The pandemic is forcing us to cook more, increasing the odds of us wasting food. Here’s how you can avoid this.
During a pandemic, it becomes more important to avoid food waste, even if it’s more difficult, like when you’re facing a fridge filled with perishable items that you panic bought at the grocery store.
Now that people are spending most of their time at home and don’t have the luxury of visiting the grocery store whenever they want, weekly grocery visits should be conducted with care. Perishable items should be purchased in moderation, not only because we should be considerate with others, but also because it’s likely for us to forget about them and for they to go to waste.
Here’s what you should do to reduce as much food waste as possible:
Stick to your grocery list
In order to avoid food waste it’s important to keep a grocery shopping list and to tailor it according to your needs. While in quarantine it’s common to feel the urge to bake or to prepare dishes that you stumble upon on social media, you should try to limit your impulse buys as much as possible. Keep a flexible list of the meals you’d like to prepare and think in advance of what you want to bake or cook that demands more ingredients. Spread these out throughout your quarantine; there’s no rush.
Keep tabs of what you waste
Inevitably some foods will go to waste. Keep track of these foods and pay closer attention to them the next time you purchase them, adapting your portions or cooking them and transporting them to the fridge, that way extending their shelf life.
Know when to use your freezer and refrigerator
If you end up cooking a large meal and don’t want to have to eat it for a week, freeze it and eat it next week. Food experts also suggest storing perishable items in the back of your fridge, which is usually the coldest part of the appliance.
Know your food labels
Food labels are very confusing and they all don’t mean the same thing. There’s four kinds: best by, sell by, freeze by and use by. The first refers to flavor but it doesn’t mean that your item will be wasted after the printed date. “Sell by” indicates when the grocery store should sell the item by. “Freeze by” indicates when the food should be frozen for best quality and “use by” indicates when the food is at peak quality.
No matter the print date, the most reliable way to tell if food is spoiled is by using your senses. Smell the food, look at its texture and/or taste it.
Know what to do with your leftovers
When cooking three meals a day, you’ll inevitably accumulate some leftovers. Try looking up what you can do with these, whether that’s freezing them, eating them the next day, re purposing them for other meals, using citrus peels for baking, stale bread for croutons or cheese rinds for making soups.