Composting is great, but reducing food waste is even better. Here are some ways to reduce food waste – which will often also save you money!
1. Know what you need. Don’t overbuy.
- Meal prep
- Freeze food
- Take “shelfies,” photos of your fridge and freezer every couple of days to remind you what’s there and what’s missing.
2. Store smart.
- Store herbs and green onions with the stems in freshwater, place a bag over the top, and place in the fridge. You can also freeze herbs (see “Freezing Foods”).
- Store bread in a bread box or on the countertop in a paper bag. After around two days, you can freeze bread and toast it when you want to thaw it.
- Store apples, bananas, and avocados away from other fruits, which they cause to ripen more quickly.
- Wrap the stems of bananas in plastic or tape to reduce the amount of ethylene that escapes.
- Use produce-saving containers, including containers with air vents, “foodhuggers,” and ethylene-reducing produce bags.
- Store condiments in the fridge once opened, except for olive oil which should be stored in the dark in a moderate-temperature zone.
- Freeze foods.
- Herbs: chop and place in an ice cube tray. Add boiling water to blanch, then freeze.
- Fruits: Chop at peak-ripeness and freeze in reusable containers. Or, prepare a smoothie bag of a combination of different fruits ready to pour straight into a blender.
- Tomato pastes and eggs: These can both be stored in ice cube trays.
- Milk. Be sure to freeze before it’s use-by date. Once thawed, it’s best used within a week.
- Store dry foods like cereal, oats, pasta, and rice in airtight containers
- Store onions in a dark, well-aerated place, away from potatoes.
3) Donate extra food.
- Check FoodPantries.org for donation policies at local pantries.
- Gardeners can sign up to have their produce picked up by Glean KY on the Nourish Lexington website.
- Nourish Lexington in partnership with Glean KY created a form for food-related businesses with extra ingredients to donate.
- Businesses that regularly have extra produce can sign up with Glean KY to have their produce picked up and distributed for free to hunger programs in Kentucky. Fill out a source application on their website.
For more information on food storage strategies, googling the following terms can help:
- Fruits that produce ethylene
- Produce-saving containers
- DIY food produce-saving storage
- How to store food for freshness