Here’s a scenario: You bend over and peer into the back of your refrigerator’s bottom shelf to discover a long-lost container of who-knows-what that’s been there for who-knows-how-long. It’s a common occurrence that happens in nearly half of all households every month.
For financial, social, and environmental reasons, it makes sense to start being smarter about what we do with our extra and leftover foods. “Waste not, want not,” as the saying goes, so here are five tips on what to do with surplus food.
1. Bulk up Soup with Leftover Rice or Veggies
Got just a half-cup of cooked rice or veggies left over from last night’s supper and you’re not sure what to do with it? Don’t throw it out thinking it’s not enough to bother with. Instead, put it in the fridge overnight and add it to your soup at lunchtime. Don’t have any soup? Heat up some chicken broth and throw it in. Leftover rice and/or veggies turn thin, canned soup into a hearty meal.
2. Cool Iced Tea with Tea Ice Cubes
Did you make too much tea? Don’t pour it down the drain. Pour it into ice cube trays instead and freeze. These tea ice cubes are perfect for cooling future glasses of iced tea without diluting.
Want to take it up a notch? Add lemon zest or lemon slices to the ice trays before freezing to cool and flavor your iced tea at the same time.
3. Freeze Eggs Before They Go Bad
Did you know you can freeze eggs? Not many people do, but it’s true. If you have eggs you know you won’t be able to use before they expire, crack them into serving size containers and pop them into the freezer. Eggs keep for up to 12 months in the freezer.
4. Freeze Too-Ripe Bananas for Future Use
Fresh bananas are a food that people commonly throw out because they become too ripe to eat very quickly. Unless you’re in the mood to bake some banana bread as soon as your bananas become over-ripe, your instinct is to throw them away.
Stop wasting bananas when this happens by freezing them for future use. You can freeze them with or without their peels, or you can mash them and freeze them in single serve containers. The next time you’re in the mood to bake a cake or bread, just pull out the bananas you need and thaw.
5. Give Your Dish a Healthy Boost
When a recipe calls for just broccoli florets, don’t throw away the stems. Instead, chop them up into small pieces, put them in an airtight container, and put them in the fridge. Add some broccoli bits to salads, cooked rice, or scrambled eggs for a healthy boost of color and flavor.
Many people find themselves throwing out surplus food on a regular basis. The practice is not only wasteful, it’s costly and unkind to the environment, too. Rather than throw out excess food, make the tips above common practice in your household.
Do you have any tips of your own for what to do with surplus food? We’d love to hear them!