Reducing Food WasteA National Resources Defense Council report finds that roughly 40 percent of all edible food produced in America is not eaten. Based on food and beverages thrown away, up to $2,275 is wasted each year by a typical family of four in this country.
Fresh food is most commonly thrown away. The average American wastes about 20 percent of vegetables and 15 percent of the fruits inside and outside of the home. More food is being thrown away than in previous years.
Here are some steps in prevent excess produce waste.
· Buy only enough food that can be consumed in a reasonable time period. Some produce has a short life span like apricots, strawberries, herbs, corn, cucumbers, green beans, leafy greens and mushrooms within a couple days of purchase. Produce with a longer shelf life include apples, blueberries, grapes, pears, cabbage, carrots without green tops, celery, garlic, onions, potatoes and winter squash.
· Store produce like berries and leafy greens in a clean refrigerator set at 40 degrees in a clean refrigerator. Produce that is sold refrigerated at the grocery store, it should be refrigerated at home to maintain quality.
· Have a plan of how to prepare produced. Only prepare what you need. Consider how to store and re-use leftovers.
· If unable to enjoy all fresh produce you have on hand, make your own frozen food. Cut up fruits and vegetables can be placed in air-tight containers and freeze. Blanching is a must for almost all vegetables for freezing.
· Excess fruit and vegetables can be made into smoothies. Unsweetened fruit can be frozen and made into jam or jelly at a later point in time. Make a fresh fruit and vegetable salsa. Roast vegetables.