Time to tackle that edible clutter.
The funny thing is, when food piles up in the fridge, the longer it sits there, the more inclined I am to guiltily avoid it. When I don’t know exactly what’s in my fridge, I tend to find excuses not to check, because I don’t want to face what I find.
This month I aim to cut down on the amount of food I waste, and in doing so, cut down on that guilty feeling as well.
My plan for wasting less food
1. Reorganize the fridge, so that everything has a place. Here’s mine:
- The top, smallest shelf is for storing nuts and dried fruits (they keep better in the fridge!)
- The left of the middle shelf is for condiments and spreads like ketchup, butter, and tofutti sour cream
- the right of the middle shelf is for smaller ingredients that need using up, like sandwich fillings, leftover vegetables, and tofu.
- the bottom drawers are for whole vegetables
- the space just above that is for larger refrigerated items that need using up, like loaves of bread – I have to remove them to access the vegetables beneath, reminding me of their presence!
2. Identify the ingredients that are about to go off next and plan your next meal around using them up.
- For me it was a bag of kale, so we cooked it up in an Oh She Glows tex-mex casserole
3. Shop for ingredients one meal at a time, keeping mental note of any extras you’re purchasing.
- I can do this daily because there is a supermarket steps away from home, but if you prefer a weekly shop, plan your meals around any excess ingredients you might acquire, such as a set of three bell peppers when the recipe calls for one or two.
4. While shopping, it’s better to leave out a perishable item than buy it ‘just in case’.
- First mistake we made was purchasing a new loaf of bread out of habit before the old loaf was used up. Since bread only stays fresh for a couple of days, it would have been better to purchase only right when we needed it.
5. Be realistic about how many meals you need to prepare.
- Often I plan on cooking too many meals in one week. Since it’s just Monkey and me at home, sometimes one meal can last us another couple of meals.
5. Remember to check your pantry too!
- Maybe you have an opened bag of crisps/potato chips, or a forgotten stash of baked cookies (it does actually happen). Don’t forget about the less visibly expiring foods you may have tucked away.
Pick one of these tips and hold your commitment to it by posting in the comments! Also, share your best tips for using food up effectively.
P.S. A peek at my minimalist kitchen of cookbooks + recipes