For those of you already registered on www.Recyclebank.com
you may have already seen “Freshpedition™”, but if you haven’t I highly recommend viewing this web-based documentary (and while you are there if you haven’t registered to recycle in Bridgeport – SIGN-UP!). Not only is it highly entertaining and informative, but you can earn up to 30 points on your Recyclebank account. It’s premise – a celebrity chef (Ben) and a GE™ refrigerator engineer (Justin) journey more than 1500 miles with the new GE™ French Door Refrigerator to deliver a fresh meal to a wildlife biologist (Ron) studying in a remote location and living on canned food. “BORING”, I know that is
what you are thinking, but this reality web television is quite entertaining and also gives great recipes, as well as being informative about food spoilage. This road trip pairs-up free-spirited, creative chef Ben with uptight, very intelligent, lives-by-a-plan Justin. Their adventure has Justin milking goats, catching gators, and cutting his khakis to catch crawfish all to bring a fresh meal and a big surprise to remote Ron. Trust me when I say: “it’s worth your viewing time”! (check it out at https://www.recyclebank.com/how-to-earn/details/follow-the-freshpedition-6459
However, in my eyes, viewing television of any kind should have a purpose. This “Freshpedition™” has a purpose – to promote a new refrigerator – but more importantly environmentally conscious GE™ tackles the issue of food spoilage and develops a product to help prevent food spoilage from ending up in the local landfills. Last week my blog addressed composting – turning yard and food waste into decayed organic matter to be reused for soil enrichment. This week the focus turns to preventing food from spoiling in the first place so you save money and prevent food waste. According to GE™, in 2010, 14% of America’s landfills were made up of food waste, which amounted to a loss of approximately $590.00 a year for family of 4. So composting is a great way to dispose of food waste, but what about preventing food waste as much as possible? All food eventually spoils, but if you know the best ways to prevent it from spoiling before you can use it, then it is a win-win: you benefit from fresh food and save the hard-earned money you already spent to purchase it in the first place!
To start, there are a couple things to keep in mind before you even buy your food: (1) buy fresh locally; (2) decide the best way to shop; and (3) research how to store your fresh food. First, the freshest food is almost always bought locally. When you buy local you know food is fresh because less or no preservatives were used to aid in its travel and you can usually buy just what you need. As an added benefit, you are helping the local community. So before your next trip to the grocery store, stop at a local produce stand, call a local meat supplier, or plan your next trip to the farmers market and buy fresh!
Second, decide the best way to grocery shop for your family. One of the most common stories of food spoilage is “I bought it to make . . . , but didn’t have the time to actually make it this week and now it’s bad.” I’ve done it a million times! So if you are a planning family, plan your meals for the week based on your schedules and buy accordingly. However, if you do not like to plan and you have the time, buy the non-perishable items you need and make more frequent stops to buy the fresh meat, dairy and produce you need.
Third, get knowledgeable about preserving your foods for as long as possible. This may be to research products and either invest in storage containers that aid in keeping fresh food fresh or even investing in a new refrigerator like the GE™ French Door refrigerator which makes it easy to store fresh foods in the right way to prevent them from spoiling as long as possible. Another way is to learn how to store foods properly. Erin Kennedy featured a post on September 2, 2011, “How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling” on her blog My Thirty Spot (www.mythirtyspot.com
or a direct link at http://www.mythirtyspot.com/2011/09/how-to-store-fruits-and-vegetables-so.html
. Erin lists almost every possible fruit and vegetable and how to store them properly to prevent them from spoiling as long as possible. Claudia Newcorn, an e-How contributor, wrote the basics for storing fresh meat in her post on www.e-how.com
. There are truly invaluable resources and will ultimately save you money each year!
As a final note for preventing food waste – USE LEFTOVERS! If you make more than your family eats then make use of the leftovers. If the food is something that can be turned into an entirely new meal, then do so. For example, leftover ham can be used to make ham salad, split pea soup, etc., etc. If you have a meal that is leftover, but can’t be turned into anything else, then pack it for lunches the next day. If you put it in lunch portion containers as you are putting it away right after dinner, then you are much more likely to grab it the next morning as you leave. And for those of you who absolutely will not eat any food that is leftover, pack it up and take it to neighbors or friends who may be in need of such a gesture. Or pack an extra lunch portion for work to share with a co-worker. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t appreciate a home-cooked meal (even if it was prepared the day before) rather than rushing for fast-food or microwaving a frozen meal.