Did you know that up to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply ends up as food waste? With some thoughtful planning, reducing food waste can be easy.
As you cook, you’ll find there are certain things you can’t use along the way—eggshells, a squash stem, onion skins—and that’s OK. But you’ll probably discover you’ve been discarding a lot more than necessary. Broccoli stalks, celery leaves, beet greens and cilantro stems are just a few examples. Get creative with them; you might just make something delicious.
Love your leftovers.
Today’s dinner isn’t tomorrow’s lackluster lunch. Reinvent your leftovers. Turn last night’s roasted veggies into a simmering bowl of soup. Craft a tasty salad with yesterday’s pan-fried fish. Make a sandwich from that extra eggplant. The options are endless.
Befriend your freezer.
Cook freezer-friendly foods ahead of time and put them on ice so they won’t go bad. If you’ve got fresh herbs that are starting to wilt, drop them in an ice tray with olive oil—they’ll freeze into the perfect cubes to use later on. You can even juice fruits and veggies that are on their last leg, freeze them and break them out for a summer smoothie.
If you have the time, plan your meals for the week before heading to the grocery store. It’ll keep you from buying random ingredients you won’t end up using. Once you’re home, a good rule of thumb is to start with the most perishable item in the fridge. The rest can wait.
Save your scraps.
Well, some of them at least. Did you know that you can regrow some foods right in your kitchen? Green onions, leeks, potatoes and lettuce are just a few examples! Cook what you can, regrow the rest and compost anything that’s left behind.
- Farm-to-table consultant and writer Kate Weiner gave waste-free cooking, or what she calls closed-loop cooking, a try. Here she chronicles her journey and offers advice on how you can do it too.
- Check out Food52’s 24 ways to cook with scraps.
- With the FoodKeeper app, you can search a database to discover the best way to store a variety of foods in order to maintain freshness and quality.
- Mobile apps like Paprika can make meal planning easier by storing recipes and creating grocery lists.
- The Love Food Hate Waste app, available on iOS and Android, helps you keep track of your groceries and offers helpful recipes based on the leftover food in your kitchen.
- Check out the Kitchn’s roundup of the top five kitchen scraps you can regrow!