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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

We are over 10,000!! Here's a post on not wasting food!!

Stop Wasting Food; See below from Twitter http://deals.ebay.com/blog/stop-of-throwing-out-delicious-food-our-7-top-tips-to-keep-food-waste-to-a-minimum/ Tip #1: Learn Methods for properly storing and using food. There are several ways in which you can store and use your perishable items in a way that will minimize waste. These methods can be used separately, or you can employ several of these in conjunction with each other to truly minimize food waste. • Employ the FIFO method, which means “first in, first out.” This method enables you to make sure that the item you are using first is the oldest, making the risk of something spoiling reduced because you are using the items in order of which they were purchased. • Vacuum-seal food as soon as it’s purchased. This enables you to save extra portions immediately and place them in the freezer. Be sure to label everything—state what the item is and when it was packaged on the tag. You could just freeze your food in regular bags, but removing the air from the bag with a vacuum-sealed helps to reduce or remove freezer damage to foods yielding a better end result. • Use ‘green’ storage containers and bags. These are special bags, like Green Bags, designed to keep foods that are refrigerated fresher for a longer period of time. These should keep your produce edible for much longer than a normal storage bag. • Start preserving, canning, and pickling. Canning and pickling preserves produce in liquid for use in future months, which makes it great for seasonal items you can’t buy throughout the year. Creating preserves, jams, and jellies keeps berries and stone fruits from going to waste, allowing you to enjoy them beyond peak season in breakfasts and desserts months longer than the whole fruit would have lasted. • Dry fruits and vegetables. You can get an inexpensive food dehydrator and create dried fruits and vegetables. Once dried, your produce will last exponentially longer! You can use your dried delights as snacks, or you can use them in soups, salads, sauces, rice dishes, and much more. Tip #2: Buy only versatile pantry staples in bulk. Buying in bulk almost always gets you a better price, but if you buy the wrong things in bulk, it’s a bad value. Celery and tomatoes in bulk are probably a bad idea, but buying in bulk makes sense for a lot of foods, but you need to make sure these foods have a long enough shelf life so you truly have the opportunity to use them again and again. Oils, vinegars, spices, rice, pasta and canned foods are more obvious examples of pantry staples that can be bought in bigger quantities because they last a long time. Dried fruits, nuts, assorted legumes, and other dried foods also have a longer shelf life. Some fresh produce like onions, some hot peppers, and potatoes will last longer and are used often—you can stock up on these because they can stay good for up to a month. Tip #3: Shop for less more often when it comes to fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat. When purchasing perishable products, buy things to keep you covered for up to the next five days or less. This will lead you to buy less, and while these smaller quantities may cost more per unit, most people end up saving a substantial amount with this strategy because of the lack of regular food waste. Your eggs, milk, meat, and produce will be more likely to be consumed before becoming spoiled or stale. If you have room in your freezer, you may want to still buy some of these items in bulk, but you need to freeze items immediately so they don’t even have the chance to go bad. This might not work for milk and certain items, but most meats and produce will freeze and thaw well. Tip #4: Plan ahead. Create a menu calendar. Plot all of your family’s meals out for up to five days in advance. As you decide what to prepare, take a look in your refrigerator and cupboards—utilize items you already have first to be sure they don’t go bad. Then plan to make dishes with like ingredients so you can limit the kinds of fresh foods you buy, to limit the potential for waste. As you plan, try to utilize any leftovers. For instance, if you make a whole chicken, you could plan on making chicken soup within the next few days, which would allow you to use more of the bird, waste less, and really stretch you dollar. If you make a ham, plan on having ham sandwiches for lunch for the rest of the week! Tip #5: Practice portion control. Usually when folks think of portion control, they think of it as a dieting strategy. Sure, portion control can help your waistline, but it can also be nice to your wallet and can reduce food waste. Start preparing meals according to recommended portions, scaling the recipe to the amount of people in your household. This will let you buy less food, which means there is less opportunity for food waste. When shopping, you may find packages of meat and produce that are larger than you need. Check to see if the grocery store can split up the package. While not all stores offer this sort of service, some will gladly do this for you; shop at stores that do. Tip #6: Think of frozen as the new fresh. Many foods are frozen at their peak, so the freezer section is your friend when it comes to longevity. Buying highly perishable food items, like seafood and seasonal fruits and vegetables, frozen instead of fresh means you can keep them on hand with far less risk of spoilage. This option is deal for people with schedules that make meal planning and buying fresh foods every two to five days difficult. Frozen food often offers a bonus—they usually are already portioned. This helps greatly when it comes to reducing waste through meal planning and portion control, which were two of our previous tips. Tip #7: Experiment with new recipes. As you create your menu calendar, you may be making the same things over and over again because they are what you know. You are using up your pantry staples and hopefully reusing leftover ingredients from other meals, but sometimes you are left with a half container of sour cream, a cup of cut veggies, or other ingredients that you just don’t quite know what to do with. As you plan your meals, keep a look out for these stray extra ingredients and seek out new recipes that use them. Using the internet, you can search specifically for recipes that will use the rest of the beef broth or the last of your carrots and celery. What are the takeaways on controlling waste and eating deliciously? When you put all these tips together, the keys to controlling waste in the kitchen and on your grocery bill are proper storage, planning, and efficiency. Following one or two of these tips can help to reduce waste, and in turn costs, but when you put them all together, you can have lots of tasty eats with little to no waste. If some of this is new to you, don’t worry—you can do it! We’ve included links to three recipes to help get you started. This trio includes some shared ingredients, utilizes pantry strapless, can be pared down to help with portion control, and is otherwise in line with most of our top tips for keeping food waste to a minimum. Side salad: Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Apple Full recipe at: http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/quinoa-salad-sweet-potatoes-apples-recipe-fw1112 Check out these ingredients! You will have to buy the greens shortly before making this one, but the apples and sweet potatoes have a fairly long shelf life. It does include quinoa, olive oil, and other pantry staples you probably already keep on hand. Hearty side dish: Roasted Butternut Boats Stuffed with Sausage, Toasted Pasta, and Rice Full recipe at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/roasted-butternut-boats-stuffed-with-sausage-toasted-pasta-and-rice-recipe/index.html Again, we have a list of ingredients that’s full of pantry staples. It also includes onions and butternut squash—you can buy these fresh and keep them for several weeks to a month before you should expect them to go bad. Dessert: Peanut Butter Honey Brownies Full recipe at: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Peanut-Butter-Honey-Brownies These ingredients aren’t healthy, but if you are worried about eating healthy, skip the dessert altogether–that’s usually better for your budget too! For the rest of you, notice that this uses very few ingredients, and mainly utilizes long-life kitchen staples like honey, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.

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