Some final words on Food Waste. Yesterday’s New York Times Opinion Page features a debate about how to reduce food waste in the United States. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/09/21/keeping-food-on-the-plate-and-out-of-landfills/ease-hunger-with-a-better-food-rescue-system. I’ve copied the section that suggests things that we, as consumers can do.
1. Curb overbuying. A packed fridge may be comforting, but rarely do we eat everything in it. Using meal plans, shopping lists, and a little restraint can go a long way.
2. Store smartly. Proper storage can maintain food quality and freshness. Use airtight containers for most foods.
3. Use it up. Eat up everything in your fridge regularly. Frittatas, stir-fries, and soups make great catchall recipes. Or just Google a list of what you have for meal ideas. Designating a special day for this can help — Fridge Fridays, perhaps?
4. Freeze. Almost anything can be frozen and kept fresh: bread (best sliced), milk (shake when thawed), eggs (raw but scrambled), and cheese (shredded for cooking). Don’t forget to freeze leftovers, even if just for a few days.
5. Understand expiration dates. “Use by,” “best by,” “enjoy by” — these are generally not expiration dates but suggestions as to when the product is at its freshest. Most food is often safe to eat days, weeks, even months after those dates.
One thing that has helped me cut down food waste is shopping more frequently. I try to buy only what I know I’ll use in a few days.
We’ve always composted vegetable peels and other food preparation scraps but it’s gotten easier in the past two years. Ipswich and Hamilton both have curbside composting making it easy to save anything no longer edible. Bones, moldy cheese, slimy vegetables, fruit and vegetable peels, all go into the compost as well as tissues and dryer lint and even kitty litter.