MY KITCHEN WASTE CAUSES GLOBAL WARMING
I was amazed when I discovered that my kitchen waste actually has an enormous impact on climate change.
“Wasting food has irreversible environmental consequences: it wastes the water and energy it took to produce it, and generates greenhouse gases—7 percent of the world’s emissions9—like methane, carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons, which contribute to global warming. Food that sits decaying in landfills also produces nitrogen pollution, which causes algae blooms and dead zones. According to the World Wildlife Federation, the production of wasted food in the United States is equivalent to the greenhouse emissions of 37 million cars.”
Americans waste 30 to 40% of their food supply; that equals 219 pounds of food per person each year.
The good news is there is something we can do: freezing food is one of the quickest ways we have to preserve food, and preserving food, instead of discarding it, is what we need to do.
Actually, there are many benefits to freezing foods:
- It extends the shelf life of food. Freezing food at its peak keeps it in that state until you are ready to use it.
- When you cook, make more than you need and freeze the extra in individual portions for when you do not have time to cook.
- Save money by buying food on sale. Freeze it to cook it at your convenience.
- When you buy more than you need, don’t let it go bad; freeze it instead.
- Freeze small amounts of leftovers that you can add to soups or stews to add flavor.
Most of us have the experience of losing food in the freezer, that deep, dark place where food goes in and unknown blobs come out. Definitely not appetizing.
If that is your experience, the best thing to do is to clear it out. I know discarding food is not the objective but if you aren’t going to eat it, you need the space and a few rules about how to fill it.
- Label everything with what it is and the date you froze it. No exceptions; once frozen everything looks the same.
- Cool food completely before freezing.
- Wrap everything tightly to protect it from air.
- Remove as much air as you possibly can before freezing.
- Freeze in small portions that you will use.
- Allow room for foods to expand during the freezing process.
- To keep food separate once frozen, place parchment on a cookie sheet, lay out the items to freeze so they don’t touch. Let them freeze and then place in a resealable bag.
- The fresher the food you freeze is, the better it will be when you thaw it.
Freezing only works if we use the food we freeze. Instead of heading to the store, we need to go to our freezers to see what’s for dinner and only head to the store to supplement what we already have.
It has taken a while but I’m starting to look at the food in my refrigerator differently. I think about what I need to do to insure I do not let the food go to waste. It's a start.
Food waste in America in 2020
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