This post is sponsored by Pyrex and features the Pyrex Simply Store glass storage containers.
Whither the way to a low-waste kitchen? Is it meal planning? Eating your carrot tops and cooking your corn cobs? Convincing your four-year-old that she adored chili at three and so surely she can muster the same enthusiasm for it at four?
Easier said than done, I concede. Despite lots of good intentions, veggies get forgotten in the bottom the crisper. Leftovers promised attention look unappetizing by the time anyone remembers them. The last tortilla gets moldy before it gets eaten.
I’m still a believer in changing habits, and for me, the two most important habits to hone for curbing food waste, are keeping the fridge tidy and the food in it fresh. Helpful in our efforts to curb food waste? A set of Pyrex Simply Store glass containers. We use them to organize our fridge, stash prepped veggies and leftover portions, and keep foods fresher, longer.
But what does tidiness have to do with food waste? For me, a tidy fridge is a fridge that I can scan and get a quick visual on what’s inside it. And, if I know what food I have, I’m simply more likely to eat it.
In the fridge, we organize our glass containers by general food group and approximate date. Eggs, cheese and other dairy always go on the same shelf. Leftovers go on another. If something’s been around awhile, it sits up near the front. If it’s brand-new, it gets tucked in the back.
When we buy something that comes wrapped in a bag or plastic wrap, we shift it directly into one of our Pyrex glass containers. Rehousing things like store-bought tortillas, cheddar cheese, or tofu, means less visual clutter in the fridge (tidy!) and a much longer shelf-life (fresh!).
If I buy produce like carrots or cauliflower, that I know need some amount of prep before they’re ready to be eaten, I try to do this in a quiet moment on the weekend or after the kids are asleep, so that everything is ready to go during a more harried one. The barrier to entry on getting carrots caramelized in the oven is far lower if they’re scrubbed and ready to be quickly chopped on a weeknight. And if the week goes by and the carrots don’t get eaten? As long as they’re kept under cover in an airtight container, they’ll still be fresh enough to enjoy later.
During the week, we try to make sure we’re stocked with easy basics like cooked beans, lentils, and rice. Like prepping veggies, these things require a bit of advanced planning. So if I take the time to make a large pot of beans, it’s helpful to know I can freeze half and refrigerate the other for two weeks of beans to include in lunches and dinners. (As a bonus, it’s very helpful that Pyrex containers can go from freezer to fridge to pre-heated oven and back again without incident.) Maybe most important, when hanger strikes, there’s something quick and easy that I’m able to put to immediate use.
Which brings me to timing: Our children are generally ready to eat dinner at the hour when most adult humans are still enjoying their late afternoon snack. At the point in the day where I might have previously been eating the last crumbs of cookie and finishing a cup of hot tea, I now find myself somewhat more urgently trying to pull together components of a balanced meal. Lots of nights we all sit down together for an early bird special, but on other nights, my husband and I know that the only way to combat a full family meltdown is with easy, colorful plates of assorted finger foods to be scarfed by kids before bath time. In both scenarios, having options that are easy to grab and still fresh and tasty means that the food we have actually gets eaten.The end result? Fewer foods that get tossed into the compost at the end of the week and a fridge that’s nice to look at in the meantime.
And I’m curious: Do you have brilliant tips for curbing food waste that you put into practice in your own homes?
This post was sponsored by Pyrex. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.