Saturday, April 20, 2024

HOME GROWN: Waste not, want not

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I recently heard
a statistic indicating that on average one third of the world’s food supply is lost to wastage.
The specifics were unclear, but gave me pause to consider the circumstances where
this might occur.
As consumers we have the greatest control over the food that we buy, store, and ultimately
eat. Could you visualize disposing of one third of the foodstuff that you purchase at the grocery store checkout?
If the statistic is telling the waste of one third of a weekly $300 grocery bill would amount to an average of $100, or $5 200 a year down the drain, or perhaps more aptly, in the refuse bin.
In this day and age over-consumption that leads to waste poses not only an unsustainable economic loss to the consumer, but also deepens the divide between those who have in excess and those that have less  than the minimum.
A stocked fridge, a bursting pantry, and full deep freeze. Do you really know what’s in there for certain?
Taking control of food consumption takes practice, and discipline. I’m guilty of wastage; putting an end to it truly requires a change in mindset. The same way that we would purchase a new shirt or a pair of sunglasses and keep them “nice” – this is not an approach that most have toward food.
We buy what we think we need, perhaps use a bit, and the rest may be left until it’s discovered that spoilage has occurred. We fill our plates with more than we can possibly eat, or more than we need to eat, and dispose of the remainder.
Frequently, well at least once a month, we “eat what we have” at home. Empty the freezer, clean out the fridge, and deplete the pantry. You would be surprised what you might find in there!
At the grocery store I survey my trolley before I check out; it only takes a moment to scan your purchases and consider if all are absolutely needed. I’ve also got into the habit of making a list, and sticking to it. It’s nearly impossible, but try to avoid going to the grocery store when your pressed for time or starving.
Get in the habit of leaving ten or 15 per cent of what you have selected behind, and note that this strategy certainly doesn’t apply to the essentials, like toilet tissue!
Educate yourself on proper food storage; the Internet has a wealth of available information.
 An uncooked chicken stored in the fridge will spoil after a few days, but a properly packaged and labelled chicken can be stored in the freezer for a few months.
The same applies to vegetables, as well as properly store prepared foods, bearing in mind that cooked dishes improperly stored in the refrigerator spoil easily developing mould that can easily migrate to fresh foods.

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