I recently read that 40 percent of the food in America goes to waste. That’s almost half of our food supply! I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, we didn’t waste anything. This feat was achieved through Jewish guilt, in the form of my mom begging us to eat the rest of some dish so she wouldn’t have to — God forbid! — throw it out.
As an adult, I’m the same way. On the rare occasion that I throw food away (read: baking disaster), I feel bad. In fairness, I imagine most food waste happens on an institutional level, like when growers decide that produce looks too imperfect to sell. Still, we can all help to prevent so much food from entering landfills, and save money at the same time. Below are a few ideas to get you started:
Radishes, celery, beets, broccoli, and carrots all have edible green leaves. Carrot greens tend to be strongly bitter, but the others are delicious and can be enjoyed after a quick sauté.
Mushroom Stems are Meaty
Don’t throw away portobello stems! Cut off the bottoms, then cook the rest the way you would the caps. They are full of flavor and have a great texture. With shiitakes, thinly slice the stems and cook them a little longer than the caps — I actually prefer them to the caps because they’re chewier.
A small rubber spatula will help you get the most out of a jar, whether it’s peanut butter, tomato sauce, or mustard you’re after.
Buy Less Fresh Food at a Time
Fresh food goes bad quickly in warm weather. Curb your enthusiasm when buying vegetables, fresh cheeses, and raw meat, and buy only what you can eat in a few days. Stock up on fresh ingredients that last, like root vegetables, onions and garlic, hard cheeses, and eggs.
Leftover cooked grains are the base for a grain salad; the crumbs at the bottom of a chip bag make a crunchy chili topping; and the dry ends of a bread loaf can be ground into crumbs, added to burgers, or blended into soups, like gazpacho.