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Reducing food waste

How would you like to have an extra $2,500 at the end of this year?

I’m notorious for buying more at the grocery store than we can eat. I always have good intentions, but a lot of it ends up looking like a botany experiment in my fridge.

Joan Ruskamp is a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. She says not only are we wasting the food, but we’re also wasting the resources that went into bringing that food to our homes. Farmers manage their resources to raise food so there’s no waste. Ruskamp says they’re looking for ways to bridge that gap. One is with the pocketbook.

"If it’s not for environmental reasons or time, what about $2500? Because that’s what we estimate is lost every year and so can a family use $2500? Yes," says Ruskamp. "And so maybe that’s enough incentive, you know sometimes when we’re paid to do a survey or paid to do something we’ll do it. This is payment that will come back to you."

A key to reducing food waste is to think ahead and be creative. You might even find a new favorite dish.

"Things like when we go to that grocery store and we’re buying food, look at the perishable items," she says. "The fruits, vegetables, those perish pretty fast and are we using them fast enough? Are we being creative in our recipe planning? Can we use last night’s roast beef for a breakfast burrito? Can we make stews? There’s ways we can take last night’s recipe and make it into a new recipe the next day."

When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, chop, slice, and dice, and put fresh foods in clear storage containers so they’re ready when you are. Put bread and meat in the freezer if you know you won’t be able to eat it in time. Produce that’s past its prime might still be okay for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, sauces, and smoothies.

Find more tips for reducing food waste at home

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