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5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

During the spring, many people take steps to clean their closets, garages and kitchens. Have you ever had to throw out food that has become moldy in your fridge? Have any of your packaged foods lost their appealing taste or color because they were "lost" in the back of a cupboard? Have you bought a large package of food because it had a lower "unit price" and you or your family became tired of the food?
5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

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Most of us have had to toss food. No one likes to waste food because food costs money. These are several ideas to help avoid food waste and throwing your money in the trash.

  • "Shop" your refrigerator, freezer and cupboard. Before going to the grocery store, take stock of what you have on hand in your refrigerator, freezer, or cupboard. Incorporate those foods into your menus. Make a list of what you need.
  • Look for recipes to use the ingredients you have on hand. Visit for recipes and ideas. Many phone apps allow you to type in the ingredients you have on hand. The app will find recipes that uses those ingredients. 
  • Rotate your stock. When you buy "new" food, move the "old" food from the back of the cupboard or refrigerator to the front. Use the "older" food before the "new" food.
  • Preserve your excess food. If you find a bargain on fruit this spring, you can freeze or dry it. Check out and click on "food preservation" to learn about freezing, drying, and other food preservation methods.
  • Examine your trash. Are you throwing certain foods more often? Maybe you need to buy smaller quantities of the ingredient so it doesn't go to waste. 

Ask your Extension agent/assistant for information about making a meal in a bowl, soups, sandwiches, casseroles and other menu items from what you have on hand. Visit and click on "Food Preparation" then "Pinchin' Pennies in the Kitchen."

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise May 2015 newsletter (PDF)

Filed under: food safety, smart shopping
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