(Closed) Food Wasters Anonymous

posted 5 years ago in Cooking
Post # 3
Member
5093 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2012

@mandypop:  We have this same problem.  We’ve managed to cut down on the amount of food wasted, though, by only buying enough (perishable) food for a few days at a time.

Post # 4
Member
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Plan those two or three meals to use the same ingredients.

need sour cream and chicken for quesadillas?

Great, then the next meal can be chicken paprikash over rice.

Then the next night turn the rice into fried rice and do a stirfy and use frozen veggies so you dont have leftovers.

I would also keep a white board on the front of the fridge with what is in there and cross it off when you finish it (IE leftovers, take out)

And if you cant finish it, then put it in the freezer or make something so that you can just reheat and eat another week. And then keep a list of foods in the freezer.  Be sure to also label the foods you freeze for easy location.

Post # 5
Member
9057 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

Ugh… posting to follow along if anybody has any brilliant ideas for avoiding the wasting.  it’s so hard to figure out the appropriate amount of food to buy/cook for just two people, plus DH and I both do shift work, so it’s like… I’ll make dinner for me, and enough for him to eat when he gets home, and then find out he ate “lunch” at work.  

I try my best to portion out things, and freeze what I can right away, but yeah, things like sour cream and other things that recipes just need a tablespoon of or things like herbs (hello recipes that call for 1tbsp of cillantro last week).  I made a mexican cheese ball, and then a cilantro/turkey stuffed pepper, and then meant to do that thing from pinterest where you freeze some of the herbs in olive oil.. but really.. does cilantro even really go with olive oil?  Not really…

 

 

Post # 6
Member
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

We try to rely more on frozen vegetables and we freeze all of our meat. It’s definitely really hard tho and we still throw a lot of food away, =(.

Post # 7
Member
7175 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I was going through the same thing (and it driving me batty!) – I started limiting myself to buying for 1-2 meals at time – and then slowing moving to 2-3.  I basically cut  down again when I notice I’m throwing food out.

What do you do for lunch?  I don’t mind eating the same thing for days on end – so I’ll usually always take whatever leftovers we have from dinner for lunch.  That really helps!  The other thing is we limit how many times we eat out – mostly for a health/what’s in my food perspective – but it also forces us to use the food we’ve bought for ‘x’ meal.

I hate HATE going to the grocery store a lot – but I hate throwing out food more… so, guess which one I tend to do more often?  Yep – me & the grocery store are BFF’s.

ETA:  If I have a random container of something (ie: sour cream), I’ll try to incorporate it into whatever meal(s) I’m making… or I don’t buy it, because I know I’m not going to use it all.

Post # 8
Member
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

We struggle with this too…one thing that helps us with using up leftovers is to designate a specific place in the fridge. For example, on the second shelf on the left. That way, we see them every time we open the fridge.

Otherwise, if it’s ingredients (tomato paste, sour cream, etc)…I try to keep a list on the door so I remember to plan recipes around those things that week. 

Post # 9
Member
849 posts
Busy bee

Ugh, me too unfortunately.  With groceries getting so expensive, it is a ridiculous waste of money! And then I feel bad for all the people in this world who don’t have enough food and I’m throwing too much out.

One thing that has helped me is that I process all the produce right when I get home from shopping – I wash the fruits and veggies and put them into special produce containers which extend their life. Putting a white paper towel in with them helps also. If my veggies are washed and ready to be used, I tend to eat them more. One of my friends has a vacuum sealer machine and swears by it, I haven’t done it yet because I am so sick of more small appliances (where to put them?)but she says it saves them a bunch of money. I wish I had the energy and organization to use coupons And plan out my menu for the week but it isn’t happening. I was reading another post on how frugal some Bees are and someone provided a link to an article about a woman whose family lives on $14k a year. Impressive, but not for me. I’m proud of husband and I when we go out to eat less than 4 times in a week, how sad. Anyway, best wishes!  

Post # 10
Member
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Herbs you can chop and freeze. I do this all the time. 

Post # 12
Member
6249 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 1900

I try to keep food groups in the same place each week.  Like keeping the leftovers together on the bottom shelf;  keeping the veggies on the left side of the middle shelf, etc.  That way I can estimate about how much I have left to work with throughout the week.

Plus I rotate my foods.  If we have leftovers from two nights ago and I’m adding more leftovers from tonight’s dinner, I put the newest leftovers behind the older ones.

It’s not a perfect system and sometimes food does still go to waste but it’s a little easier to remember what foods I have to work with.

Post # 13
Member
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

One of the best things you can do to avoid food waste is make opening the fridge part of your morning routine.  Literally- brush your teeth, put on clothes, go to the fridge.  If there are leftovers take them out and take with you for lunch and dinner on a busy day.  If you have something that is going bad soon (like sour cream) make a note to use it in dinner that night.  

