PLAN AHEAD WHEN YOU SHOP -- LOOK FOR WEEKLY SPECIALS AND COUPONS.
The Sunday paper always has a good coupon section but nowadays there's a large selection on line as well. Coupons are great for cleaning supplies, ziplock bags, paper cups, napkins, etc. Looking out for weekly specials at nearby grocery stores also help pinch pennies -- stock up on pantry items that are on sale as they do not spoil as quickly as fresh produce. You can save money on fresh produce by buying seasonally.
UTILIZE THE FREEZER -- IT SIGNIFICANTLY HELPS IN CUTTING DOWN FOOD WASTE!
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS LABEL AND DATE
- Freeze fruits and vegetables -- this is a great way to preserve seasonal produce for later months when they are no longer in the market.
- Breads, pancakes, waffles, burritos -- make some extra and throw it in the freezer. This not only saves money but time, great way for breakfast on the run.
- Cheese, cream, butter can all be frozen. Just simply defrost when ready to use.
- Cooked rice, pasta and grains -- we always tend to make extra, save time and pack up the extras in individual zip lock backs for a quick dinner.
- Soups, broths and sauces -- freeze any extra in a ziplock back and freeze them flat for easier storage. You can freeze broths in ice cube trays for soups and sauces.
- Cooked meats -- anywhere from roast chicken to sandwich meats, freezing extends meat's shelf life by months.
- Raw meats and seafood -- another great way to preserve ingredients.
- Raw eggs -- though separation of yolks and whites are necessary, freeze egg whites in ice cube trays for baking and cooking. To freeze egg yolks make sure to mix a little bit of salt or sugar to prevent lumpiness.
- Too many herbs? Chop it up and throw it in an ice cube tray. Fill it with olive oil to make herb oil blocks for cooking or water for herbed ice cubes for drinks.
- Many times citrus is bought in large quantities. Squeeze the juices and freeze in ice cube trays for drinks, baking and cooking. Same can be done for zest.
- Cookie dough, cakes, buttercream frosting -- if there's ever any extra it's always good to have these things handy in the freezer.
Make sure the kitchen and pantry are organized -- make lists of things that need replacing to ensure you don't re-buy ingredients you may already have.
Learn your fruits and vegetables -- be able to differentiate between characteristics between "long term" and "short term" produce and plan on using your short term produce first. "Long term" produce that tends to last anywhere from 2 weeks to a month include: potatoes, onions, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, beets, carrots, ginger, coconut, pineapple, apples, citrus and melons. "Short term" produce last a couple days to a week -- lettuces, berries, herbs, peaches, tomatoes, green beans, sprouts, mangoes, avocados, figs, broccoli should be consumed as soon as possible, or frozen to preserve freshness.