6 Ways to Prevent Food Wastage at Home
Not everyone will associate the Philippines with food wastage. After all, a developing nation couldn’t possibly afford to waste food, right? Unfortunately, this issue is as much of a problem here as it is in the rest of the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, Filipinos waste over 300,000 tons of rice annually. In Metro Manila alone, more than 2,000 tons of food end up in the trash every single day.
Throwing edible food is not only a waste of money but also an insult to the many Filipinos struggling to find something to eat and the farmers working tirelessly to produce them. Moreover, food wastage also contributes to the waste stream and burdens waste management systems.
Addressing the problem of food wastage is the responsibility of every Filipino. If you want to become part of the solution, you can start in your own home. Here are several ways to prevent food wastage in your household:
Make Sure Your Refrigerator Is Still Working Properly
Given the country’s tropical climate, an efficient refrigerator is undoubtedly the ultimate kitchen appliance to have for Filipinos who want to prevent food spoilage and keep their food fresh for longer. This is why your fridge must be in good condition. Otherwise, your food will go bad much faster, and you will end up paying hefty electricity bills.
Note that the ideal fridge setting for the maximum freshness of food items is 3oC, while for the freezer, it’s -18oC to -20oC. If your old refrigerator could no longer maintain this temperature, and you are noticing that your foods are spoiling way ahead of their expected expiration date, then you may want to start looking for refrigerators and chillers for sale. Trying to repair a fridge that is more than a decade old could be more costly in the long run, so buying a new unit instead would probably save you a lot of money.
Learn the Correct Way to Store Food in Your Ref
Just because you put all your perishables in the fridge does not mean they will stay fresh. You may not realize it, but improper storage is also one reason why tons of food go to waste. Make sure that your food items remain in good condition for longer by keeping the following refrigerator food-storage tips in mind:
- Keep tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, garlic, and onions at room temperature, not inside the fridge.
- Do not wash fruits and vegetables before storing them in the refrigerator to prevent excess moisture and to preserve water-soluble vitamins in the produce.
- Place paper towels inside your bag of green and leafy veggies to absorb moisture.
- Store raw meat, poultry, and fish in sealed containers before placing them in the freezer to prevent cross-contamination.
- Abide by the “first in, first out” rule by placing the food items that were prepared the latest at the back of the fridge and moving the older items to the front. This way, you can consume them before they get spoiled.
- Avoid overloading your refrigerator to ensure proper air circulation.
Be Creative with Your Leftovers
Many Pinoy households keep their leftovers in the fridge, but this food is often left uneaten because nobody is interested in consuming them again. Instead of merely reheating leftovers, you may want to transform your excess ulam into delectable dishes that your family can enjoy.
For example, you can shred the chicken meat of your leftover adobo and fry them to create adobo flakes. Your excess pork giniling can become a hearty omelet or a fried rice ingredient. Try browsing the web or YouTube for leftover recipes so that you can avoid throwing food and save money at the same time.
Think Carefully Before Throwing Food Away
Although you may no longer have the appetite to eat overripe fruits or wilted vegetables, you can still use them for other purposes. You can blend mangoes, melons, and other fruits past their prime with milk and sugar to create ice candies or smoothies.
Overripe bananas are ideal for creating banana cakes and pancakes. Mash them well, add egg, and cook the mixture in butter, and you will have a tasty breakfast. The wilted veggies, on the other hand, are perfect for making soups and stocks.
Prepare Traditional Filipino Recipes
Traditional Filipino dishes are created to last for extended periods, even without the refrigerator. Try preparing them at home to extend the life of meat and vegetables and introduce Filipino culture to your young children. Besides the famous adobo, here are other timeless food items that you can prepare and enjoy for several days or even weeks:
- Tapa or dried meat
- Daing or salted fish
- Paksiw (fish simmered in vinegar, a natural preservative)
- Atsara or pickled vegetables
- Pork Binagoongan
Make a Plan
How many times have you gone to the grocery store without much thought and ended up going home with multiple food items that you already have in the pantry and refrigerator? Remember that having more food than you can consume is another common source of food wastage.
Make it a habit to plan your meals, create a shopping list, and avoid impulse buys so that you don’t end up with too much supplies that you can’t consume on time. Consider your lifestyle when purchasing food as well. For instance, if you often eat out, it is best to avoid stocking up on perishable items.
The strategies above are just some of the more doable ways to reduce food waste. Try these tips, and you will be surprised by their multiple benefits. Aside from significantly cutting down your daily household waste, doing these things can also help you save time and money.