Stop Food Waste Now

Waste happens. Every cook knows that. Still, discovering wilted herbs or a loaf of stale bread can make you feel careless. Plus, tossing out food is expensive! The average American household discards between $500 and $2,000 worth of food a year.

But there are clever ways to minimize waste, by storing food carefully or preserving it at its peak to enjoy later, says Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of “Put ‘Em Up,” a book about preserving food. Here, a few of our favorites.


The problem: You bought more loaves than you need.

Use it now: Cooks the world over have come up with smart ways to use old bread. A super-quick one: croutons. Cut bread into cubes, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and toast in a 275-degree oven for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through, until golden. Cool, then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They’re delicious in soups and salads, or crushed and sprinkled over pasta.

Save it for later: While it’s still fresh, place a sliced loaf right in the freezer. Then, pull out slices as you need them and pop them in the toaster. “People don’t think of the freezer as a preserving mechanism, but it is,” Vinton says.

Fresh fruit

The problem: Buying fruit in season is wise. “The vitamin content of seasonal produce is at its peak,” says Christina Munsell, research associate at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. But we often buy more than we can eat.

Use it now: You don’t need a recipe to make fruit salad — most kinds go together naturally. Just cut up what you have (skip bananas, which go mushy; see the tip below). Add one-quarter teaspoon of vanilla, a generous squeeze of citrus (to slow browning), and a drizzle of honey. Set the bowl front and center in your fridge; it’ll be the first thing everyone sees when they go snack-hunting…

Read More: Celia Barbour,

Back to top