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Five Ways to Reduce Food Waste at Home

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Food waste is a significant global issue, with millions of tons of food being discarded every year. In addition to the environmental impact of food waste, it is also a major financial burden.  Fortunately, one of the most effective ways to reduce food waste is through home cooking. By adopting a few simple habits, home cooks can significantly reduce their food waste and save money.

1. Meal Planning

One of the most important things that home cooks can do to reduce food waste is to plan their meals in advance. By creating a meal plan and a shopping list, cooks can ensure that they only purchase the ingredients they need, reducing the likelihood of excess food going to waste.   Using In My Kitchen can help plan meals by showing what you can make with what you've got on hand.

2. Use Leftovers

Home cooks can make use of leftovers and ingredients that are close to their expiration dates. For example, leftover vegetables can be used to create soups or stews, while overripe fruit can be used in smoothies or baked goods.

3. Use All Parts

Another way to reduce food waste is to make use of all parts of an ingredient. For example, vegetable stems and leaves can be used to create flavorful broths or added to salads, while animal bones and scraps can be used to create rich stocks. By using these typically discarded parts of ingredients, home cooks can reduce their waste and create new and delicious dishes.

4. Proper Food Storage

Proper storage is also key to reducing food waste. By storing ingredients in the right conditions, home cooks can extend the lifespan of their food and prevent spoilage. For example, fruits and vegetables should be stored in separate containers in the refrigerator, while dry goods such as pasta and rice should be stored in airtight containers to prevent pests and moisture from damaging them.

5. Use Those (Slightly) Imperfect Ingredients

Finally, home cooks can use their creativity to make use of ingredients that may not be immediately appealing. For example, wilted lettuce can be used to create a alad dressing, while stale bread can be used to create croutons or breadcrumbs. Overripe bananas make also great banana bread.

By using these often-discarded ingredients, home cooks can create delicious and unique dishes while reducing their food waste.  Be sure to check expiration dates and avoid using food that is truly spoiled.

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