Monday, March 17, 2014

Rotate your Kitchen Stock Like a Business to Save Food, Money and Waste

Buckets of garden vegetables including squash, cucumbers and beans
Use Older Vegetables First
You've probably read about the quantity of food wasted in the U.S. each year in articles like this one from NPR. We waste enough food to feed us all.
The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that 40 percent of all food is wasted in the United States each year.

Arriving home with the groceries may be the end of the shopping trip, but is just the beginning of the organization required to run an efficient kitchen. You need to rotate your stock so you don't have all the new purchases in the front or on top. Old cans can swell and burst, and the mess can be worse than you imagine, in addition to the loss and waste of food. Fresh fruits and vegetables lose flavor and spoil over time, creating more food loss and money spent needlessly.
An easy way to rotate your pantry stock is to pull all the old products to the front of the shelving and place the new items in the back.
Remove the fruits and vegetables from the crisper drawers and place the new items in the bottom. When you buy fresh vegetables and fruits, chop the old ones and place in the freezer, or cook something that uses the older produce. Chop older celery and bell peppers and freeze in plastic zipper bags for seasoning for soups and stews. Tomatoes can be chopped and frozen as well. Use apples and citrus fruits in a fruit salad.
Your frozen food can be handled the same way. Freeze your newest purchases, then place them on the bottom or behind similar items that are older. Your oldest products will be on top and easy to locate.
Make country fries or scalloped potatoes with the older potatoes. For country fries, wash the potatoes and slice lengthwise unpeeled. Place a single layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet with a tablespoon of oil. Season and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
Peel the potatoes for scalloped potatoes. Slice and season in a greased oven-safe baking dish. Add some milk and Velveeta or similar cheese to cover the potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until the potatoes are tender. We have an ebook on Amazon with tips and recipes if you'd like more recipes and information about frugal living.
Efficiency and frugality in the kitchen starts when you come in from grocery shopping. In addition to rotation of stock, ignore most date codes and dates on food products. These codes are for manufacturers and retailers to identify recalls and rotate the shelf stock, not for you to discard the products after the "best by" date. The federal government regulates coding on some baby food, but all other codes are optional. Use your senses of smell and vision to determine if foods are still palatable. Most are good long after the "sell by" or "use by" dates.
Wasting food is wasting money and contributing to the landfills. You can save money, food and the environment when you return from grocery shopping. Your kitchen will be better organized and you may save yourself some cleanup.

See you soon!