The USDA reports that between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste each year. This equates to well over $100 billion in food waste annually. Not to play the guilt game on you that your mother did when you wouldn’t finish your food as a kid, but it is rather heartbreaking to think of the sustenance crowding our landfills that millions of starving people around the world would have been grateful for. In all likelihood, you aren’t some mustache-twirling millionaire who enjoys throwing out food. You’re probably like the many Americans who simply don’t get around to eating certain things before they go bad. You do your best to plan your meals for the week and buy ingredients that you believe you’ll eat, but you still find yourself dumping bags of grapes and tubs of cream cheese in the garbage can. It stings a little every time. You almost feel like you’re taking food out of someone’s mouth by doing it. You also see your dollars going in the trash.
Planning out groceries better and taking stock of what you have before buying more are some ways you can prevent food waste. But there are also some clever hacks that can prolong the life of some popular foods so you don’t have to race the clock before things become moldy, floppy, soggy, or stale. Keep in mind that stuffing yourself to the point of discomfort with food that’s about to expire isn’t really preventing food waste, either. If you didn’t need the calories, it was kind of a waste. Let’s all try to honor our resources, and follow these tips for keeping popular foods fresh.
Add these to your fridge
If you’ve ever seen what looked like plastic fruit in your friend’s refrigerator, it might have been the very thing conserving her produce. Ethylene gas is emitted by many fruits and vegetables but makes its neighboring produce go bad quickly. Ethylene absorbers like these do just what their name says, allowing your produce to last up to three times as long than it would without them. The plastic containers have a lid that screws on and off and holds packets that do the absorbing, and the packets need to be replaced every three months. They also absorb odors to keep your refrigerator smelling fresher.