It occurred to me that I do one thing to avoid food waste you may not? I set up specific locations for foods I should use first. This works best if the contents are reviewed regularly. This also limits the size of the area I have to look in for old, dead food when I’m doing a clean out.
- I have a “left over” shelf in the fridge. All the leftovers, hopefully labelled, go there. When we’re looking for lunch or fast meals, we check to see what we’ve got? This doesn’t mean we never toss food, just that we toss a lot less than when the container of soup was hiding behind the other food, because it had been put wherever there was room in the fridge. It also makes cleaning the fridge much easier. All the old, cooked food is in one place.
- When I process in the produce from the farm, it goes on one shelf, the one below the cheese drawer. Before I put anything new on that shelf, all the produce on it is moved down one shelf. Why? I dry the older stuff and try and use the freshest stuff, while it’s fresh.
- When I use part of a carrot, an onion, celery, etc. The remaining pieces go into one large zip lock bag at the front of the “older produce” shelf. When I need 1 stalk of celery, a little onion, or ? I reach for it. There were parts of 2 bell peppers there this morning, so I decided I’d add bell pepper to my dinner soup, for example.
- I have a small basket in a cabinet, this holds the onion, potato, shallot, and garlic head which should be used before I go looking for others. Same idea as the bag above, but this is for produce which isn’t refrigerated.
- I have a box with small jars in it at the back of my cutting board. This is the absolute last bits of beans, dried peas, herbs, or grains. Like the basket and bag in the fridge, the idea is to use these before I go to larger containers of shelf-stable pantry items.
I’ve trained myself to go to these “use this first” locations before I dig into the pantry, root cellar box, or into the freshest produce. It works.
Does this mean we don’t toss food? No. It just means that we toss much less than we used to.
btw: when I went looking for more content to add to this post? I did a google search on “avoiding food waste” and got 410,000,000+ hits. And here I am, making one more!