Now that your refrigerator is packed for self-quarantine, don’t let all that food go to waste.
6 Tips to Prevent Food Waste During the Coronavirus
Who hasn’t stocked up on fruits and vegetables, only to throw away half of that produce a couple weeks later? Maybe you bought chicken, pork chops and ground beef but had to throw some of it away because you couldn’t get to it before it expired.
It’s easy to forget what we have in our refrigerators, especially when they’re packed with extra food during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and self-quarantines. While it’s natural to want to stock up, you can end up tossing many grocery items.
It helps to have a strategy to prevent food waste – especially since most Americans need their economic stimulus checks for groceries, and fear they'll need another one in three months.
Click or swipe through to read 6 ways to prevent food waste taking a bite out of your grocery budget.
1. Don’t buy more than you can eat
It’s easy to get swept up in the produce aisle, especially when you’re trying to boost your immune system. So, you grab a bag of oranges here, a dozen apples there and a generous selection of avocados, tomatoes, salads and other produce, most of which will begin to fade within the week.
Buying fresh produce, only to waste much of it, won’t do your immune system – or your grocery budget – much good at all. Instead, make a list of which fruits and vegetables you can eat before they go bad and then include produce items with meals or snacks as much as possible.
Find out: How to Save Money on Groceries
2. Clean out and organize your refrigerator
The last thing you want to do is pull moldy broccoli, sour cream and liquefied green things from a produce drawer crammed with the take from previous shopping expeditions. But cleaning out the old to make room for the new is essential to preventing food waste.
That’s because you need to know what’s in the fridge. If food items are thrown in there haphazardly, you may forget all about that smoked salmon or bag of salad until it’s too late. Organize like items in sections so it’s easy to keep an inventory of produce on hand.
3. Freeze fruits and vegetables
Most of us know that we can freeze beef, pork and poultry, but did you know that you can also freeze many fresh fruits and vegetables?
You can freeze some vegetables raw, but others – corn on the cob, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers, brussels sprouts and green beans, for example – require blanching (boiling for a few minutes) before freezing to retain freshness.  You can freeze tomatoes without blanching for adding to soups and sauces.
Fruits you can freeze without blanching include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and strawberries. 
4. Make the most of your loaf
Especially if you live alone, there’s a good chance you’ve thrown away many stale remainders of loaves of bread. You can easily avoid wasting bread, though, by freezing the loaf and thawing one or two slices at a time.
Bread thaws quickly in ten or 15 minutes and still tastes delicious, especially if you heat it in a toaster or oven.
5. Plan a weekly menu
The best way to make sure food doesn’t go to waste is to plan meals in advance around your grocery stash. For example, if you buy a rotisserie chicken, use all of the bird by eating as a meal, then use the rest for sandwiches or salads and whipping up a batch of chicken salad.
Write up a menu for the week with perishable foods such as meats and fish in mind. Spread veggies around by serving with more than one meal.
6. Keep an inventory
Posting an inventory of produce and meat items on the refrigerator so you don’t forget what’s inside may seem silly. But you know what’s sillier? Throwing away $50 worth of food because you forgot to eat it.
Make a list of fruits and vegetables on hand so you don’t forget to add that cucumber to a salad or use those avocados before they turn brown. Add meats to the list with expiration dates noted.
This article by Deb Hipp was originally published on Debt.com.
Published by Debt.com, LLC