change.
Like this article? Share it so that others can learn these secrets and start living their best lives now.