Here are some things you can do to reduce kitchen waste

sleek middle class kitchen
Photo: Education Images / Contributor (Getty Images)

I toss out more food than I should. The biggest issues are when I only use part of something to cook a recipe, like an onion. I’ll wrap up the other half and put it in the fridge, and then forget about it. Next thing I know, I’m reaching in for something later and I find a sour onion-scented blob marinating in its own juices. Food52 has come up with a handy list of 15 tips to employ when you’re trying not to, well, be me. Here are a few I found particularly useful.

Advertisement

One, which I do now and then, is what the Food52 writers refer to as “cooking down the pantry,” meaning, go through all the stuff that’s been sitting in that cupboard and just find a way to cook with it. They suggest pancakes or granola. I suggest soup, if you’re cleaning out the dusty canned vegetables.

Then, there’s the “think like a restaurant owner” suggestion for your refrigerator, which is absolutely key. At the restaurant I worked at (and occasionally still do), we used the term “FIFO” a lot. FIFO stands for “First in, first out.” When it boils down to is, cook with the oldest items first. So when you put your groceries away, put the new stuff in the back of the fridge with the older stuff closer to the front, so you grab that first.

I’ll leave you with one more sustainability tip from the article that doesn’t involve food but which I found useful, and that’s cut back on your paper towels, everyone. It’s hard at first, but if you start using washable towels or rags and invest in a little basket to put them in once you’re done, you’re going to cut down on paper towels, big time. Food52 suggests you put paper towels in a hard-to-reach spot somewhere; if mind games work for you, then go for it. But cutting down on paper towels isn’t too difficult and it does make a big difference.

There’s a lot more suggestions, some of which are geared towards parents, so it’s worth a look today if you’re looking for ways to waste less in the kitchen.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

Ah, “cooking down the pantry.” I was unfamiliar with the term, but that’s what I am in the process in right now since we’re about to move and need to get rid of as much stuff in our pantry and fridge/freezer as we can. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how many variations of [fill in the blank]+rice/couscous/pasta/etc I can cobble together. Last week it was canned chickpeas, fresh jalapenos, and linguini. This week it’s chicken hearts and bulgur with onion and canned tomato.