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Food Waste

June 7th, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Today, I'm reporting our food waste. It's one thing so many of us, or at least many Americans, find themselves doing. And it really is just money in the trash!

My daughter went to eat breakfast to find the milk had soured, despite an expiration of three days later. I went to make Apple Spiced Pork Chops last night only to find that three apples were starting to go bad, one worse than the others. I cut the bad parts off two and tossed the other in the trash. Oh, and I also had to toss 1/2 cup of fresh broccoli that had turned.

One way we can avoid produce and dairy from spoiling is by making sure we aren't buying too much at one time from the store and also making sure we make a point to eat these items before they do spoil. I usually check to see if we have anything that needs to be used up soon, before I make my meal plan, so I can incorporated it into our eating in the next few days.

Food waste isn't just from spoilage. It can come in the form of making too much of a food that you cannot eat in one sitting. I also did that this week. I doubled a recipe and then we had too much. It was the first time I made this homemade macaroni recipe, so I will let myself off the hook a bit. I did end up eating the leftover for a couple lunches after, but I really regret that part too as I'm trying to stay away from processed carbohydrates. I made it at my daughter's request since she is home for the summer.

Buying in bulk at those big warehouse stores can also cause overbuying and then as a result of not being able to consume that much, the food goes to waste. We generally don't buy fresh produce in bulk for this very reason. Onions, apples and potatoes would be the exception, where we buy in 3-5 pound bags. This food spoilage can even occur in packaged/processed food if you don't eat the food by the expiration date. That means the good deal you got at the warehouse store was actually a waste of money.

Knowing portion sizes can help us plan how much to buy so we do not overeat or overbuy. We really usually do pretty well, so it was surprising to have to throw out what we did this week. I think there were a couple of other things that I can't remember, it was more than the milk, broccoli and apples.

We did also adjust our fridge temperature, as we wondered if the cause was due to the warmer temperature here, but not cool enough inside the fridge. Hopefully, that will help us, too!

How do you do in the area of food waste? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you avoid throwing out food, or in other words your hard earned money?

7 Responses to “Food Waste”

  1. crazyliblady Says:

    Reading your description of how your milk went bad even though it was not expired made me remember when our refrigerator started to go downhill. It was not obvious that there was a problem. We thought that food has just spoiled because we had it for awhile, but the compressor was starting to die and then when it finally did, we had to throw out some stuff.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks crazyliblady, we went from a really nice somewhat high end fridge in our last rental to the low end models on base, so I chalked it up to that when something goes bad. I will keep an eye on it and if it seems to continue I'll contact maintenance. I do think the milk had been purchased over 10 days prior, so it may have just been time.

  3. Wink Says:

    I cringe when I think back on how much food I used to toss. Mainly it was salad stuff that I would buy too much of, and then eat something else because I just didn't want salad! I am much better with it now. I buy much less and make sure that I stick to my meal plan for the week. The meal planning and batch cooking for the week has made all the difference.

  4. Jenn Says:

    I think I do well overall because waste really bothers me, but I find myself too often doing what you did with the macaroni. If the boys aren't eating it, I'll eat it before it goes bad and often it's not something healthy! But, being waste averse has helped me health wise too: we have a CSA membership and it's like a game to me to get it all in our bodies. Today I threw a bunch of parsley that was getting limp in the blender with the kale for my green smoothie. Such a feeling of satisfaction that I used it up and that I got the nutritional benefits. Because of my eat-it-all strategy with CSA veggies, I'll eat a salad whether I'm in the mood for one or not. Similar to exercise, I'm never sorry afterward. And if after consuming the salad I'm still thinking about the pasta (or whatever), I'll let myself eat it as a treat.

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks for commiserating with me about food waste...especially the pasta! I did balance my pasta eating with veggies, too.

  6. rob62521 Says:

    I had the same problem with milk and like Crazylibrarylady said, didn't realize it was a tell tale sign of the fridge starting to go out.

    I struggle with wasting food too. I've gotten better over the years, but I still lose a few things here and there. I think we have brainwashed as Americans that buying more is better. One of the reasons I do not have a membership to our local Sam's Club...the temptation was too great.

  7. disneysteve Says:

    This bothers me too. I try my best to make sure we're using what's in the fridge before it goes bad. Produce is the hardest area since that stuff has the shortest lifespan. Cheeses are sometimes a problem too as they may get green and fuzzy before we use them up. I just tossed some American cheese last night when I reached for it for dinner and it was all spotted with green.

    Obviously the best remedy is not over-buying but that's hard because one month we might go through a lot of something and the next we'll buy it and just never get around to using it. We really need to do more meal planning but as much as we say that, it never happens.

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