Last Sunday was Earth Day. We all know eating healthy is important. As we adopt healthier habits, it is also important that we become more conscious about food waste. Did you know that between 2007 and 2014, Americans tossed nearly 150,000 tons of food? This translates to approximately one pound of food per person!
A recent study identified fruits and vegetables as being wasted the most (39%). This was followed by dairy (17%) and meat and mixed meat dishes (14%).
Wasted food also means wasted resources. To produce food that ends up being thrown away, 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water, 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer, and 780 million pounds of pesticides are wasted as well.
This Earth Day, you can be part of the solution! Here are some easy tips to help reduce your current household food waste:
Understanding “Expiration” Labels:
90% of us throw away food too soon. Understanding what the different expiration labels mean can help reduce your household food waste.
“Best if used by/before” dates let you know how long a product will remain at its absolute best. While taste may decline after this date, the item is still edible. This particular label is not a safety date.
“Sell-by” dates let stores know how long to display products for. This is also not a safety date.
“Use-by” dates are the last dates recommended for the use of a product at peak quality. This label only serves as a safety date with regards to infant formulas.
Keeping Food Fresher, Longer:
Herbs: keep herbs like cut flowers—with their stems in a glass of water.
Avocados: place ripe avocadoes in the fridge.
Flour: keep flour fresher twice as long by freezing it.
Cheese: wrap leftover cheese in wax paper instead of plastic wrap.
Wilted: soak food in ice water for 5-10 minutes.
Stale: toast stale chips, crackers or bread for 1-2 minutes.
Salty: add vinegar, lemon juice, or brown sugar.
Burned: place unblackened portion into a new pot and cover with a damp cloth for 10 minutes.
Overcooked: puree and turn into a sauce or soup.
Cooking with Food Scraps or Foods Past their Prime: