Avoiding wasted food

by Catherine Haug, June 1, 2011

Dr. Mercola posted an article on his popular health site today about wasted food: 30% of All Food Produced in the World is Wasted (1):

“A full 30 percent of all food produced in the world each year is wasted or lost — about 1.3 billion tons of it. Europeans and North Americans waste between 95 and 115 kilograms of food apiece each year. Those living in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia waste much, much less — between 6 and 11 kilograms per person.

All in all, the developed world wastes 10 times more food than the developing one.”

He goes on to make the point that globally we have enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but we of western civilization have more food than we can consume, while other, less fortunate, peoples don’t have enough food. See my recent post Feeding your Family – Or the World for more on this.

Does this leave you feeling ashamed? Do you toss away food that you have been unable to eat before its ‘best by’ date? When you toss it, does it go out with the garbage? Or do you compost it?

Read on for some suggestions on reducing food waste. And share any of your ideas on avoiding wasted food by using the comment section to this post.

14 Ways to Avoid Wasting Food

The following are from Yahoo! Shine: 14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (2; originally from Country Living magazine):

  1. Fruits & Veggies: Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables to rot.
  2. When radishes, celery, or carrots have lost their crunch, simply pop them in a bowl of iced water along with a slice of raw potato and watch the limp vegetables freshen up right before your eyes.
  3. Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them – they spoil less quickly in a bunch.
  4. If you only need a few drops of lemon juice, avoid cutting the lemon in half – it will dry out quickly. Instead, puncture the fruit with a metal skewer and squeeze out exactly what you require.
  5. Herbs: To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags, in the freezer. When you need them, they’ll be easier to chop, and they’ll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan.
  6. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta, or rice will help repel bugs.
  7. Dairy: Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – you can store it in the freezer for up to six months. Pack the butter in an airtight container, so it doesn’t take on the flavor of whatever else you’re freezing.
  8. In order to make [an opened container of] cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, place the container upside down in the fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil.
  9. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter or margarine on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard cheeses sealed in wax.
  10. Honey: Believe it or not, honey is the only nonperishable food substance, so don’t get rid of the stuff if it crystallizes or becomes cloudy. Microwave on medium heat, in 30-second increments, to make honey clear again. [Cat’s note: I don’t recommend microwaving anything edible. Instead, set the jar in a saucepan of simmering water until it is clear again.]
  11. Misc: Put rice in your saltshaker to stop the salt from hardening. The rice absorbs condensation that can cause clumps.
  12. Prevent extra cooked pasta from hardening by stashing it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerating. When you’re ready to serve, throw the pasta in boiling water for a few seconds to heat and restore moisture.
  13. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will stop it from hardening. But if you already have hardened sugar on your shelf, soften it by sealing in a bag with a slice of bread – or by microwaving on high for 30 seconds. [Cat’s note: I don’t recommending microwaving anything edible].
  14. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.


  1. articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/01/30-percent-of-all-food-produced-in-the-world-is-wasted.aspx
  2. shine.yahoo.com/event/financiallyfit/14-ways-to-save-money-on-groceries-2447559/

Comments are closed.