How to Reduce Waste and Kitchen Stress With Good Organization
Planning ahead works for most things in life, and kitchen management is no exception. With effective planning you can enjoy your meals, vary your diet, and have ample countertop space, which will lead to a healthy body, mind, and wallet. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel; simply making a few tweaks here and there should do the trick.
Shop With a Menu in Mind
When you do you weekly or twice-weekly grocery shop, decide in advance what meals you plan to have that week. If it’s carbonara on a Monday, hot-dogs on a Tuesday, and Feta salad on a Wednesday, then ensure you’re shopping precisely to meet the needs of these meals, so that you’re not scrambling around trying to obtain the missing ingredients when the day rolls around. It will also help you to look at use-by dates, and decide which deals you might be able to take advantage. For example, if there is a discounted pack of hot-dog buns which expire on Wednesday, then you’re good to go.
Freezing leftovers is good for so many reasons, but not least because you are paying it forward, creating future meals for yourself which you don’t even need to shop for or think about; just microwave, and voila! You might not have enough for everyone in your household, but it could serve well as lunch for two. Take care to label and date everything carefully, and certainly don’t trash food – freezing is the cool thing to do!
The biggest cause of obesity in our society is not saturated fats or too much red meat; it is the size of portions being consumed on a daily basis. By measuring out portion sizes, you are re-training your stomach to get used to having what it needs, so that you can enjoy all kinds of foods without having to worry too much. It will be easier to avoid waste, and it will be easier to shop accordingly. We all want to eat too much, but it’s bad for the stomach and bad for the wallet.
Freeze Your Milk!
A weekly shop can become a two-weekly shop if you know what you’re doing. Did you know that you can freeze milk? Yes, it’s true; skimmed or semi-skimmed milk freeze more effectively than whole. If it gets a little separated once defrosted, just give it a good shake. Hard cheese is also able to be frozen; maybe you could purchase a huge slab of it and throw half of it in the freezer. You could grate some and freeze it for later. This might be a game-changer in terms of going to the grocery-store less frequently, and this in turn can reduce stress.
Bring Old Bread to Life
Bread that is past its use-by date can be put in the oven for a few minutes, and hey presto – good as new! Bread that is straight from the oven is also a delicious soup accompaniment, making butter to melt in the mouth. Alternatively, if like most people you freeze loaves of bread for later use, it is more efficient to take it out of its original packaging and store it in a freezer bag for a better taste.
Clear the Decks
There’s nothing worse than having a messy, chaotic work-surface on which to prepare all that expensive food you’ve hauled back from the grocery-store. Ensure that all unnecessary packaging is dumped / re-cycled immediately. With you it should be a case of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. With a Dishwasher at your disposal there’s no excuse; in fact, you can take a Dishwasher approach to your kitchen, in terms of stacking, stowing, and placing everything into position so that your mind stays calm and orderly.
Keep a Cool Fridge
It sounds obvious, but by turning the dial down a bit, you can conserve produce for longer. For example, milk turns sour if it is not kept between 0-5 C, or 32-41 F. On the other hand, certain foods are best left out of refrigerated conditions, such as breads, bananas, pineapples, potatoes and onions.
Seven easy tips for busy, modern life.