March 1, 2019

Save Money By Saving Food

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Saving food doesn’t have to be difficult! The global volume for food is estimated to be 1.3 billion tons annually. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), one-third of food produced globally for human consumption results in food loss or food waste. As defined by the FAO, food loss “refers to any food that is lost in the supply chain between the producer and the market,” and food waste “refers to the discarding or alternative (non-food) use of food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption.” For the average US household of four, food waste translates into an average $1600 annually. According to an National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Report, the six foods most commonly wasted by Americans living in Denver, Nashville and New York City are coffee, milk, bread, potatoes and pasta. Here are a few ways to money and reduce food waste.

Bread

Waste In Numbers: As of January 2019, the average retail price of one pound of white bread in the United States was $1.274. Hypothetically, if you were to buy a loaf of bread eight times a month and waste one eighth of each loaf, the cost to you would be approximately $15.288 per year.

Freshness Window: Note: The FoodKeeper App is a great resource for checking the shelf life of foods. It was used to determine the freshness window for many of the foods in this article.

  • Homemade bread (no preservatives : 3-5 days in the pantry, 2-3 weeks refrigerated, 2-3 months frozen
  • Commercial bread: 14-18 days in the pantry, 2-3 weeks refrigerated, 2 months frozen

Anti-Waste Tip: Don’t forget how much bread you have by dating your bread (and other foods) and periodically rotating. This way you remember everything you have and nothing gets left in the back of the fridge or pantry.

Recipe Ideas: Leftover Bread Croutons, Easy Bread Pudding – Using Leftover Bread, Panzanella and more here.

 

Milk

Waste In Numbers: As of January 2019, The average retail price of one gallon of whole milk in the U.S. is $2.913 as of January 2019. Hypothetically, if you were to buy one gallon of milk three times a month and waste one tenth per gallon, that costs you approximately $10.487 per year.

Freshness Window: Milk: 1 week refrigerated, 1 month frozen

Anti-Waste Tip: Be realistic about how much milk you drink, so you are not tempted to buy a bigger carton! It may be a better deal to spend a little more for a larger carton, but if you don’t drink more than half of a gallon, don’t buy it. For example, DairyPure 2% Reduced Fat Milk is sold on Amazon in half gallon and one gallon sizes. The half gallon costs $3.39 and the gallon costs $3.99. That’s only a 60 cent increase for double the volume!

Recipe Ideas: Freeze in ice cube trays for later. Use it in any kind of cheese sauce recipe and more here and here.

 

Fruit

Waste In Numbers: As of January 2019 the average retail price of one pound of red delicious apples in the United States was $0.576. Hypothetically, if you were to buy one pound three times  a month, and waste one sixth of each pound, that would cost you approximately $3.456 per year.

Freshness Window:

  • Apples: 3 weeks in the pantry, 4-6 weeks refrigerated, 8 months frozen (cooked)
  • Bananas: 5 days on the counter (once they are ripe), 5-7 days refrigerated (once they are ripe, peel will turn brown but it is still edible), 2-3 months frozen
  • Blueberries: 1-2 weeks refrigerated, 8-12 months frozen
  • Cherries: 2-3 days refrigerated, 8-12 months frozen
  • Citrus fruits (lemon, lime orange, grapefruit, trangerines, clementines): 10 days in the pantry, 10-21 days refrigerated
  • Coconut (fresh not shredded): 1 week in the pantry, 2-3 weeks refrigerated
  • Dates: 2 months in the pantry, 12 months refrigerated, 1-2 years frozen
  • Grapes: 1 day in the pantry, 1 week refrigerated, 1 month frozen
  • Kiwi: 3-6 days refrigerated
  • Melons: 7 days in the pantry (once ripened), 2 weeks refrigerated, 2-4 days refrigerated after opening, 1 month frozen
  • Papaya, Mango, Passionfruit: 3-5 days in the pantry, 1 week refrigerated, 6-8 months frozen
  • Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Pears: 1-2 days in the pantry (once ripened), 3-5 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen
  • Pineapple: 1-2 days in the pantry (once ripened), 5-7 days refrigerated, 10-12 months frozen
  • Plantains: 1-2 days in the pantry (once ripened), 3-5 days refrigerated, 10-12 months frozen
  • Pomegranate: 2-5 days in the pantry, 1-3 months refrigerated, 10-12 months frozen
  • Raspberries, Strawberries: 2-3 days refrigerated, 8-12 months frozen

Anti-Waste Tip: Avoid buying fruit out of season, they are more expensive because they have increased transit and import costs. Also, try and use up the entire fruit. You can get great use out of your fruit peels, juice pulps and more here.