Second sharpies are your friend!  Label everything you open.  That can of sour cream- put the date on it when you open it.  When you look in the fridge, you can easily see how long its been in there instead of playing the “what day did we eat tacos…monday…no last friday….maybe….nevermind… i’ll figure it out later” game.  For produce note the day you bought it.  

If you get in the habit of checking every morning, that bag of broccoli you threw out, you would notice before it went bad, and could toss it in the freezer instead.  The sour cream or milk- you notice a few days before they spoil and toss them in a cake or cookie or something etc.

Dating EVERYTHING is how restaurants keep waste to a minimum and really does work at home too- you just have to get in the habit.  

Post # 14
Member
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Plan your meals, even if it’s just two a week, using the same ingredients. So, you could for example do stroganoff one night, and tacos the next night that week, using the sour cream up. Also, shop in really small amounts if it’s not terribly inconvenient. We waste so much less food when we go to the small fruit and veggie shop rather than the big grocery store, because we’re buying for about two or three meals.

The only thing I still have a big problem with wasting is flipping cilantro. I would honest to God pay the same price that I pay now for a third of the cilantro they put in a bunch. It’s so frustrating, and it’s also like the grossest thing when it goes bad.

Post # 15
Member
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Learn to freeze extra food. RIGHT AWAY.

COMPOST! I have had yards the size of postage stamps and have always managed to compost!

Post # 16
Member
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I make a weekly menu and incorporate leftovers into my lunches and snacks.  My fiance is awful about eating leftovers but if I package it up so that it’s easy for him to just toss in the microwave and eat, and if I remind him about a zillion times, he will help out.  We also have leftover bonanzas–we had one today in fact!  I use the menu to go grocery shopping.  Anything not eaten by the end of the week is incorporated into next week or will keep for lunches for another week and will be taken into account.  I cut recipes in half a lot because it’s just us and we don’t need or want leftovers of something.  I never ever ever ever eat out for lunch.  It’s expensive, usually unhealthy and if I’ve got food at home, there is no purpose in buying expensive, unhealthy food when I can bring healthy, delicious, already paid for food.  I go to college full time and the food available on campus is mostly fast food and is all processed.  Blech.

I cook all meals for the week on Sunday.  It sounds so cliche but it’s so freaking easy once you get in the habit.  I try to prep everything and cook it all at once and it usually only takes about 2 hours of my actual time (+ time in oven when I am doing other things).  Last Sunday it took me maybe an hour and a half of prep and/or make a pie, hummus, enchiladas, glut sauce, ground turkey cooked in the glut sauce, pickled jalapenos and breakfast tacos. 

I also eliminate a lot of excess stuff from recipes–if I need just a few sprigs of parsley for soup or a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt that I won’t normally eat, I’ll just not put it in there and save myself the money and waste or I won’t cook the dish until I figure out how to use the rest of whatever it is.  cookstr and allrecipies are great ways to find a way to use something up.  I tend to cook things that are flexible and I can just put whatever I want in it.  Like the enchiladas I made–I had extra black beans from breakfast tacos and extra mushrooms from the glut sauce so I just tossed them into the sauce.  I also made the enchilada like lasagna–instead of spending a million years rolling them I just layered the tortillas in a casserole dish.  Sometimes I cook chicken breasts in tinfoil packets with some olive oil and whatever else I have laying around.

If I miscalculate and overbuy, I have strategies.  Veggies are prepped and frozen.  When I use canned beans, I put the bean juice in there too.  When I have 2 big tupperwares full, I toss them in a pot of chicken stock and cook them into soup.  I tend to food process it because I like the texture better.  Then we can eat it with lentils, cook chicken in it, just eat it–whatever I want.  It’s different every time and it’s awesome.  

Fruit depends on how much I have–when it gets to the point where it’s either eat it right now or it will go bad, I have to deal with it.  If it’s a lot, then I cut it up and mix it with some honey and put it in a pie crust.  I just get the frozen pack of 2 at HEB and use the bottom crust as the top.  I can put that in the oven when I cook for the week.  If it’s not a lot, I freeze it and will use for other pies or smoothies.  It’s a relatively healthy dessert and it uses up food that would otherwise be wasted.

Unless it’s a cooking day, all meat goes into the freezer–it lasts for much longer and the quality of it is not compromised.  Meat is too expensive to forget about and waste–also it’s horrifying and disgusting.  Always and forever.  I have to thaw it out before I eat it but I won’t buy new meat until the old meat is gone.  To be honest, we don’t eat much meat anyway–it’s expensive and you don’t really need to eat meat more than 2-3 times a week.  Plus I hate taking meat to school because I am afraid of it spoiling.

It sounds like a lot of work and time but really most of it is just forethought and habit.  I try not to let things sit in my fridge–I put newer leftovers behind the older leftovers so that I will grab those first.  I compost all the scraps and edges and anything that I can’t save in time for souping.

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