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12 ways to reduce food waste and save some money!

12 ways to reduce food waste and save some money!
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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports Americans throw away about 40% of their food each year, either at home or in a restaurant. That equates to $165 billion in wasted food each year.

So to help you avoid wasting your hard-earned money, here are some easy ways for you to reduce waste at your home and put some cash back in your pocket!

How to reduce food waste at home

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you reduce food waste at your home:​

1. Expiration dates: An expiration date on the package doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the date when the food will expire. Many foods are perfectly fine to eat after the date that’s stamped on the package. Those dates are typically the manufacturer’s guess at how long the product will stay fresh.

Some products are safe to eat days, weeks and even months after those days, depending on the type of product. Experts say how you store the food can help make it last longer. For example, you should keep cheese in wax paper, because it allows it to breathe and then the cheese is less likely to mold.

For more details on expiration dates, check out Clark’s Food Expiration Guide.

2. Eggs are good for three to five weeks after their expiration date: How do you know if they’re still good? One trick is to toss the eggs in a bowl of water — if they sink, they’re still good to eat. But if they float, throw them out!

3. Where you store foods in the fridge can make a difference: Your fridge is coldest on the bottom and warmest on the top. Keep eggs in the main part of the fridge — NOT in the door. The door is the warmest part of the fridge (think about the room temperature that hits it every time you open it), so keep things that need to stay colder in the main or bottom area of the fridge.

4. What the food looks like isn’t always a sign that it’s bad: It depends on the product. Fruits and veggies are OK when they start to change color or become soft. But one food that’s NOT OK when it changes color is potatoes. Once a potato turns green, throw it out! Potatoes have a natural toxin once they turn green.

5. Fruit is still good when it’s soft: You don’t have to throw away fruit just because it starts to get soft. A great way to use soft fruits is in smoothies and juices.

6. Vegetables can come back to life: Do you often forget about vegetables that make their way to the back of the fridge and become wilted? Don’t toss them out!

For many different kinds of vegetables, including greens, carrots and broccoli, soaking them in a bowl of ice water will bring them back to life!

If you have veggies that look like they’re nearing the end, toss them in a soup.

7. How you store certain foods can make them last longer: Storing most fruits and veggies in airtight containers can keep them fresher for longer.

Read more: 29 ways to keep your fresh produce fresher for longer

8. Lettuce is fine when it’s a little brown: Got an old bag of lettuce that’s a little brown and watery? Sauté it!

9. Bread lasts longer in the freezer: Store it in the freezer and it will last a lot longer. If you slice it first, then you won’t have to defrost the entire loaf when you just want one or two pieces.

10. Milk can last a lot longer than you think: Milk is another product you can store in the freezer to give it a longer lifespan. You can also cook with expired or sour milk! Here are 6 things to do with old milk.

11. Use it all: Try out websites that give you recipes for the foods you already have in your fridge and pantry to avoid letting it go bad.

12. Get the best prices: One of the best ways to reduce the amount of money you spend — and waste — on food, is to make sure you’re getting the best prices! Here are some resources that can help:

See all our latest deals & savings tips.

How to compare unit prices at the grocery store

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