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June 22, 2020
Remove as much air as possible from bags with food before you close them. I push out all the air before I close ziplock bags or I fold over the top and put an elastic or a clip to keep non-zip lock bags tightly closed. Air is the enemy of good food storage. Air can bring odours to food and moisture cause texture changes, taste changes and rancidity. Wrap your food tightly or put it into air-tight containers for best storage. These containers from Amazon are inexpensive and make an airtight seal.
There are a lot of simple foods that you can prepare that are less expensive if you cook them yourself: rice, pasta, simple sauces, soups, stews, casseroles, beans, lentils. Even if you just cook certain elements of your meal like rice and then freeze the rice, you will save money and you will have rice ready-to-go to make your meal prep faster. Try cooking more and you will save money.
When you are cooking something make more and have it the next night or freeze it in the portion sizes that you will use. If you are going to put 20 minutes into making a casserole or 30 minutes into making two, you optimize your prep time.
Plus you optimize the use of the your oven, so that the electricity or gas that you are using anyway to cook one casserole is now free for the second casserole.
I always try to make bigger batches of food, and then portion and freeze some of it.
It is important to portion your food before you freeze it. Otherwise, you will have to thaw the entire quantity and eat it at every meal until you're fed up or some of it might go to waste. This way you don’t need to thaw more than you will use, so you will cut your food waste.
I know this is a hard one, but you don’t have to plan all your meals. Choose two or three days when you will eat food already prepared and in the freezer. Choose two days when you will plan and cook something new. And that gives you two or three days to just wing or plan more meals.
If you are cooking in larger batches, you will have food in your freezer for the days when you don't plan a meal. Just planning two meals is not so bad. I like to go through the food I have in my fridge that needs to be eaten and I usually plan my meals around that. Sometimes, I will go to the grocery story for something, but that is rare during this time of the pandemic. I try to go shopping as little as possible.
Look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make a list of what you don’t have. Then shop from the list unless you see items on sale that you can stock up on. This way you buy only what you will use or can stockpile without causing waste.
Also, when you make your grocery list, think about the two meals you are going to plan and if you are missing any items to make those two meals, then add it to the list.
Don't throw out leftovers, unless the food is no longer safe to eat. Eat your leftovers. Have them for lunch, breakfast or dinner. Or even for a snack. Or freeze them. That way they are ready for you for the next meal.
If you consistently have too much food or want to help, you could donate to a food bank or food basket. There may be ways that you can donate to a food bank or food basket, however, they often only take non-perishables from individials. It is something to look into, if you want to help your community in this way.
1. Remove air from bags & close them tightly
2. Buy less processed foods and cook more
3. Cook in batches
4. Freeze your food in the portion sizes you will use
5. Plan two meals per week
6. Make a grocery list
7. Freeze your leftovers or eat them for lunch
8. Donate to a food bank or basket.