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How to Reduce Food Waste

Plan ahead to help keep food waste out of the kitchen.PHOTO BY: AMY GOETZ

Ugly fruits and vegetables have been getting some attention lately. There are websites and Instagram accounts dedicated to photos of carrots that look like legs or lemons that look like Jimmy Durante. This has been a great way to bring attention to the issue of food waste.

According to the USDA, Americans throw away 30 to 40 percent of the food supply. Much of this goes to a landfill, where it can take months, even years, to decompose, releasing methane into the atmosphere. For example, a head of lettuce can take up to 25 years to decompose.

A better way to handle this food waste is composting. It creates enriched soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Many businesses are using this technique for their food waste, greatly reducing the amount sent to landfills.

The very best way to reduce food waste is to stop it before it even happens. When shopping for produce, buy only what you can consume in a few days. If the items you buy become bruised or overripe, turn it into a sauce or jam. You can also freeze it for smoothies. You can help at the grocery store, too. All of those interesting exotic fruits, like kiwis, dragon fruits and figs will be sent to the composter if no one buys them before they spoil. Expand your palate and try something new.

Amy Goetz is a FoodE Expert for Lunds & Byerlys Woodbury. She helps customers with recipe ideas, teaches cooking classes and plans events. She writes about food and recipes

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