Every kitchen struggles with minimizing food waste. I spend every week asking myself how I can reduce the amount I wind up throwing away every weekend. The unfortunate truth is that I throw away way too much. My produce wilts and dies, forgotten in the drawers. I’m guilty of leaving raw meat in the shelves too long and tossing steak-- yes, steak-- when it goes bad. How do I combat these behaviors within myself in my day to day? I have discovered a few tactics to try over the next few weeks, and besides giving you this article about my plans, I’m also planning to share the meals I create while cutting back on food waste.
1. Keep a Clean Fridge
This one is a struggle for me at literally all times. I can’t see the back of my fridge on probably any shelf. I can only see the inside of my door on virtue of the fact the shelves there aren’t very deep at all. I’ve got leftovers in there so old, I’d be better off throwing away the entire tupperware they’re stored in than expose myself to whatever has grown inside of them. There are far too many plastic bags of dried, leafy greens, and that’s precisely why this one is coming as number one on our list.
If I were better about getting rid of the old, I might appreciate the new when I bring it home each week. So, starting this week, I will be starting from scratch. Sunday, expect a before and after view of the nightmare that is the Eating Normal refrigerator. Every Sunday after, we’ll talk about how I utilized the newfound space and access to my ingredients to the highest capacity.
2. Have A Plan
Most weeks, have a plan for what you intend to cook as the days roll on. I have more than once wandered into the grocery store with nothing but a vague idea of what I wanted for the week only to waste most of the good produce I grabbed. Breaking from the meal plan every now and again isn’t the worst thing. You have every right to play in the kitchen, but it often ends for me in a few stinky drawers.
Go to the store with a game plan. If you find something that excites you, don’t stop yourself from giving it a shot. Just know that your plan for the week will need to shift to accommodate the fancy scallops you found at the counter.
3. Kitchen Sink Recipes
We all have some go to’s for using up ingredients that are on their last legs. I did an article on some of mine last year, and you can find that here. It always helps to have techniques in your pocket suitable for a variety of ingredients. There are a few cookbooks that we’ve looked at this year to help you adapt in this sort of fashion, such as Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music. If you struggle with flexibility or keeping old favorites fresh, there is a lot to learn there.
This time around, as I struggle to take on my own problems with food waste, I’ll share with you the ways I keep up with my more unusual ingredients.
How do you cut back on food waste in your kitchen? Leave a comment here or on facebook, and we’ll give it a shot here!
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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