6 Ways To Eliminate Food Waste

Eliminating food waste is a big way to save money.  Every piece of food you throw in the garbage can or down the disposal cost you money and is a waste.  Figuring out ways to reduce waste can be key in reducing your grocery bill.

There are a few tips you can use to reduce your food waste:

  1. Make a list of what you’re throwing out – If you start seeing a pattern in that you’re pouring half a gallon of milk down the drain, then it’s time to start buying smaller quantities.  Seeing patterns will help you eliminate them.
  2. FIFO – This stands for ‘first in, first out’.  Whether it be with fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurt containers, or even canned goods, make sure you move the oldest stuff to the front so that you are increasing the chance of buying before the expiration date
  3. Keep fridge items in clear container – What you can’t see you will often forget about.  Put leftovers, cut up fruit, and similar items in clear containers so that you will increase your likelihood of seeing them when you’re in the fridge.
  4. Keep items in the same place – This works for your pantry and fridge.  Keep your fruit in one drawer, veggies in the other.  Keep all your dressings and condiments together.  Put milk and juice on the same shelf every time.  Leftovers all go in one area.  When things get spread around, they get forgotten about or lost in the shuffle.
  5. Clean out your freezer regularly – Our freezer is the spot where we find things going to waste more often.  It’s easier than anywhere else to push something to the back and forget about it, only to find it a frostbitten mess months later.  Re-organize your freezer every few months to keep space clear (avoiding future cluttering and cramming) and to bring things to the front that might have gotten lost in the shuffle but maybe can be saved.
  6.  Buy good containers…and burp them – A good food storage container will keep something fresh for much longer than keeping it uncovered or in a poorly designed container.  A good container should allow you to slightly raise the lid while subsequently pressing down to ‘burp’ the air out of them, slowing the process that causes many foods to break down.

By and large, we don’t throw out too much food.  We’ll find the very occasional ‘ewww, gross’ item or stuff that’s been pushed to the back of the freezer to die a slow death, but I think we do much better than we used to.


How much food do you find yourself throwing away?  Do you have any other tips and tricks to eliminate waste?  Please leave a comment and let me know what works (and what doesn’t) in your household.

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The Perfect Baked Bean Recipe

I’m not one for baked beans.  In fact, normally I avoid them.  I don’t know why that is.  I like beans.  I like baked things.  But, for the most part, baked beans don’t do it for me.

My wife found a recipe that so far has been a big hit.  Everyone we’ve served it to who does like baked beans loves this recipe.  And even me, who doesn’t like baked beans….loves it!

Courtesy of the Food Network:

Note: The original recipe is posted below.  My wife doesn’t like bacon so we make it without.  My mom actually made this as well and cut the molasses down to somewhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup and it was awesome.  Lessons learned: Tweak to your liking!

Ingredients

  • 4 (16-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 (6-ounce) can french-fried onions, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, mix together beans, pineapple, molasses, BBQ sauce, mustard, 1/4 of the bacon, and 1/4 of the onions. Add some salt and pepper, to taste. Pour beans in 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle remaining crushed onions and bacon on top. Cook in oven for 1 hour or until beans brown and bubble. Serve warm.

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Homemade Shamrock Shake Recipe

I live in the Metro Detroit area, so Bargains to Bounty has become one of my favorite websites.  They provide coupon links, information about grocery stores, and a variety of money saving ideas that are often (but not always) specific to saving money around town.

Hopefully each of you is lucky enough to have a site like that which can save you some bucks.

If not, it’s time to move to Detroit!

Anyways, one of the latest things that they posted was a recipe for homemade Shamrock Shakes, originally posted at Saving Dollars and Sense  I think I had one a while back, though it’s been a few years.  Everybody raves about them, though, so they must be good.

If you want to treat your family and save some money, check out the recipe at the link above.  I’d be interested to know how they turn out!

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An Awesome Change By Restaurant.Com

We’ve used Restaurant.com for years.  The way it works is that you buy a coupon that gives you a dollar amount off the meal, and the price you pay for the coupon is way less than the face value.  Typically, you can get a $25 certificate for $10 or a $10 certificate for $4.  Towards the end of the month, they’ll often run 70% or 80% off specials (all you have to do is enter the promo code that they distribute to their e-mail members) so you can get them much cheaper.

We’ve run into very few problems over the years.  One time we had a restaurant refuse to honor the certificate, saying that they had opted out of the program but that Restaurant.com had not removed them from the site, but they later sent us a gift card as an apology.

They recently made a change that I think is awesome.  In the past, you had one year to use a certificate after purchasing it, otherwise it expired.  Now, they have removed that restriction, so as long as the restaurant is open and still participating, you can use the certificates.  From what I understand, any previously expired certificates are now valid as well.  There are two certificates that we never got around to using that I had written off (I think they were $10 certificates that we’d paid $0.80 each for) but I’m now going to go back and attempt to print them, as I know both restaurants are still open and both participate.

So, if your eyes were bigger than your stomach and you never got around to using some of your certificates, go back and check, because you may be in for a pleasant surprise!

Thanks to my dad for passing this tidbit along!

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