4 Zero Waste fridge tips
Food waste is a huge issue in North America. The annual cost of avoidable food loss and waste in Canada is an average of $1,766 per household. That's insane! On top of that, 1 in 10 households in Alberta experience food insecurity and inadequate access to food. We should have gratitude for the food on our plate, acknowledging that the food we throw out has an impact on both on the environment, and our economy.
The key to a zero-waste fridge is maintenance, cleaning and organizing it on a regular basis. I know for some, this may seem daunting and maybe not your top priority, but this small change will not only minimize the amount of food you throw out, but it will save you money!
Our tips for keeping a zero-waste fridge:
1. Store produce properly. Use cloth bags and vessels like produce bags, tea towels or specialized vegetable bags, and your veggies will stay fresh for much longer. Produce like Kale, lettuce, spinach, bell peppers and cauliflower can be stored wrapped up in a tea towel or in a cloth bag, spritzed with water and stored in the crisper. Checking on your produce consistently is important - check on the veg you’ve wrapped up every few days, giving it another spritz if needed. Plus, if you aren't big on menu planning days in advance, you'll know when it's time to be creative and use it in a meal.
2. Buy what you need, and buy less. Don't be afraid to let your fridge go bare. An abundance doesn't mean you have more food-it mostly means you have more waste. When you go bare, you have an opportunity to get creative and use all the food in your fridge. You know what you have and you save a shit ton of money!
3. Choose products with minimal and mindful packaging. Ask yourself questions like "How can I buy this with less packaging? Can I make this myself?" and "Is this item sold without plastic or in the bulk section?" When you are buying less packaged food, you are also voting for a healthier life. You are eating real, whole foods and making meals that nourish your body.
4. Freeze your food. When veggies are getting soft in my fridge, I always make them into a soup, and if I don't feel like soup, I make it anyhow and freeze it for a chilly day. Veggie scraps can easily be made into a nourishing, homemade vegetable broth that you can freeze. I usually pop my scraps in the freezer until I have time to make a broth. Beans, can be soaked, cooked and stored this way too. Make sure all of your veggies are washed before storing so when they do become soft and wilty you can freeze them. Wilted greens are excellent for smoothies!
A big part of zero-waste living is using what you have before buying new. Stock up on a few staples like rice, quinoa, beans, pasta etc. and use those to create a dish with whatever produce you've got leftover in the fridge. A few spices, a good oil and you've got yourself a tasty meal.
What are your favourite tips for keeping a zero-waste fridge? Let us know in the comments below!
Stay tuned for more on food storage tips coming soon.