Saturday, February 8, 2014

Produce 101

We've all done it. 
Lets be honest. 
There are always produce items that go to waste in our fridges at the end of the week. 
I get so angry at myself when this happens. 
I buy that item for a specific meal, or to have on hand for snacks or sides. 
So why is it going to waste when it had a purpose to be placed in my shopping cart?

I personally can track this careless act of wasting produce down to two separate things.

1. Forgotten Item in Fridge
2. Leftovers never used

One of my 2014 goals is to be more frugal in the items I am purchasing, and to get more out of that particular item. 

Forgotten items in the fridge - there are many ways to make this occurrence less frequent. I have found that the produce that is placed in my crisper drawer gets forgotten about very easily. The drawer is completely opaque and I find that because we can not see into it, we forget what we have put in there. A solution might be to open the drawer more often, but I have always found that out of sight out of mind often happens with me. I recently went to the local dollar store and purchased a large plastic basket that now sits on the fridge shelf with all our produce on it. Now every time we open the fridge we can see all of the produce we have on hand. What do I now do with the crisper drawer? I put extra milk bags, extra condiments, or things I want to hide from J so he doesn't eat it before a particular meal! 

Leftovers Never Used -  There are many produce items that I buy on a regular basis; bananas, apples, oranges, pears, kiwis, etc, where there are certain produce items I may purchase for the use in a particular recipe. After making that recipe there are usually left overs of that item depending on how much the recipe has called for. After pooping the item back into the fridge I find that I often forget about these items and then they are going to waste. What I have started to do over the last few months is either freeze these items for the next recipe it calls for, or finding a new way to use that item. As you've probably already noticed, I think freezing is amazing. It is so easy! All you do is clean the item, pat it dry, throw it in a freezer bag or container, label it and pop it in the freezer for the next time you plan on making that recipe. I have also found that finding new ways and recipes to use items is also a way to reduce waste. For example, if I am making mushroom and spinach fettuccine alfredo that week, I will find other recipes that week to incorporate leftover spinach or mushrooms. By doing this I am getting the most out of the item I possibly can.

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