Recipe Ideas: Leftover fruit bread, any fruit crumble, fruit sauce, fruit ice cubes, smoothie and more.

 

Salad Greens

Waste In Numbers: As of January 2019, the average retail price of one pound of romaine lettuce in the U.S. was $2.177. Hypothetically, if you were to buy it four times a month, and waste one eighth of the pound, that would cost you approximately $13.062 per year.

Freshness Window:

  • Packaged/Bagged greens: 3-5 days refrigerated, 2 days refrigerated after opening
  • Loose leafy greens: 1-4 days refrigerated, 10-12 months frozen

Anti-Waste Tip: Opt for loose vegetables including salad greens over packaged salad greens. Bagged greens are usually more than you need, or more than you intend to buy.

Recipe Ideas: Make wraps with leftover greens, sauteed greens, leftover salad soup, and more here.

 

Eggs

Waste In Numbers: In January 2019 the average retail price of one dozen Grade A eggs in the U.S. was  $1.554. Hypothetically, if you were to buy a dozen eggs three timesa month, and waste two eggs per dozen, that would cost you approximately $9.324 per year.

Freshness Window:

  • In the shell: 3-5 weeks refrigerated
  • Raw egg whites or egg yolks (leftover from recipe or : 2-4 days refrigerated, 12 months frozen
  • Hard boiled eggs: 1 week refrigerated

Anti-Waste Tip: Understand the sell-by, use-by and best-by dates on your egg carton so you don’t get fooled by the expiration myth! The “sell-by date” is important to consider when you are purchasing a product, but once you have it at home, it does not tell you the date when it is no longer safe to eat. “Use-by,” “best-by” and “best-before” dates all refer to the food’s time of peak quality, not it’s expiration date. If you’re unsure, check the freshness of your eggs with these tricks.

Recipe Ideas: Leftover frittata (good to use up other leftovers as well!), and recipes for leftover egg whites and leftover egg yolks.

 

Pasta

Waste In Numbers: In January 2019 the average retail price of one pound of spaghetti or macaroni in the U.S. was $1.217. Hypothetically, if you were to buy it four times a month, and waste one eighth per pound, that would cost you approximately $7.302 per year.

Freshness Window:

  • Dry eggs: 2 years in pantry, 1-2 months in pantry after opening
  • Fresh pasta: 1-2 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen
  • Dry pasta without eggs: 2 years in the pantry, 1 year in the pantry after opening

Anti-Waste Tip: Cut down your portion sizes when cooking and and take leftovers home if you don’t finish your pasta at a restaurant. This way you stretch more meals out of items in your pantry and meals you purchase in restaurants.

Recipe Ideas: Leftover pasta fritters, pasta salad, freezing cooked pasta for a later meal and more.

 

Coffee

Waste In Numbers: In January 2019 the average retail price of one pound of 100% ground roast coffee in the U.S. was $4.291. Hypothetically, if you were to buy it once a month, and waste one tenth of the pound, that would cost you approximately $5.1492 per year.

Freshness Window:

  • Commercial Ground, Non-Vacuum: 2 years in the pantry, 2 weeks in the pantry after opening, 1 month refrigerated after opening, 6-12 months frozen
  • Home Ground, Non-Vacuum: 3-5 months in the pantry, 3-5 in the pantry after opening, 1-2 years frozen.
  • Instant: 1 year in the pantry, 2-3 months in the pantry after opening
  • Whole beans: 3-5 months in the pantry, 3-5 months in the pantry after opening, 3-4 months refrigerated after opening

Anti-Waste Tip: As the number one discarded food item in Denver, Nashville and New York City (according to the NRDC), we tend to overestimate how much coffee we actually need. Try keeping track of the coffee you don’t use.

Recipe Ideas: Coffee ice cubes, coffee cake for one, braised chicken and more here.



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