Makeover Your Leftovers
About 90 billion pounds of edible food goes uneaten each year in the United States, an amount equal to 123 times the weight of the Empire State Building. This costs consumers $370 per person each year:
• Grains: $22
• Fruits: $45
• Protein foods: $140
• Vegetables: $66
• Dairy: $60
• Added fat and sugar: $37
Reduce wasted food in your home with simple shopping, storage and cooking. Also, you can give food to organizations which accept food donations to feed others. “Recycling” food into different recipes or composting food are other options. Food tossed is money lost. One way to add new life to still edible foods is to re-purpose leftovers and reuse them in new ways and new recipes. Here are a few simple tips.
Freeze extra lemon or lime juice in ice cube trays. Transfer to freezer bags. Pop into water for
flavored water. NOTE: It’s easier to remove frozen food from silicon ice cube trays and muffin pans than plastic trays or metal pans as they are more flexible.
Use leftover meat in flavorful foods such as barbecued meat dishes, chili and tacos to mask the flavor of “warmed over meat.” Plus, the sauce helps prevent further flavor changes in the meat.
Freeze extra bell peppers in shapes needed for recipes. Freeze for a few hours on a baking sheet with sides until hard; Transfer to a freezer bag and lay flat.
Use up extra odds of cheese by shredding them with a grater or in a food processor. Mix in your choice of ingredients, cut or chopped into small pieces (olives, pickles, pimientos, chives, walnuts, peppers, etc.). Add enough mayonnaise (regular or low-fat) to bind the ingredients together. Spread on your favorite bread.
Test baking powder of a questionable age for freshness to prevent tossing a ruined recipe because it doesn’t rise. Mix 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. If it foams vigorously, it still has rising power. To test baking soda by placing 1-1/2 teaspoons in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar. If it fizzes, then it will still help leaven a food. If it doesn’t fizz, use it as an odor catcher in the refrigerator.
Source: Alice Henneman, Extension Educator, University of Nebraska Extension, Lancaster County