As preppers, we know that we need to keep stockpiles of food to survive a crisis, but there’s one problem…Unlike the rest of our survival gear, food is something that needs to be continually replaced.
Most American households buy more food than they need, and that excess food turns into waste.
This wasted food costs you money every year, and when SHTF, you’ll need to rotate your food anyway, so why not learn a few tricks now while you still have time?
A British non-profit called the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) put together a list of the most frequently wasted foods in the U.K. Waste from the U.K. is probably very similar to ours, so we can use this list to get a good idea of what the most commonly wasted foods are.
The Top 20 Most Wasted Foods:
- Potatoes (359,000 tons)
- Bread slices (328,000 tons)
- Apples (190,000 tons)
- Meat or fish mixed meals (161,000 tons)
- International breads (e.g. naan, tortilla) (102,000 tons)
- Vegetable mixed meals (96,000 tons)
- Pasta mixed meals (87,000 tons)
- Bread rolls/baguettes (86,000 tons)
- Rice mixed meals (85,000 tons)
- Mixed meals (85,000 tons)
- Bananas (84,000 tons)
- Bread loaves (75,000 tons)
- Yogurts/yogurt drinks (67,000 tons)
- Sandwiches (63,000 tons)
- Cakes (62,000 tons)
- Lettuces (61,000 tons)
- Tomatoes (61,000 tons)
- Cabbages (56,000 tons)
- Cooked rice (55,000 tons)
- Mixed vegetables (53,000 tons)
6 Simple Hacks To Re-use Old Food
Just because you have food that’s starting to go bad doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Here are 6 simple uses for old food that you would have otherwise thrown out.
Use Over-ripe Bananas to Make Banana Bread: Bananas have a very short shelf life, so it’s no surprise that so many get thrown away each year.
Over-ripe bananas are mushy and nasty on their own, but bake them into delicious banana bread and you can get more use out of them.
Make Home-made Croutons Out of Stale Bread: If your bread is starting to go stale, you can salvage it by making home-made croutons before they get moldy.
It’s easy to make croutons. Cut the bread into little squares, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt and any herbs you like, and then bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Make a Delicious Soup Out of Chicken Bones and Veggie Scraps: If you raise your own chickens or buy whole chickens from the store, you can get more use out of the bones rather than dumping them in the trash.
It’s easier to make home-made chicken broth than you might think. Place the chicken carcass and veggie scraps into a pot and add cold water. Now bring the water to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer for about 3 – 4 hours. Filter the scraps out, and when it cools, you can use your chicken broth or store it for later.
Turn Your Halloween Pumpkin into a Full Meal: Too many people use their Halloween pumpkins only as decorations and throw away all the edible parts. Use the flesh to make a mouth-watering pumpkin pie, and bake the pumpkin seeds for a tasty nutritious snack.
After removing the seeds from the pumpkin, wash them off and pat them dry. Then mix them with olive oil and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt and then bake them at 400 degrees for roughly 20 minutes. You can also lightly sauté them in a pan on medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes.
Preserve Your Extra Fruits and Vegetables: If you’ve harvested too many fruits or veggies during the growing season, you can preserve them rather than let them go to waste.
Canning is the process of preserving food by placing them in glass jars with water and vinegar, and then boiling them to kill the bacteria. Some foods are safe to can with a simple glass jar, but others, such as meats, require more advanced canning methods.
If Nothing Else, Add It to Compost: Even if you can’t find a use for your old food, it doesn’t have to completely go to waste. Rather than throwing it in the trash, let its nutrients return to the Earth in your yard.
By having a compost pile, your old food will give you nutrient rich soil. Just be careful of attracting bears if you live in bear country, or racoons no matter where you live. The smell of certain foods could attract their unwanted attention.
Of course, you should also supplement your perishable food sources by maintaining long-term food storage.
There’s a lot more ways to salvage food that’s about to go bad, but this should give you a good start. Know any other recipes, tips or tricks for food preservation that weren’t listed here? Share them in the comments below.