According to the Upcycled Food Association, over 30 percent of global food production is lost or wasted. And with ever-growing concerns about food insecurity in the United States, it begs the question, “Can I do anything to help?” Luckily, the answer is yes.
Here are three easy ways you can change your lifestyle to prevent food waste, help the planet, and potentially save yourself money in the process.
The upcycled food movement is growing, and, because of it, many food companies are dedicating themselves to eliminating or otherwise lessening the plight of food waste. For example, the snack company Barnana uses only “imperfect” bananas that would otherwise go to waste to create its products, and Brooklyn-based RISE takes a byproduct of used grains from breweries and transforms it into a high-protein flour alternative.
Freeze It Or Lose It
You know the routine—you buy a bunch of produce in bulk to save money, but you can never seem to eat it all before it goes bad. This is one of the most common ways food is wasted at the consumer level, but it’s totally preventable. If you prefer buying your food in bulk, separate a reasonable portion that you can eat in a week, and then cut and freeze the remaining portion. Fruit is best when flash-frozen; simply lay the fruit out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, freeze it until solid, and then portion it and place it in resealable bags to freeze for up to six months. Veggies like zucchini, green beans, corn, and peas should be blanched before freezing to help maintain their crunch.
Regrow Your Scraps
Who eats the hard end of a head of lettuce? No one. But do you know what you can do with the bottom few inches of the next head of lettuce you buy? Grow an entirely new head! Reserve the bottom three inches, place it in a cup of shallow water until it begins to sprout, and then transfer it to a pot with soil. An avocado pit can also be planted by placing a few toothpicks into each side, suspending it over a jar filled with water so about an inch of the wide end of the pit is submerged, and leaving it in a warm, sunny spot to germinate. And if your potato sprouts eyes, simply cut it into small chunks and plant them into soil like you would flower bulbs or seeds.