An estimated 25% of the food that enters American homes gets wasted. The average U.S. household spends more than $133 a month, or $1,600 a year on food it throws away. That is not good economics, nor is it a reflection of good menu planning in the kitchen and there is a lot you can do to change that. But first, let’s look at this issue on a national and global basis. In the U.S. we waste 40% of our food from farm to table. That’s enough food to fill a large stadium every day, before it even gets to us. Globally, up to 50% of edible food is wasted. A recent study commissioned by the U.N. Food & Agricultural Organization estimated that 1.3 billion metric tons of food goes to waste annually around the world. Think of all the waste from individual kitchens, restaurants, hotels, parties, meetings, etc., world-wide! That equates to one-third of all food produced for humans. And yet, in America alone, 1 in 6 Americans (49 million) don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Even more heart wrenching is the fact that over 16 million of those who are food insecure in the U.S. are children. This is nearly the same number of all kids enrolled in every kindergarten through third grades across the nation.
Most of this wasted food goes straight to the landfill where it is sealed over with a layer of daily landfill cover, which leads to the anaerobic breakdown of the food. So rather than turning into soil through composting, it generates the potent greenhouse gas methane, contributing to global warming.
Many communities are taking on the challenge of shifting practices around food purchasing, handling and disposal with the goal being to stop paying to put our food in landfills where it has the most negative impact and instead use that food to achieve positive results. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Composting Council have recently developed a food-recovery chart showing the preferred uses of food waste. After all, food waste is still food whether for humans, animals or microbes in compost.
What can you do?
6 Tips to Save Money & Prevent Food Waste At Home
We all have produce cull and trimmings, and even the most vigilant food savers end up with the occasional wilted lettuce or moldy leftovers. Try these six tips to minimize the volume of waste.
1. Buy less, more often.
2. Scan your refrigerator, freezer and pantry before heading out to the farmers market or the store. Plan dishes and meals that incorporate what you already have that needs to be used first.
*Eat what is ripe and ready rather than what your palate may think it wants. In other words, when planning for dinner, ask yourself, what needs to be eaten? Let’s say you open the refrigerator and see that you have some leftover fish brought home from a restaurant meal two days ago, some old corn tortillas, ¼ of a head of cabbage, part of an onion and ½ of a tomato you cut yesterday. You close the refrigerator and look on the counter to see some shriveling peaches, look in the pantry and see a can of black eyed peas. Most people would throw all that out and make something new, but you, with your newly discovered charge to save some money and save the planet, set your mind to work and soon, presto-chango, abracadabra, wha-la! Fish tacos with cabbage, topped with a tomato-peach-onion salsa and a side of black-eyed peas! Congratulations, you did it!
3. Learn about your food’s shelf life and how long it can be stored in the freezer. “Best by” and “use by” dates are not standardized or regulated and do not necessarily mean that the food is inedible if it is past those dates. Let your nose and taste buds be your best guide in these circumstances.
4. Learn how to properly store food to extend its life. Putting food in the correct bag or container, adding water, a slice of bread or a paper towel in the bag or container and placing food on the correct shelf or in the correct drawer of the refrigerator can make the difference of many days of freshness.
5. Use the freezer to temporarily stop the aging process. Freeze fruit for smoothies (peel bananas before freezing them) or turn ripe fruit into ice pops. Freeze vegetables to use in soups or stews.
6. Create a system for saving unusable food (dried ends of celery, peelings, spoiled food, etc.) to use in composting or save for animals that enjoy food scraps (chickens and pigs).
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7871407
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