A Mom’s Guide To Managing Waste From Cooking And Food Preparation
In most households, mothers are often the ones who take care of chores and house responsibilities. One of them includes cooking and groceries. Whatever house duties it may be, they’re known to do their best. Thus, moms could most likely recreate things and turn them into something delicious.
For instance, they’re able to make use of what’s on the pantry and cook delicious dishes, even when one or two ingredients are missing. Turning food scraps and compost into a backyard full of vegetables and fruits won’t be an impossible thing for them too. Yet when it comes to cooking, it’s inevitable to still have a lot of food wastes.
If you’re having difficulty managing them, learn from this simple guide below:
1. Buy What You Can Consume
If possible, use up all the food from last week before heading out to the grocery. Don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bag or basket. Check your fridge and pantry and assess what needs to be restocked. Avoid impulse buying and plan your meals for the week.
For guidance, check out these basic steps in meal planning:
- Base it on the grocery items that are currently on sale.
- Cook from scratch and let recipes guide you along the way.
- Brainstorm with the family on what meals they would like to have.
Make a list of ingredients you will need. Refrain from buying in bulk especially perishable goods like dairy, meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and more. This is helpful especially if there are only a few persons in the household. Also, do your groceries every week to score fresh produce and ingredients. This will prevent you from buying unnecessary goods.
Otherwise, you may end up having a lot of food wastes which could be difficult to handle. In this case, you would need to contact professionals, such as samedayrubbishremoval.com.au/War-On-Waste-Statistics.php, to get rid of waste.
Therefore, only buy what is good for the number of people living with you. It would also help to learn reading expiration dates and the difference between’ sell-by,’ ‘use-by,’ and ‘best-by.’ Below are its descriptions to differentiate each:
- Use-By is when the item should be eaten.
- Sell-By is when retailers need the item sold or be taken out from shell life.
- Best-By is when the item should be consumed to get its best quality.
2. Store The Goods The Right Way
Organizing your kitchen by making use of durable, non-toxic food containers, and labeling them accordingly would be a great idea. When restocking your goods, use the FIFO (First In First Out) method. Don’t wash the products unless you are going to eat them. Also, some fruits and vegetables need to be stored separately. They produce different gases, and storing them with other products can make them go bad quickly.
You should store meat, poultry, and seafood in the freezer. Refrain from refreezing thawed food. Bacteria can grow in frozen goods when it is thawing. So, watch out for signs of spoilage like pungent odor, molds, discoloration, and an unusual food texture.
To guide you with food storage, it’s important to know the shelf life of common grocery items:
- Apple can last three weeks.
- Banana can last three days once ripe.
- Citrus can last two weeks.
- Garlic can last two months.
- Ginger can last a month.
- Bell pepper can last a week.
- Basil can last a week.
- Chives can last for 5 days.
- Parsley can last a week.
Meat and Seafood:
- Live shellfish can last a day.
- Smoked fish can last 2 weeks if unopened and five days if opened.
- Chicken can last a day but if in a sealed bag with no air can last for three to six months.
Bread and Dairy:
- Bread can last three months if sealed with no air.
- Fresh cheese can last a week.
- Aged cheese can last a month.
3. Make Something New From Leftovers
There’s nothing wrong with creating a new meal or dish from leftovers. You can make vegetable broth from all cut-up vegetables and mix meat bones or regrow them. You may even turn stale bread into croutons. You can add citrus fruits and cucumber to water. Also, make face masks out of some fruits like avocado.
Here are some more ways you can repurpose your leftovers:
- Chicken: You can turn it into lemon chicken, piccata, fettuccine alfredo, chicken quesadillas, and instant pot.
- Beef: Try to turn it into a pot pie, pasta skillets, empanadas, and shepherd’s pie.
- Pork: It can be made into carnitas, enchiladas, nachos, taquitos, and stroganoff.
- Fish: Turn into fish cakes, rillettes, tuna casseroles, chowder, and stew.
- Vegetable: You can make a stir fry, pizza, omelet, salad, and vegetable soup out of vegetable leftovers.
- Fruit: Smoothies, ice pops, salad dressing, fruit jam, and cocktails are some food you can make out of fruit leftovers.
- Rice: Try to make it into pudding, burrito, fritters, bibimpap, and fried rice.
Turn Food Scraps Into Fertilizer Or Compost
If you can no longer reuse the food, you can turn them into fertilizers or compost. This reduces wastes, minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, eliminates the need for chemical fertilizer, and strengthens soils for healthy plant growth.
- Fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, and berries give plenty of nutrients and enrich the soil.
- Vegetables that are cooked, rotten, and chopped up can also be used.
- Paper Tea Bags maintains moisture, boosts oxygen level, and speed up decomposition.
- Eggshells can help with plant growth.
You cannot use the following food as compost: yogurt, milk, butter, egg, lard, sour cream, meat, grease, and fish bones. They only attract rodents and flies. Additionally, they smell awful.
There are just many ways you can use your food, so excuses are out of the question. You can reduce, reuse and recycle your food scraps with the steps mentioned above. By doing so, you are doing your part in saving the environment.
Elizabeth A. Williams
Elizabeth A. Williams is a homemaker and a chef. She spends her weekends in her restaurant making new recipes. She also writes cookbooks.