By Cheryl Ryan
Maybe it’s because of gardening or my weird preoccupation with homesteading but I really don’t like wasting food. I have thrown out so much food in my life but now I have a much greater appreciation of how much water and energy it takes to grow, raise and deliver our food and it feels great — that one time it happened — to have used all the fresh food in my fridge before my next trip to the market.
I’ve started to organize my food better. Instead of just shoving everything in the fridge I put like foods together so that I can really see what’s left before my next shopping. Our different kinds of milk, cheeses, fresh veggies, yogurts, etc.
And I use my freezer like I never did before. When we had a full house of kids we went though bread well before it went bad. But with just two of us a loaf of bread will go bad before we use it. So now I buy a fresh loaf of my favorite bread (lately I’m loving batard) and slice it while it’s really fresh then freeze it. We pull out a piece and toast it as needed and it’s great. So many foods are fine when frozen properly. You can even freeze milk for up to six months.
A few great tips I’ve learned from my son in law are to fill a mason jar with water and put all my herbs in it like a vase of flowers. I store it in my fridge door and it last for weeks. And when they do start to go bad I whip up a pesto type sauce depending on which herbs there are. A favorite for cilantro is this dip. So good on salads. Also, I’ve started to put a dampened paper towel in the greens bag that I buy from the farmer’s market. Some pre-packaged greens that you buy in the stores already have that but if they don’t it helps them last the entire week. I’ve also started putting a dry paper towel in my vegetable drawers so that my veggies aren’t sitting in water.
I haven’t learned how to can fruit from my tree harvests yet. Hopefully, I’ll give that a go this year but a friend gave me a great tip for all those tomatoes at the end of tomato season. Cut the tomatoes in half drizzle with olive oil, garlic and salt. Then roast the tomatoes for about an hour. Once cooled remove the skins and viola you have the best simple marinara sauce and no wasted tomatoes.
Many of you may know these tips. I’ve been slow to catch up but if you have any other ideas, please share them with us.
* Disclaimer: This is not a picture of my refrigerator, but a girl can dream.