Eight Ways to Stretch Your Food While Quarantined
Most of us are sheltering-in-place right now, having already stocked up on non-perishable canned and frozen food. Since every foray into society could bring exposure to COVID-19, consider ways to maximize the food you have to last as long as possible and save you trips to the grocery store. It will also help you reduce food waste, a major contributor of greenhouse gases coming out of landfills.
Here are eight ways to stretch the food you’ve saved:
- Make a double batch of sauces, stews, beans, and casseroles, and save the rest in the freezer for a future weeknight dinner with zero cooking.
- Create a scrap bag in your freezer to use to make stock for soups and sauces. I have a scrap bag in my freezer full of food scraps. Any time you peel a carrot, slice an onion, or cut the edges off a bell pepper, you can divert the leftovers from the garbage into the scrap bag kept in the freezer. Once the scrap bag is full, simmer the contents with water over low heat for about an hour, then save the liquid for a tasty stock to make soups and sauces. Cook rice, beans, or quinoa in it to add extra flavor.
- Keep bread in the freezer and defrost a slice or two when you need them.
- Dried beans are cheap and freeze easily. You can cook a double batch in your crock pot and freeze half for an easy meal.
- Soups hold up well when they’re stored in containers in the freezer. You can even freeze individual servings for a quick meal on demand.
- Buy meat in bulk, divide it into single portions, and defrost as you need them. Meats can be cheaper in bulk and often have less packaging.
- Fruits like berries are simple to freeze. Place them on a cookie sheet, freeze them overnight, and transfer them to an empty container to store in the freezer. Frozen berries liven up morning smoothies.
- Butter freezes well and is easy to defrost when you get the baking itch. It’s also often cheaper to buy in bulk.
I hope these tips are as useful to you. To learn more about preventing food waste, please visit Save The Food. Interested in other ways to reduce food waste? Check out the Public Health Alliance of Southern California’s Resource Library and CalRecycle’s Resource Directory.