|World War I Era Poster, Committee of Public Safety,|
Department of Food Supply, South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA
EPA's Suggestions for Reducing Food Waste
- Shop your refrigerator first! It's always a good idea to know what you have and what you need to buy. You don't want to have extra produce because you forgot you had bananas in the fridge (It's happened to us a lot. At least we love eating them!)
- Make of list of things to buy and ONLY BUY THOSE THINGS. Sometimes it's so difficult to do this with those BOGO deals. Making a list is a great way to save money because you will know how much you will spend.
- Buy only what you realistically need and will use. This point depends on what you are buying. If you know you eat so much of a specific canned good every month, it could be cheaper and beneficial to buy them in bulk. But when you buy what you need, you should not get any spoiled food.
- Be creative! If safe and healthy, use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat. Their examples were stale bread for croutons and sauteed beet tops. My mom loves to make what she calls "mystery soup" or "casserole surprise". She will take whatever vegetables and meat we have in the fridge, and she throws it together to make a delicious soup or casserole. Last month she made a casserole with potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, celery, and cheese!
- Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables - especially abundant seasonal produce. Have too many peaches, apples, cherries or mangoes growing in your area? Can them! Just purchase some mason jars and air tight lids.
You could also make jams. Here's a website with instructions on how to make homemade jam. I read the apricot jam directions, and they even give you specific instructions on what materials you will need and exactly how to preserve the fruit.
- At restaurants, order only what you can finish. I usually share my meal with a friend or I split my food in half to take home.
- At all-you-can-eat buffets, take only what you can eat. I don't usually take home food when I go to a buffet, anyways.
You can also try your hand at gardening. It is fun for the whole family and a good way to teach children to enjoy eating their fruits and veggies! From what I've heard from parents with gardens, if the children grow the food they will most likely eat it. Plus, fresh fruits and vegetables have a more pleasing taste than some store-bought produce.
For any new gardeners out there, try making a compost pile or vermicomposting with your leftover fruit and vegetable scraps. In Hillsborough County (where I live, in Florida), you can take a free composting class and receive a free compost bin and thermometer, as well as a free rain barrels for rainwater harvesting if you take the Rainwater Harvesting Workshop. Check in your county to see if they offer these free classes as well.
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