Still having nightmares of Thanksgiving leftovers? It’s difficult not to go overboard with delicious comfort food when entertaining for the holidays, but once your guests leave and the fridge is still full, the gravy regrets start to kick in. As the holiday season progresses avoid the stuffing sweats and apple pie anxiety. Here are 5 easy tips to reduce your waste and be sustainable in the kitchen this season!
Keep it fresh:
If possible try to buy from farmers markets, co-ops or other local vendors to reduce the emissions of shipping or carting food items from afar. Check produce labels at the grocery store to see just how far your fruits and veggies have traveled. If you can’t buy local, try your best to buy organic to reduce the harm of pesticides.
Lighten your load:
While you’re filling up your reusable bags at the grocery store make sure not to overbuy. Check the recipe before you leave home or better yet, bring it with you so you only buy exactly what you need.
Pay attention to packaging:
Be mindful of not only what you are buying but also how it is packaged. Avoid styrofoam, tetra pak, and plastic, when possible. If you’re cooking for a large group consider buying in bulk where large quantities of an ingredient are called for to avoid excess packaging.
Play it safe:
Make sure to save your receipts so you can return unused items in case you realize that you just don’t need to bake that fifth pie. (Donating leftover nonperishable foods to homeless shelters is also a great alternative!)
And if you have passed the point of no return and leftovers are overflowing from the fridge, pop some of them into the freezer and bring them back out a couple weeks later, when you’re no longer sick of them. You can freeze just about anything! (Note: avoid freezer burn by using sealed containers.)
Leftovers are particularly harrowing during the holidays, but these tips are great to keep in mind all year round. Check out the Facebook group, Free Food Events @ NYU to find events that are making an effort to reduce their food waste by informing the public when free or leftover food is available.