Bay Staters are among the most wasteful Americans when it comes to food, throwing out an average of over $1,075 worth each year, a new study reveals.
The results of survey of 3,200 American households found that we’re wasting nearly a quarter of our food every month. Massachusetts is in the top ten of the most wanton states, according to the study by Klein Kitchen & Bath.
So why are we being so wasteful? It seems that the misunderstanding of food labeling might be a huge factor. The survey found that nearly half of respondents (48.9%) won't eat food that's marked as past its sell-by date – but perhaps that's because they are misinformed about what the sell-by date actually means – it is the last date by which it must be sold in a store; however, after that, it's still good to eat (even if it's past what's marked as the use-by date).
Again, the label – use-by date – caused confusion: only one-quarter knew that it signifies the last date for use of the product at its peak quality. Nearly a third (30.4%) believed that it was the last date the product was edible, almost a quarter (22%) thought it meant that it was the last date the food product could be displayed and sold in a store, and finally, 21% thought it meant the date that the product would be at its best flavor and quality - when, in fact, this is the 'best-by' date.
Are you guilty of throwing out too much food? Here’s a few ways to be more resourceful and less wasteful:
Freeze your food. You can actually freeze the food right up till the use-by date, and it will be good to eat months later! (Just double check what you can or can’t freeze - not everything can go in, like soft cheeses).
Freeze milk into an ice cube tray. Most people will throw away dairy products first - but you can use this handy tip instead of wasting. Use the frozen milk cubes in coffee or tea.
Put your herbs into a glass of water. This will prevent them from wilting quickly, and make them last much longer!
Make a smoothie. If yogurts are getting near their use-by date, you can mix them up with some over-ripe fruit for a smoothie or even freeze into ice-lollies.
Turn stale bread or crusts into breadcrumbs. Just put them in a food processor. Mix in herbs or onions to make a stuffing for chicken or to top baked fish!
Skip the peeler. When cooking with foods such as potatoes, broccoli, or carrots, use it all. You don’t need to remove the peel or cut the stems off; they often have additional nutrients. And if you don’t like the peel or stem, you can compost what you don’t use.
Donate. There will be plenty of food kitchens nearby that would really appreciate anything you have which is going spare.