This is my fridge…no, silly, it does not usually look like this…but I’m carefully cultivating an image here on this blog…so we’ll just pretend that it always looks like this. It looked like this when I took this picture because I had just finished reading Simply Being Mum’s blog where she posts each Friday about the food that she has wasted that week. She does not waste much. The accountability of taking a photo of her fridge each week and blogging about the withered lettuce and the moldy salsa seems to have transformed her into someone who really pays attention to her food and really appreciates what she has been blessed with. I hope that can happen to me. I waste a lot of food. I am embarrassed by how much food I waste. I shop each week with grand intentions of all of the wonderful, homemade, minimally processed meals and snacks I am going to make…and then the end of the week comes around and I'm dumping stuff, left and right, into the garbage. A half a watermelon gone bad, a container of buttermilk for those pancakes I never got around to making, a forgotten about tub of cream cheese waaaayyyy in the back. And those grapes!! Why do they sell so many in those bags? We can never seem to get through them before they shrivel up. I know, I know…I could just buy a smaller quantity…but they look so delicious and I am always convinced that we will eat them all. I don't know if I will ever have the courage to document my weekly food waste, but I have begun to think more about this and am trying to put some strategies in place to help. Those of us who are blessed with the resources to purchase fresh, plentiful food must be careful to never take this privilege for granted. I, for one, have some serious work to do in this area. Here are some tips that I took away from Simple Mum's site.
1. Before you make up your grocery list each week, take some time to clean out your fridge and figure out what you have. If there are items that need to be used up soon, plan your next few meals around those items.
2. Go to a site like Allrecipes.com where you can enter an ingredient that you need to use up and search for recipes using that particular item.
3. If you find something that's starting to look "sad", think about how you might salvage it. Berries can be thrown into a smoothie, bell peppers can be roasted, lemons and limes can be cut up and frozen to be used for drinks later.
4. If you are not already meal planning each week, give this a try. It really helps to have some sort of general idea of what you will be making to cut down on wasted food (and to cut down on the trips to…insert favorite take out place here!)
5. If you ever do achieve the minimalist look in your fridge (a small family could live in here!) make sure to put something in there to help keep the refrigerator operating efficiently. Apparently, an empty fridge uses more energy. Simple Mum suggests putting containers of water or other beverages on the shelves.
So go check out your cold storage and rescue a couple of limes. And the next time you go food shopping…remember…you will never eat all of those grapes.