Learn how to store food
Incorrectly storing food results in a huge amount of food waste. The Natural Resource Defence Council asserts that two-thirds of household waste in the UK. is down to spoiled food. Many people don’t know how to store fruits and vegetables, which can result in premature ripening, and, in turn, rotten produce. There are certain foods, such as cucumbers, garlic, tomatoes, and potatoes, that shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator. These food items should rather remain at room temperature. Another way to cut down on food spoilage is by separating foods that produce more ethylene gas from those foods that don’t. Ethylene leads to ripening and could result in spoilage. Ethylene-gas-producing foods include green onions, pears, peaches, cantaloupes, tomatoes, avocados, and bananas. These foods should be stored away separately from produce sensitive to ethylene like peppers, berries, leafy greens, apples, and potatoes to avoid premature spoilage.
Know about expiration dates
Two confusing terms found on food products are “expires on” and sell on”, both designed to inform consumers when these products will likely go bad. The issue is, however, certainly in the U.S., is that these terms aren’t regulated by the government. This task, in fact, is left in the hands of food producers. Most food products that have recently passed the expiration date remain okay to eat. The term “sell by” informs those who sell food when they should sell the food by, or the date by which they should remove it from their shelves. “Best by” is a recommended date when consumers should consume their products by. Neither term means that you shouldn’t eat the product after the displayed date.
While many such labels are ambiguous, the best one to adhere to is “use by”. It simply means that the product may not be at its optimum quality past that date. There’s a campaign underway attempting to clarify the labelling system when it comes to food expiration. Until that happens, use your own judgment as your guide as to when deciding on whether food products in your kitchen are safe to consume after the expiration date on the label.
Take your lunch to work
While eating out for lunch with your workmates or going to a brand new restaurant can be fun, it’s also expensive and can contribute to food waste. One way of reducing your carbon footprint while saving money is to take your lunch to work. If you often find yourself with leftovers in the kitchen after a home-cooked meal, pack them ready for a healthy and satisfying lunch the following day. If you’re short on time in the mornings, freeze your leftovers in containers and you’ll have hearty, premade lunches ready to pack.
There are a number of reasons why it’s great to cook at home and one is that you can modify recipes to your liking with new ingredients and flavours. Adding parts of foods not typically used is a great way to use scraps while experimenting with your cooking.