Food: Easy ways to cut food waste at home

(NC) With rising food prices, we’re all feeling the pinch. Here are four ways you can cut food waste at home so your grocery dollars can go further.

Make a plan
To avoid buying excess perishables, you should always take stock of what you already have at home before you go grocery shopping. In fact, what you already have in your fridge and freezer should be your starting point for menu planning. There are numerous online tools that can suggest recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.

Stock up on stock
Making your own stock is a great way to use up scraps, save money and take control over what’s in your family’s meals. Whenever you’re trimming vegetables, from carrot tops to the green part of leeks, toss the scraps into a freezer bag along with any produce that’s too wilted to consume fresh. Once you have a full bag, simmer up a pot of stock. For heartier, more flavourful stocks, freeze your roast chicken or turkey carcasses, save beef bones from steaks and ribs and add these to the mix.

Refresh and repurpose
Rather than tossing out bread that’s gone stale, you can chop it into bite-sized pieces, toss it with some oil and herbs, and then lightly toast it in the oven for homemade croutons. Another option is to make your own breadcrumbs. First, grind the bread in a blender and then toast the fine pieces in the oven to remove any moisture. Store in an air-tight container.

Freeze extras
If you won’t be able to finish off all your leftovers within a couple of days of cooking, you should freeze the extras. You can also prevent certain items – such as pizza or pasta sauce –from spoiling after you open a jar by freezing the leftovers once you first use them. Ice cube trays help you create the perfect portions to dole out when needed.

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