5 Ways to Waste Less in the Kitchen

This post is mainly to get my own butt in gear regarding food waste, but I think many of you could benefit from it as well!  Or at least input some valuable tips for those of us that need some help! 🙂

These days it’s essential to save money on groceries, so here are five tips to make the most of your food and minimize food waste.

Use what you buy

A very obvious tip, but I too often find produce or other time sensitive ingredients sitting in my fridge on their very last legs.  There are some days at the grocery store when I purchase something because it looks good and is on sale.  Yes, a spur of the moment purchase, thinking that I can transform it into some tasty meal or snack during the week.   The key here, with these purchases, is that I actually have to use the ingredient!   So if I don’t have a particular purpose in mind when I buy it, I quite often find it sitting in the fridge rotting away. One way I’d like to help myself with this is to do something with the item right away.  Maybe it’s a giant bag of carrots that I could cut up into sticks for easy snacking throughout the weeks!

Learn to use the ingredients you have

An important factor in my success with using these spur of the moment purchases is learning how to use them.  Especially if they’re a bit more unique.  I recently used a coupon for a free tub of Greek yogurt with the intention of using it in some muffins.  But, never having used, or tasted it before, I was unsure if it would be a good replacement for regular plain yogurt.  I asked the wonderful people at our Simply Frugal Facebook page how I’d make out if I used it.  They convinced me it would be wonderful and even healthier for us!  That day, I learned some great tips about a product that was unfamiliar to me.

There are many websites out there that allow you to input an ingredient you have on hand, then generate a meal based on your input!  Check out SuperCook.com, Foodily.com, All Recipes ingredient search, and Kraft Canada.

Make the most of older food

If some of your produce is starting to show its age, don’t throw it out, simply salvage what you can!  This is probably the area I fall the hardest.  I have intentions of turning that soft apple into apple sauce, but making it happen is another story.  I get lazy 🙁

Here are some suggestions to make the most of older food:

  • Cut around the bad parts
  • Turn stale bread into croutons or breadcrumbs
  • Make apple sauce out of soft apples
  • Puree tomatoes into sauce or salsa
  • Brown bananas are the best for smoothies or baking
  • Old vegetables can be used in soups or stews
  • One bad potato in the bag? Weed out the rotten produce so you don’t contaminate the rest of the lot!

Know what you have

Knowing exactly what you have on hand can save you tons in the grocery budget.  Regularly go through the contents of your fridge and freezer so that nothing slips by unnoticed.  Store things in clear containers so you can see the exact contents at a glance.  Label your freezer food well.  Learning to store your produce properly will also ensure nothing goes to waste before you have a chance to use it!

Use the freezer

By now you might have noticed that I’m a big fan of using our freezer.  Here are my favourite ways to fill it up with extra food:

  • Freeze any dinner leftovers to make for a super simple meal on a rushed night
  • Put all the end bits of vegetables in a freezer bag to make broth once the bag is full
  • Take advantage of local, seasonal fruit and stock up, but freeze the majority of it for a taste of summer all year long.  Here’s how I freeze peaches if you’re interested!
  • Put any extra wine, broth, tomato paste, lemon/lime juice into ice cube trays to add to meals at a later date.
  • Freeze extra rice to turn into fried rice

What are your tips to make the most of your groceries and leftover food?

 

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