Throwing away a carton of never opened strawberries or a half-empty container of yogurt hurts. Time got away. You bought it because it looked good, and now you’ll never be able to enjoy it without replacing it. The frustration comes out in a heavy sigh as you make space on the fridge shelf.
End the dreaded ritual of throwing out the food you simply couldn’t get to in time. Sure, you can change how you shop or even how you eat, but you can also change how you use food at home. Reduce your food waste, saving your wallet money, your back from additional heavy hauls of garbage to the curb, and your evenings from an unexpected trip to the store with these 3 easy tricks.
If you find your milk keeps spoiling before you finish the jug, don’t keep milk in the door of your refrigerator. In fact, don’t keep milk in the front of the fridge. While it may be more convenient, it’s also causing your milk to spoil faster. Opening the door to the fridge to study its contents and contemplate what you need for your next meal lets the cold out, with items in the front taking the longest to cool again once that door shuts. Instead, place milk in the back of the fridge. This will keep it cold and dramatically slow bacteria growth that causes milk to spoil.
If the journey to the back of your fridge is perilous, freeze small batches of milk, thawing out a new batch every few days to help that jug stay fresh. Be sure to keep track of when each batch was frozen. Milk is freshest the first three months, so when you start adding batches from a new jug, make sure to finish the older milk instead of burying it deep in the freezer.
Also try to plan your meal schedule according to which ingredients will begin to spoil sooner. While a homemade pizza is quick and always satisfies cravings, its ingredients can stay fresh longer than those for a mango avocado taco night. Regularly take stock of what is in the fridge to see which recipe is next on the list, saving you from an emergency dinner delivery.
Quantities of products are never the exact amount you need, so plan a special night each week to get creative with leftovers. For example, if you find a lost almost-empty carton of milk from weeks earlier that isn’t spoiled but on its way, add it to recipes as you would buttermilk, making a dressing to add to dinner or a batch of muffins that contain the last of the fruit salad. A homemade soup with leftover chicken, a smoothie bowl of fruit and yogurt, or sauteing veggies to add to pasta will help clear out the fridge before any surprise spoilage happens. Here are some tricks to using up leftovers and produce.
Enjoy the foods you choose without fearing—of all things—spoilage spoiling your meal plans.