Food waste is a serious humanitarian and environmental issue that contributes to food insecurity and pollution problems in many places, including the Philippines. It’s a bigger issue than most people realize, as about a third of all the food produced globally is disposed of for one reason or another. Discarding food means wasting the time, energy, labor, money, and other resources that went into the production of the said food items. It also contributes to climate change. This is because the waste food that ends up in landfills produces methane gas, which is the second most common greenhouse gas.
Spoilage is one of the most common reasons why people end up throwing away food items. To address this, extending the shelf life of your food items can help you do your share in reducing food waste. It also helps your household maximize its purchases and keep your food expenses down. Here are some of the kitchen tips you can use to extend the shelf life of the food items in your home.
Use a Reliable Refrigerator in Your Home
The Philippines is a tropical country, and it can be pretty hot and humid all year long. The high temperature makes it easy for cooked food items to spoil if they aren’t properly stored. One of the best ways to prevent food spoilage and extend the shelf life of ingredients is to buy inverter refrigerator for your kitchen. This is a cost-effective investment, as an inverter refrigerator will keep your food items at the ideal temperature while keeping your electric consumption low. Make sure to choose a refrigerator size and model that suits your home and has enough space for storing both fresh ingredients and cooked leftovers.
Make More Regular Trips to the Grocery
Grocery shopping can be a time-consuming task. To make the most of their time, some people tend to buy their groceries in bulk so they can stock up for a week or two. It’s a practical choice, but storing food for so long can also lead to food spoilage. After all, it’s entirely possible for people to forget the items they bought a week or two ago that are stored at the back of their fridge. If possible, try to do your grocery shopping in smaller batches so as not to lose track of the items that you’ve bought. Since you’re buying more frequently, you can focus on only buying the items that you plan to use immediately, and you can be sure that your ingredients are always of the freshest quality.
Know How to Store Produce Properly
Not all produce should be stored in the refrigerator, and not all of it needs to be washed before storage. Some fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes, can be stored at room temperature. Others only need to be wiped clean and wrapped with a paper towel before being stored in the refrigerator.
Eggs, on the other hand, should be kept in the original carton they came in and stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If you prefer to keep eggs in the fridge, do not store them on the door shelves. Eggs should be stored at a constantly cool temperature, and opening the fridge door will cause the temperature in this area to fluctuate.
Place Easy-to-spoil Food Items Front and Center
Food items that are out of sight can be easily forgotten. You don’t want this to happen to dishes and food items that tend to spoil quickly. To remind yourself to consume perishable food and produce with a sense of urgency, put these items within your direct line of sight. Place dairy and ripened fruits near the front of your refrigerator shelves so you can see them every time you open the door. This way, you’ll be reminded to cook and eat them before they go bad and end up as food waste.
Understand How Swapping Ingredients Work
Some ingredients can be left in the fridge for so long because they aren’t on the ingredient list of the other dishes that you are making. In some cases, it’s perfectly fine to substitute one ingredient for another in an effort to reduce food waste. You also don’t always have to follow recipes exactly, so consider adding these ingredients as your own take on a dish. If you have leftover bell peppers, for example, you can add them to fried rice or mix them with an omelet instead of letting them rot in the fridge.
Make Use of Leftover Food in New Recipes
Filipinos have a number of recipes that can make use of leftovers, and incorporating these into your menu can help you create more menu options and ensure that all leftovers get eaten. Sinangag, or fried rice, is a versatile dish that can be made with leftover dishes and rice. If you have leftover adobo or pinakbet, for example, you can toss these into the pan while frying rice. It’s a great way to add flavor to the dish and rescue leftover food items as well. If you have old bread, you can also recycle it by soaking it in milk and turning it into delicious pudding. Serve it as a snack or top it with some ice cream for dessert.
Following these tips will enable you to significantly reduce the amount of food waste that you produce in your home. Not only that, but you’ll also get more bang for your buck by ensuring that every cent that goes into your groceries will be used to keep your family healthy and nourished.