April Blog- Earth Day: Preventing Food Waste!

How YOU can help the planet and ultimately your wallet, by preventing food waste in your own home.

Last April’s Earth Day post (found here) we discussed some tips on how to reduce food waste in your house. This year, we’re diving even more into hands-on ways to reduce food waste.

Store food properly.

  • Store cut carrots and celery in water, so they don’t dry out. Celery sticks can keep for up to 2 weeks when stored this way, and carrot sticks can last up to 1 month.
  • Look at what you have at home before buying more perishable food items. Don’t forget to check your produce drawer; sometimes we forget about foods that are out of sight!
  • Wrap leafy greens in a damp tea towel to make them last up to 10 days. 

Use the scraps.

  • Keep the peel on fruits and vegetables when possible. The peels add more fiber to your meal and help you reduce food waste.
  • Freeze leftover meat and poultry bones to make stocks. Additionally, save clean onion and garlic skins, carrot peels, celery ends, mushroom stalks, and herb scraps in a freezer-safe bag until you’ve collected enough to make a homemade stock. 
  • Zest citrus peels to add extra flavor to items without adding extra moisture. Also, you can turn citrus peels into candies or dry and crush them into a powder to add extra flavors to dressings, marinades, and baked goods in place of fresh zest.
  • For more ideas on using more parts of your fruits and vegetables, check out our blog post from last April.

Give new life to old food. 

  • Bread:
    • Cut up stale bread into croutons or pulverize in a food processor to turn into breadcrumbs.
    • Turn stale bread into bread soup or salad. To continue our National Nutrition Month theme “Celebrate a World of Flavors”, we recommend 2 stale-bread recipes that come from Tuscany in Italy and are great spring and summer food options. Pappa al pomodoro is a simple but filling tomato and bread soup. Panzanella is a tasty tomato and bread salad with red onions and mozzarella cheese. 
    • Click HERE! for a printable PDF 4 Fresh Ways to Use Stale Bread.
  • Fruits and vegetables:
    • Sauté older vegetables and add to a rice or pasta dish. 
    • Freeze your very ripe produce and blend with peanut butter or yogurt and milk to make a smoothie. Click HERE to watch a video on how to make your own! 
    • Squeeze fresh lemon juice into ice trays and store in the freezer until you need it. 
    • Break up fresh herbs or mince garlic and add to an ice tray and cover with oil to freeze so you have easy access to a meal starter or flavoring.
    • Mash or shred very ripe produce, like banana or zucchini, and bake into a sweet quick bread.
    • Click HERE!  for a printable PDF 3 Ways to Use Your (Very) Ripe Produce.
  • Dairy:
    • Freeze milk or cheese that is getting close to its expiration date.
    • Heat up butter, milk and some flour to make a white sauce. Serve over pasta and sauteed vegetables.
  • Proteins:
    • Freeze meat and poultry if you can’t cook them in time. Remember to safely prepare frozen protein products when ready to use (thaw in the refrigerator, not on the countertop)

Check out our video that shows you how to make QUICK SWEET BREAD! 

There are so many ways to creatively reduce food waste in your own home. We hope some of the ideas from this blog inspire you to take action this month. Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with the food bank. Be sure to tag us on social media if you try some of our food waste ideas, or share some of your own ideas with us!