Here’s a sobering statistic to kick off your 2022: The average American family of four throws away $ 1,500 in food a year, according to the National Resources Defense Council. (That’s the equivalent of 1,000 pounds of green vegetables, grains, meat, and beans.) In truth, that would be very It’s tough to eliminate food waste entirely, but experts say reorganizing the contents of your refrigerator and pantry can be the turnkey that helps you cut down on food waste (for good!).
Below, Chef Palak Patel (Good + goodRenew Year’s Nutrition Expert) and other foodies offer their best tips for using every ingredient in your kitchen. Whether you tend to find mold on your leftovers before you start eating them, or manage to eat just two carrots before throwing out the rest of the bag, we’ve got some solid advice to go with you over the next 12 months. . (or … the rest of your food life). Ready?
How to organize your pantry for optimal freshness
Tip 1: Establish your pantry hierarchy
We’ve all been there: you buy a new bag of nutritional yeast only to realize (ugh!) That you already have of them bags opened in your pantry at home. If you tend to forget what you already have on hand, a pantry hierarchy will save your life. Trust us.
“If you don’t have a system then everything turns into chaos. By putting it in place, at least the maintenance is easier,” interior designer Emily Henderson said previously. Good + good. “It’s just a matter of evaluating your own daily habits and what you use when and giving each shelf its own purpose and then sticking to it. That’s the trick because if you don’t stick to it. , then it’s chaos. ” This means that there is no one “right” way to organize your pantry. Instead, you’ll need to decide which items you use the most and give them some top-notch real estate in your cupboards.
Here’s what your pantry might look like: “Downstairs, so the easiest to reach, is the cereal, the snacks, the things that you’ll probably want to grab and get to easily,” says Henderson. “And then the next shelf was everyday cooking: sauces, rice, pasta, things that, again, you want to have pretty easy access to. Finally, cooking ingredients, spices and even preserves, in addition because they are used less, she adds.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you are really in baking. In that case, you can choose to place ingredients like almond flour, baking powder, cocoa, and chocolate chips on that more accessible lower shelf. Having your cupcake, cookie, and brownie ingredients in the front and center will also ensure that you don’t accidentally buy, say, another packet of coconut flakes unnecessarily.
Basically: it’s choosing your own pantry adventure.
Tip 2: try to store the ingredients in flavor combinations
When making pasta, you probably have three or five Italian-inspired ingredients that you use again. So if they’re all shelf stable, Patel recommends storing them together for ease of use. “As for the items you tend to forget, put them away next to the items you typically combine them with in recipes,” she says. “For example, there are four or five spices that I use almost every time I cook Italian-inspired dishes, so I keep all of those spices together. If I realize that there is another spice that would work well with them that I forget, I’ll ‘I’ll add it to the group. That way, the next time I make lasagna or dumplings, I’ll remember to use it. It’s also an easy and inspiring to experience flavors. “
Tip 3: Move your spices and oils, sensitive to light and heat, in the pantry
Many people tend to store their cooking oils and spices next to the stove, but experts say this can actually shorten their shelf life. Olive oil ages faster in the presence of light, air and heat. So be sure to close the lid of your bottle tightly and store it in your pantry (60 to 75 degrees), if possible. Ditto with the spices. They will likely go rancid (meaning they lose their color and flavor) more quickly if you leave them on the counter. Store them in the pantry so you can use them to season many future dishes.
How to equip your refrigerator to eliminate food waste
Tip 1: Give whatever is in your fridge an assigned place
Just like there is an optimal way to load the dishwasher, there is a functional way to organize your refrigerator. First things first: place your leftovers on the top shelf, right at eye level. That way, you’ll remember to reheat those Monday night lasagna before Sunday arrives, and it’s too late. Here’s a brief description of where to put everything in your fridge, but for more detailed step-by-step instructions, check this out.
Upper shelf: Tupperware containers with leftovers, water filter pitcher, milk
Refrigerator door: drinks, condiments
The middle shelf: nut butters, yogurts, cheeses and similar dairy products, jam
Lower shelf: eggs, meat
Vegetable drawer: vegetables, fruits, herbs
Tip 2: stick to your grocery list
“A really easy way to reduce food waste is to go to the grocery store with a plan. Just like your daily to-do list, having a plan keeps you focused on what you need, ”Patel explains. “Before you go shopping, sit down and figure out what you want to eat this week, what you already have in your fridge, and what ingredients you need.” That way, you won’t scratch your head at the grocery store trying to remember if you already have an open jar of salsa in your refrigerator at home. The salsa will be fair to your list, so you’ll know it’s time to refuel.
Tip 3: freeze items that will take you longer to use
Patel recommends freezing any ingredients, like nuts, that you know can take you longer. FWIW, you can also freeze spices, bread and leftovers to make your future a solid.
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