Waste Not, Want Not

It’s Tuesday morning, which is trash pick-up day in my neighborhood. That means it’s clean-out-the-fridge day at my house, time to clear out the tired and expired and remind myself of what needs to be used. With my goofy schedule, I forget sometimes. It’s especially problematic in the warmer months with fresh fruits and veggies are available in abundance and I tend to stockpile “cold foods”. With Spring rapidly approaching, I thought it might be a good time to look at a few ways to cut down on food waste.

Look what Susy Morris of Chiot’s Run does to keep track of her freezer inventory:

Yep, she uses a dry erase marker for tracking what’s in her freezer–very clever and very organized! This household of one doesn’t need quite that elaborate a scheme, but after testing a dry erase marker on the wall-side of my fridge, I have recently started using it to keep track of what’s in the fridge or freezer that needs to be used soon. I like having the visual reminder that there’s leftover barbecue chicken in the fridge before I make pasta with marinara for my dinner. :)

While I like the extra space in my fridge after a clean-out, I don’t like having to throw food out. Such a waste. Money Talks News published a good article, 12 Ways to Keep Good Food from Going Bad, with some ideas for making use of foods from your pantry or fridge that you might otherwise toss. (I’ll admit, though, that #9, “Bake old Oreos into crust”, had me laughing. As if Oreos in my pantry would ever go bad. :) )

One thing that might help with reducing waste and committing to eat what you buy, is to calculate the value of foods you purchase but don’t consume and then write a check to the local food bank for that amount. I haven’t had to write one yet, but if I do, that amount will come out of my future grocery budget. That’s actually inspiring me to check my pantry shelves for “aspirational foods” (they seemed like a good idea at the time) and donate them before they expire.

This week’s clean out was a good one for me. I only had one little stub of a cucumber that had passed it’s prime (and a step below that). It was a humongous cucumber, so I’ll give myself a pass on this one. :)

I hope you found some helpful information from this post. Be sure to leave a comment if you have tips of your own to share!

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*One more note about the dry erase marker–you can also use it on other appliances. Washing a load of laundry that has an item that needs to be hung to dry rather than moved to the dryer? Write a note on the washer and wipe it away when the load has finished!

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