6 Tips to Reduce Food Waste in Your Home

6 Tips to Reduce Food Waste in Your Home

Stretch your dollar and your grocery store visits.

Food waste can (and should) be a thing of the past…wait, historically, food would have rarely gone to waste at all — it’s more of a modern problem. When food was primarily grown at home or closer to home, the intrinsic value wasn’t as lost as it is now. The connection to local, seasonally grown food was a process that was respected and inherent; it was integrated into everyday life. 

Alarming Stats About Wasted Food 

Before the food at the grocery store even makes it to your home, a significant portion has already been lost or wasted. Food loss happens to fruits and vegetables before they’ve even left the farm if they don’t meet the quality and cosmetic standards (aka, not aesthetically pleasing  enough to be sold). 

Stats Canada reports an estimated 13% of fruits and veggies grown in Canada go unharvested or are discarded after harvesting. There are several contributing factors including fluctuations in  seasonal demands, economic considerations, and insufficient manpower or infrastructure. This is just at the production level (the farm) by the time our food has been produced, packaged, transported, and sold at retail, there’s likely been a little (or a lot) of waste. Sadly, another 12% of avoidable food loss and waste occurs at the retail level. 

How Can We Avoid Throwing Away Food?

Let’s say you have a bag of apples from the store which were grown in B.C. They were deemed fit for sale, they were packaged and then made the trip by transport truck to your local store, where you happily purchased them to enjoy. But, life got busy and you neglected those apples sitting in the fruit bowl. Now, they’re soft and sad and not good for much. Are they going to be a part of another alarming stat? Organic and kitchen waste makes up nearly a third of household waste in Canada. Most of this waste is avoidable and preventable but research shows many consumers are unaware of the avoidable food waste they generate.

Instead of tossing those older apples, you could: bake with them, cook them for applesauce, add to a simmer pot, or at the very least, compost them!

It can be surprisingly simple to intercept foods from becoming part of the landfill - there’s so many steps that can be taken in between, but, for now, let’s focus on what we the consumer can control in our homes.

Here’s some simple ways to find use for items in your fridge to stretch your dollar and ensure you’re getting the most from the foods you purchase

1. Simmer pot - Combine some fruit & herb scraps and spices in boiling water to create an all-natural air freshener for your home! There’s endless combinations — some of my faves include cinnamon, cloves, lemon peels, ginger and apple scraps. Want ideas? Find simple recipes here. Simmer pots are a great way to use what you have and can easily be adjusted based on what’s in season or what’s on your countertop!

2. Citrus for cleaning - Have an old, hardened lemon that’s not good for much? Use it to clean your wooden cutting board. Grab about ⅓ cup coarse salt and massage the salt with half the lemon. Rinse with water and dry well. Then, I like to use the rind to throw in a simmer pot on the stove or if you have several lemons to use up, add them to a mason jar and cover with vinegar. Let this solution sit for at least a week and you’ll have homemade cleaner!

3. Bone and Soup Broth - It is a cardinal rule that all bones we cook are frozen and saved for making bone broth and soup broth. We believe in using as much as the animal as possible and saving the bones is a great way to honor the life given by utilizing all the valuable nutrition stored in the marrow of the harvest animal. Combining bones, vegetables and herbs to make nourishing broth is an ancient practice that should have a place in all our modern homes.

4. Easy homemade croutons with leftover bread heels - Don’t throw out the heels of the bread that no one wants to eat! Chop them into bite-sized chunks and save in a bread bag in the freezer for croutons. When you have enough to bake, add some melted butter and seasonings and bake until crispy for an easy soup or salad topping.

5. Fresh berries going bad before you can eat? Two tips: make sure to wash the fresh berries by soaking in baking soda and water. Then, dry them well and add to a mason jar in the fridge. This will help extend their shelf life. Or, my favourite way to have berries, especially when they’re out of season, is to purchase bulk frozen berries and just defrost as needed. Costco has a good selection of organic frozen fruit.

6. Compost! (even through the winter months)- The last step in any kitchen to saving food scraps from the landfill is your compost bin! I keep a metal container on my counter and fill it with organic scraps to empty every few days into our compost pile — Even in the winter! The difference is, in the winter not much composting is actually happening but that's ok. In the spring I turn the pile and the process starts again. Not only are you saving scraps from landfill but producing priceless organic matter right in your own backyard. 

With each grocery store visit feeling like a bigger and bigger expense each time, it’s so important to find ways to make the most of the food we purchase and the dollars we spend. There are so many ways to reduce food waste in our homes and this list is just the tip of the iceberg. 

What are your favourite ways to prevent food from being tossed away unnecessarily? Connect with us on Instagram and comment on our post “6 Tips to Reduce Food Waste” We would love to hear from you and keep the conversation going!

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