Freezing Food, Reducing Waste

freezer_foodWhen I moved out of my college apartment in December, I made several shocking discoveries. The first was how many bobby pins there were in my bedroom floor. Seriously, had I kept that place cleaner, I would have known I had hundreds of bobby pins. Second, how quickly so much stuff could be packed and moved. I had spent days working on that room before and never got it clean and my family had the whole thing packed and in the car in an hour. I guess it is safe to say I’m an incompetent house-cleaner. The most shocking discovery by far, however, was how much food I had let go bad in my freezer.

I had spent the last three years sharing an apartment with three other girls and while the apartment had a full-sized refrigerator, by midwest American standards, it was pretty darn small. So how on earth did I manage to miss so much food? Leaving with more college loans than potential for income, throwing away perfectly good steak was a painful ordeal. Except, it wasn’t perfectly good, now it was three years old. I’d forgotten about it for three full years.

Getting food as a college student isn’t incredibly difficult. I could always find an event on campus that was willing to send me home with the leftovers. However, that was all pretty useless since I couldn’t remember for ten minutes what I had frozen. With ten thousand other things to remember, it would have been really nice to have had the EatBy App to help me keep track of all that deliciousness. I could have saved a fortune on take-out.

The idea of making an app to keep track of food I find especially brilliant because it is a medium I would use. Had I tried as a college student to write down on a calendar every single item in my freezer, looked up when it went bad, then tried to keep track with another list, well, I just wouldn’t have done it. Apps, however, I use everyday.

rottenapples1945613mI use apps to keep up with everything from how far I walk to how much I eat. Having an app that kept track of what food I owned would have been a lifesaver. It would have been a whole lot cheaper than the app that got me ten dollar take-out several times a week.

According to one statistic in the U.S., the average family of four trashes $1,484 worth of edible food a year. At first, that numbers seems a little overwhelming, but when you break it down that is just under $124 a month, or around $31 a month per person. With the current prices of food, I have no doubt that my family fits well within this statistic.

How can we make sure this isn’t us?

1. Cook smaller portions. 

If you know you aren’t going to eat a whole box of macaroni, then look up a recipe that makes less. This is, of course, the most obvious of the solutions.

2. Eat your leftovers for lunch.

The first solution often doesn’t work for households with more than one person. With two teenage boys in my house, I never have any idea how much to cook for dinner, which leaves us with a lot of leftovers. However, the longer they stay in the fridge, the less likely we are to want to eat them and the more likely we are to throw them away.

3. Freeze food in smaller servings. 

Our family often ends up throwing away the majority of the turkey we have on Thanksgiving. It isn’t because we hate turkey, its because we consistently make the mistake of freezing the entire turkey in one bag, which means reheating the entire turkey at once and giving us more than we want to eat. I discovered early on that I let less hamburger spoil if I divide it into 1/4 pounds instead of freezing it in the 5 pound roll it comes in. Similarly, if you freeze your leftover dinners in single serving, your making your own to-go lunches for much cheaper than freezer isle prices.

4. Download Eatby App. 

Never forget what is in your freezer again!

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