Season’s Greenings – Thankful for Saving Food
Preventing food waste may be the last thing on a holiday host’s mind, especially during a season made for sharing. Making guest lists and gift lists, party planning and shopping lists can leave one wondering just where to begin. Successful shopping starts right in your kitchen! Use these tips to save food, save money, and enjoy eating better.
Shop Smart: Before you shop, make a list of the meals you want to prepare that week. First shop your fridge and pantry for ingredients, make a list of what you need, and stick to your list when you shop.
Use a party planning calculator to determine approximate portions and amounts you’ll need to feed your guests, and resist the temptation to overdo it. Instead, store a few frozen morsels and longer-lasting items (like chips and crackers) to break out for unexpected guests, or an extra-hungry bunch.
Store Smart: Learn the right way to store fruits and vegetables to maximize freshness and flavor. Some foods store better outside the refrigerator, and some foods should be stored apart to slow ripening. Freeze in serving sizes for later, for quick go-to meals and easy meal prep.
Prep Smart: Soon after shopping, prep fresh foods. Bite-sized fruit and crudité is easier to grab as a snack. Cooking a healthy dinner and packing lunches each day is fast and fun when the ingredients are ready.
Save Smart: Get more from what you have. Move leftovers and food likely to spoil soon to the front of a shelf or designated “eat now” area. No idea how to use some of those ingredients together? Try a free mobile app like Handpick to search for recipes using your ingredients. For tasty recipes using Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, try FoodNetwork.com or JamieOliver.com.
Give (Share) Smart: Order too much, or just make too much food? Keep it out of the landfill by feeding those in need this holiday season. Thanks to the Good Samaritan Act of California, businesses, restaurants, and good faith donors can now donate unused food to local food banks, nonprofit organizations, or directly to individuals without liability.
It’s estimated that at least twenty percent (20%) of the food we buy goes uneaten. That costs the average family of four about $1,500 in wasted food each year. Getting more from our food is an important way to save money, and reducing food waste is another step towards a future without landfills.
Take food saving to the next level; learn how to compost food scraps and turn them into nourishment for your garden soil. Salinas Valley Recycles offers free composting workshops to help you keep food waste out of the landfill. Register online at www.SalinasValleyRecycles.org. For more tips and helpful tools, visit West Coast Climate Forum and Save The Food.
Jenny Mitchell | Recycling Coordinator