Most fruits and vegetables grown in the United States each year don’t find any buyers or shoppers. Even though the country produces these more each year than required to serve the population, the rest gets thrown away. As a consumer, you cannot do much in areas like processing and marketing, but you can take precautions to ensure that it doesn’t end up being a loss. For example, you can modify your shopping behavior and pay attention to your cooking habits to reduce wastage. Your small contributions can significantly impact the landfills and the release of methane gas into the atmosphere. Here are a few insights to help you ensure this.
Shopping for fresh produce
Get all you need, but not too much. Although the temptation to get bulk goods might be there, consider that fresh produce has a limited shelf life and will go wrong if not purchased or used within a specific timeframe. It is tempting to get everything at once without having to come back another day, but then again, you risk getting burnt by the heat from your car, which also accelerates things like strawberry ripening, for example. It isn’t safe to consume them also. Also, please don’t buy anything too bruised or overly damaged because it can be the rejected material.
Finally, like those berries, any fruit or vegetable can be seasonal (some months are better than others for peaches, for example) so make sure you pick what’s ripe and ready to eat. Going out and shopping from farmer’s markets feels like too much; you can explore other options, such as online delivery sites like . Some companies offer subscription boxes for those who don’t have time to visit the shops every day. Earlier, most of them provided readymade box options with specific fruits and veggies. Today, some allow customers to build their order, which goes a long way in saving food from going to waste.
So, essentially, you can use those services for two good reasons – controlling food wastage and fewer visits to farmer’s markets. It can be cost-effective too. You can get necessary items in one go for great discounts, and then, you don’t have to worry about your fuel cost.
Store fresh items properly
Some fruits, such as peaches and plums, produce many ethylene gases during ripening. Other fruits may become over-ripe when stored together before you’re ready to enjoy them. So it is better to keep them separate. Avocados, kiwis, apples, tomatoes, and others tend to emit a large amount of ethylene gas. Hence, it is better to keep them in a crisper drawer that can keep them fresh for a long. Also, don’t combine them with anything that you don’t want to become ripe too soon. At the same time, keep veggies away from them because some of them tend to have a strong smell, and if your stored fruits catch it, the quality will get affected. Ultimately, it will lead to food waste.
Some items have a limited shelf life once plucked or picked. Use them within a couple of days after purchasing. It is more relevant for sprouts, oranges, watermelon, leafy greens, and mushrooms. However, something with a longer lifespan can feature later in your menu. These generally include onions, carrots, winter squash, apples, etc. When you prioritize them this way, you essential take another step toward food waste control.
Use fresh produce with care
Remember that trying your best not to waste food is a great way to reduce the amount of food wasted or lost once prepared. It will reduce overall costs and help extend your stride towards becoming more environmentally friendly. Cut and slice what you need or want to cook. There’s no harm in throwing together an impromptu meal combining last night’s leftover salad, bread, fruit, and cheese into a brand new yummy dish. However, don’t forget to properly label every container and store it separately in the fridge, so nothing gets mixed up.
If you feel your fruits or veggies are becoming stale, which irritates your health-conscious persona, you can always make your frozen food. Before putting them into an airtight container, make sure to cut any fruit before placing it on a baking sheet with tin foil or toss any veggies in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Blanching helps preserve the color and texture while increasing your food’s life.
These are three , at least from your end. At the same time, when you buy subscription boxes, you not only end up saving a few extra cents but also your entire day’s effort of traveling to the market and then waiting for the tiredness to wane off so that you can keep them in their proper places. If you have never thought about these aspects, it can be the moment to ponder your choices.