Homemade spaghetti sauce and there’s just a bit left in the pot. Don’t throw it away, freeze it for later.
Food waste is such a problem in our country and it’s costing us gazillions of dollars every year! Well, that might be an overstatement but you catch my drift. You may remember I talked about how to prevent food waste a while back. If you didn’t get a chance to read it or need a refresher, you can catch that here. One item you may (or may not) have in your kitchen can become your new cash cow (again, probably an overstatement but depending on how much food you throw away, I may not be too far off).
The Ice Cube Tray
Most, if not all refrigerators come with built-in ice-makers so unless you’re a bit old school or had a need for ice cube trays, you may have to go buy some. They don’t cost much and you’ll never believe what you can use them for.
Coffee or tea – made a bit too much, freeze some for later. Next time you need a refreshing afternoon pick me up, you won’t have to suffer through watered down coffee or tea.
Pesto – leftover pesto freezes wonderfully and is great for that single serving you’ll need at lunchtime.
Tomato Paste – don’t know about you but I never use all that’s in the can, don’t throw it away, freeze it for the next time you need a few tablespoons.
Herbs – chopped up a few too many? Freeze them in a little extra virgin olive oil or butter for easier prep next time.
Wine – not that this has ever happened to me but if you’ve got just a bit left in the bottle, freeze it for later. You’ll have some on hand next time you need it for a recipe. I have so many chicken recipes in my cooking rotation that call for white wine, the cubes don’t last long in my freezer.
Champagne – celebrating an anniversary or ringing in the New Year or just kicking back with some champagne? Freeze a few cubes for mimosas.
Milk – heading out of town but can’t finish the milk? Freeze it in cubes for smoothies or baking or whatever you use it for.
Buttermilk – how many times have you purchased a carton of buttermilk only to need just a cup? Sure you can make buttermilk but you can also freeze the leftovers so you’ll have them for next time.
Baby Food – extra homemade baby food, freeze in cubes for easier on the go feeding. Just pop a cube or three in a container when you head out and they’ll be defrosted by meal time.
Cookie Dough – next time you make cookies, freeze a few cubes for those future cookie cravings. The ice cube tray is great for portion control. I definitely need some help with that.
Citrus Juice – squeezed a bit too much lemon, lime, orange juice? Freeze the extra for next time or for a splash of flavor in your water.
Yogurt – bit left in the container but not enough to fill you up? Scrape down the sides and throw it in an ice cube tray. You can use them in smoothies later.
Smoothie – save that leftover smoothie your kids didn’t finish for the next time they want one. My kids never finish the smoothies I make them and it kills me to wash it down the sink.
Go The Extra Mile
We belong to a CSA so inevitably, we get more veggies than we can eat before they go bad. Many times I’ll cook and puree things like zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc and then freeze the puree in ice cube trays. They make a great addition to things like soup, stews, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. A small nutritional boost without the kiddos knowing.
Just like money, saving a bit here and there adds up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved myself a trip to the grocery store simply by having those few tablespoons of an ingredient in the freezer.
What are your tricks to reducing food waste? Comment below and let me know. I’m always looking for new ideas.
Make it a green day!