Did you know that Americans waste more than $218 billion worth of food annually? That means that every person in America throws more than 650 average-sized apples into landfills each year.
Food waste has become a growing problem in developed countries, leading to environmental and economic impacts. Luckily, there are ways to reduce food waste. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency developed the Food Recovery Hierarchy, which aims to prioritize prevention and divert food waste from entering landfills.
Today, on April 26, all of us can prevent food waste on our own terms. Here are eight easy food hacks:
1. Put your bread in the freezer.
Bread usually lasts 3 to 7 days when sealed at room temperature. If you have bought a huge loaf and couldn’t finish it within this time frame, it is best to put it in the freezer. When you wrap the bread well and put it in the freezer, it can last for more than half a year.
If you want to make some morning toast, simply put the frozen bread in the toaster. Then, the texture of the frozen bread will be similar to the texture of the bread at room temperature.
2. Make banana bread with ripe bananas.
This works very well! Many recipes state that the secret ingredient to banana bread is bananas with black or brown shells. However, if the inside of the banana is also spoiled, do not put them in your banana bread recipe. Instead, you can compost them, use them as a skincare product, or feed them to plants and animals.
3. Too much spinach? Add it to your smoothie!
If you bought too much spinach, don’t think about throwing it away. Instead, add it to your smoothie. Although it may change the color and nutritional levels, the smoothie will taste the same. You can also make detox smoothies for more vitamins and minerals.
4. Put your rice in the fridge or freezer.
Many of us decide to leave cooked rice at room temperature. But in reality, the spores can grow into bacteria leading to food poisoning. So, it’s better to leave rice in the fridge, where it can last from 3 to 5 days. Rice stored in the freezer can last up to a month, just in case you made plenty of it.
5. Put eggshells in your garden.
After making some delicious scrambled eggs, save your eggshells for your plants. The calcium from the eggshells will moderate the soil acidity levels and provide nutrients for the plants. You can place your eggshells directly in the soil or make eggshell water. If you choose the latter option, all you need to do is place some eggshells in boiled water overnight and strain the shells from the water.
6. Use vegetables as plants.
If you love to grow plants, you can use some scrap vegetables to grow new ones. All you need to do is cut off the top of the vegetable and place it in a cup of water. Leave it near a sunny area, and a plant will start to grow. Some vegetables you can try are carrot tops, green onion tops, romaine lettuce, and avocado pits.
7. Squeeze lemon juice over avocados.
Do you love your morning avocado toast? You may be surprised to hear that there’s a way to increase the shelf life of an avocado. If you cut too many avocado slices, grab some fresh lemon juice and apply a coat. Then, wrap the avocado using plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for two to three days. This will prevent browning.
8. Save your fruit peels for snacks.
Believe it or not, fruit peels can be used as homemade snacks. Ditch those store-bought, over-processed potato chips and grab some orange or banana peels from your morning fruit bowl. Put them in boiling water for half an hour, let them dry, and add sugar. Dip them in chocolate or any other kind of syrup, and enjoy.
Instead of throwing away food, recycle it to grow new plants or make new snacks or desserts. These methods will save up a lot of landfill space and money. So, on National Stop Food Waste Day, let’s take action and change our habits in the kitchen. Comment down below which one is your favorite!
Featured image via Sarah Chai on Pexels