How many times have you thrown out leftovers, rotten vegetables and… well, something fuzzy that used to be food? Food waste not only creates stinky trash, it also wastes money. Here are some ways to make sure your food makes it to your mouth and not the landfill.
Sometimes leftovers are thrown out prematurely. According to the Mayo Clinic, most leftovers stay fresh for three to four days. Just be sure to heat the leftovers until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) to kill any bacteria that may have grown.
So three to four days sounds OK, but the big problem is it's hard to remember just how long something has been in the fridge.
Make it easy on yourself by putting a magnetic dry erase board on your fridge door. Every time you put something new in the refrigerator, be sure to mark down the item's name and the date on the dry erase board.
At BigOven, click on the Ideas > Use up leftovers options, then pick three ingredients that you have on hand. Then, click on BigOven, what can I make? The site will come up with a recipe to use up your ingredients.
Fresh meat that you plan on cooking in the next couple of days should be kept wrapped in the meat drawer or on the bottom shelf of the fridge. This is the coldest area and will keep your meat fresher, longer.
Also, don't leave fruits and vegetables in their plastic grocery bags. This will make them spoil faster. Put them in an open mesh bag, a plastic organizing basket or just leave them loose in the crisper drawer.
If you always seem to let fruits and vegetables ruin no matter how hard you try, consider buying canned or frozen. According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, a nonprofit in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, produce canned in water (not syrup) and frozen items are healthy choices.
Wilted fresh herbs are a bummer. To keep them perky, skip rinsing them right away. Water will make the leaves rot. Instead, trim the stems and put them in a glass of water on a window sill. Just remember to rinse the herbs before you use them.
If you've ever come across lumpy milk or cheese with mold growing on it, you probably have a hard time keeping up with your foods' expiration dates. Luckily, there's an app for that. Fridgely on iOS, for example, will scan your grocery receipt or barcodes and will alert you when a food is about to spoil. Expired & Grocery Monitor for Android also lets you scan bar codes with your phone to keep track of your foods' freshness.