Ask The Experts: What Can I Do With Extra Food?

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Q: What can I do with extra food?

A: Great question. We all sometimes end up with more food than we can eat. Instead of throwing it away, there are so many things we can do with it instead that can also help our wallets, others, and the planet.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

Sometimes, we are just tired of our leftovers. But instead of thinking of leftovers as meals, we can think of them as ingredients for making new food. Leftover veggies, meats and grains can easily be transformed into new dishes or soups. To see what you can do with food that is starting to go bad, or for recipe inspiration from leftovers or raw ingredients, check out Save The Food

Freeze It

If you are not feeling those leftovers at the moment, you can freeze them for later!

While you can freeze just about anything, there are a few guidelines to follow. For example, make sure hot food has cooled down before storing in the freezer to avoid freezer burn. Do not leave uncooked or thawing food out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than a couple hours. Transfer refrigerated leftovers to the freezer within four days and be cautious about mold or slime. Make a plan to eat your frozen meals so they don’t end up lost at the back of the freezer.

Donate It

One of the most impactful options you have for your extra food is to donate it. About one in eight Americans faces hunger, according to Feeding America, and about forty percent of food grown, processed and transported in the United States is never eaten.

Find the closest food bank or use an app to donate unwanted food. Keep in mind that food banks and charities will typically only accept non-perishable items, for fresh or cooked food, you can use the apps or community fridges (freedges) to share with your neighbors.

Repurpose Food Scraps and Waste

We can use some food scraps (carrot, celery and apple peels are nutritious dog favorites) or cooked meats and grains (not heavily seasoned) to feed our furry friends. See a list of human foods that dogs can eat.

Don’t have a furry friend in your life? You can also use vegetable scraps to grow new food. Many veggie scraps can be grown right in your windowsill, no need for an outdoor garden!

Compost It

Lastly, another environmentally-friendly home for your food scraps or the food that has gone bad is the compost – green waste cart or your backyard compost pile. Composting keeps organic matter out of the landfill, creates rich soil and helps combat climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. See everything you can put in the green waste cart.