It is estimated that a whopping 180 billion (yes, billion with a B) pounds of food is wasted every year– and that’s in the U.S alone. That equates to over $408 billion dollars worth of food that is tossed into the trash.
Not only is this a shocking statistic, but it is detrimental to the health of the planet.
Before food makes it way to your kitchen counter, a number of valuable resources are used including water, land, labor, and transportation-- all of which are taken from our big, beautiful planet.
Most food waste ends up in landfill which is a big problem because it increases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global warming. (Yikes!)
If you’re an expert grocery shopper, someone who knows how to avoid impulse purchases, or can make a list and stick to it…you might not accumulate a lot of food waste.
BUT, even the most mindful chef sometimes ends up with wilted kale and mushy strawberries.
The good news is that there are simple kitchen hacks that can help you extend the life of your soon-to-be-expired produce so you can do your part in reducing food waste and protecting the planet.
5 kitchen hacks to reduce food waste
Freeze your leafy greens
If you forget about your fresh spinach bundle or your kale leaves begin to wilt before you have time to whip up your favorite salad, don’t toss them-- freeze it. You can store these leafy greens for up to 3 months in the freezer. Some sources even say, if you store these green goodies properly, they can last up to 10 months!!
When you’re ready to use your frozen greens simply toss them on the stove to make a stir fry or put them in a blender to get an extra serving of greens in your smoothie.
Make iced latte ice cubes
There is nothing worse than spoiled milk, but (luckily) there’s nothing better than an iced cold latte! When your plant-based milk starts to turn sour, grab an ice cube tray and fill it up. Oat milk cubes are great to toss in your mocha latte and they can be used in smoothies. Plus, you can extend the life of your milk up to six weeks!
Make a smoothie
There are 100s of ways to reuse your expiring produce but making a smoothie is one of the tastiest. If your avocados, berries, bananas, and greens go bad before you get to use them, simply add them to a blender with your favorite superfood powder mixes to make filling smoothie or açai bowl.
Get inspired with this zero-waste superfood smoothie recipe.
Keep your veggie scraps
When you’re chopping up veggies, save the scraps for later to make a delicious veggie broth. This simple kitchen hack will save you money (no more buying store-bought veggie broth) and will help you extend the life of your produce!
All you have to do is keep your leafy greens, carrots, celery, avocado shells, onions, or any leftover veggie scraps in a sealed container in your freezer. Once your container is full, add them to a pot of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Strain the veggies and toss them in a compost bin.
Then you can use the broth to make soup, stir fry, and whatever else you can dream up.
Store your produce wisely
Keep your groceries fresh for weeks by storing them properly. Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you get started.