Every year, around 1.3 billion tonnes of food fit for human consumption goes to waste globally, generating 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the food that is lost and wasted could feed 1.26 billion hungry people.
In the U.S alone, 119 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year. About 39% of this food waste (approximately 42 billion pounds) is produced by our homes.
If you’re wondering how you can make a difference and live more sustainably, cutting food waste at home is a good place to start.
The number one rule is to buy only what you are really going to use. Correctly storing your fresh produce and pantry staples can also help reduce food wastage. Here are a few easy ways to stock your food to keep them fresh for longer:
- Soak your berries: Consider soaking fresh berries in diluted vinegar for five minutes before rinsing and refrigerating to keep them fresh for longer, suggests UNFI.
- Dry out herbs: Fresh herbs can go bad quickly in the fridge. To make them last longer, dry out your herbs by hanging them upside down with a twine in your kitchen. Once they are completely dry, transfer them in reusable glass jars and label them.
- Don’t remove meat packaging: Store all your fresh meat and poultry, in its original packaging, in its own drawer or at the bottom shelf of the fridge. Also, make sure the fridge’s temperature is set between 35°F-40°F.
- Store milk at the back of your fridge. The refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge. Store milk and other dairy products like cream, yogurt, etc. at the back of the lower shelves so they don’t spoil quickly.
- Store the same type of fruits and vegetables together: Some fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas and tomatoes emit a gas called ethylene. Storing them with other fruits and vegetables that are more sensitive to ethylene such as cabbage, cucumbers and carrots can cause them to deteriorate faster. So store the same type of fruits and veggies together instead of mixing everything up.
- Use lemons to prevent Browning: Squeeze some lemon or lime juice on chopped apples, bananas and avocados. “The acid in these juices acts as a natural preservative to help your produce last longer,” says UNFI.
- Don’t store citrus fruits at room temperature: Keep citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges in an airtight container in the refrigerator instead of storing them at room temperature. This will keep them fresh and good to eat for nearly two weeks,notes UNFI.
Head over here to learn more about other ways you can reduce food waste.
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