We’re starting a new weekly feature at Eat.Drink.Better. It’s called Thrifty Thursdays, and will offer a quick time- or money-saving tip for your kitchen. Eating good food that also has your health and the environment in mind can be time-consuming and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you keep small tips like these in mind.
Many people struggle to eliminate wasting food, and with the economy the way it is, cutting down on food waste is a surefire way to save a little money. You paid for all that food (or worked hard to grow it yourself), you should be eating it.
Knowing what you have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry can help you realize what you need to use up. My solution: make a list. The next time you clean out your fridge (come on, you know you need to) and throw out all the expired condiments and freezer-burned things that may at one time have been food, make an organized list of what you’re putting back in. You can cross things off as you use them, and add to the list when you buy something new.
The list serves two purposes. One, we often forget what gets pushed to the back of the fridge or the freezer before it’s too late, so knowing it’s there via the list will remind you to use it up. Two, how often have you been at the store and not known if you needed an ingredient or not, bought it “just in case” and ended up with two…or three…or (gulp) four? If you just wrote down that you have dijon mustard, you won’t buy another one that will end up expiring before you use it.
I did this two weeks ago, and found several items that would have languished in the back of the freezer for a good while had I not made a list. For example, I would have bought TVP crumbles to make Mexican lasagna, but I knew from the list that I had a forgotten half-bag that I needed to use up.
If you want to be a superstar, expand on this tip by doing what they do at Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village: put that list right on the fridge. You’ll save energy by not opening the door to stare listlessly at the contents of the fridge. You can see what’s in the fridge by looking at the list, not the cold air escaping from the fridge.
We’d love to hear from you! Send us your tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.