Food waste is a problem here, use these tips to cut waste down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

We at the Escambia County Office of the Alabama Extension System hope you are having a beautiful, safe and happy Holiday Season. We hope to see you sometime soon in 2018!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates about 90 billion pounds of edible food goes uneaten each year in homes and away-from home eating-places. This is equal to 123 times the weight of the Empire State Building and costs consumers about $370 per person each year. Wow!  That’s amazing!
Here’s the breakdown from USDA on how much food is wasted from each food grouping per person yearly:

• Grains: $22

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• Fruits: $45

• Protein Foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts): $140

• Vegetables: $66

• Dairy: $60

• Added fat and sugar: $37
Do you have some leftovers languishing in your refrigerator? Or perhaps little bits of foods that are almost past prime time to eat. Read on if their next stop is likely to be the trash can.
What can we do with all of our leftovers?  We can give new life to still edible foods with the following gallery of delicious ideas.  Remember, as a rule, use leftovers within 3–4 days.
Meats, Vegetables, Pasta

Search your fridge for foods that can be combined into a soup. Add extra cooked pasta or rice at the end, so it heats through but doesn’t become mushy from overcooking. Keep some chicken stock or canned, diced tomatoes on-hand for a quick soup base.

Use up those odds and ends of harder cheeses by shredding them with a grater or in a food processor. Check your refrigerator for other ingredients to include such as olives, pickles, pimientos, walnuts, red or green peppers, etc.; add low-fat mayonnaise to bind ingredients and use as a sandwich spread.

Transform slightly dried-out bread into croutons: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly brush top side of bread with olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes, leaving the crusts on. Spread in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake on middle shelf of the oven for 5–10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. No need to turn croutons during baking.
Fruit, Yogurt

Chop and combine those last pieces of fruit. Flavored or plain yogurt — perhaps sweetened with a little honey and a splash of vanilla — makes a tasty dressing. Other possible add-ins include the remainder of that package of nuts and those final bits of dried fruit.

A general guideline is to use eggs within 3–5 weeks after purchasing them for best quality. Gain extra storage time by boiling the eggs. Hard-cooked eggs, will keep in their shell for 7 days in a clean covered container in the fridge.They make a quick high quality protein source for a meal such as in main dish salads and sandwiches.
Assorted Produce

Toss assorted bits and pieces of produce lingering in the refrigerator and on your kitchen counter into a salad. Add the last of that bag of soonto-be-limp lettuce; wedges cut from an almost overly ripe tomato and strips from that remaining half a pepper. Do  something “grate” and grate in some cabbage and carrots; while you’re at it, add some grated cheese. Mix in some leftover chicken chunks or add a can of tuna, and you’ll have a bountiful main dish salad!  Source: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator & Dietitian


My Dear friend, Mrs. Florence Rowser, knew exactly what to do with leftover turkey from her Christmas dinner.  She made a colorful and delicious Turkey Salad for guests invited to lunch later this week.  Enjoy!

Florence Rowser’s Leftover Turkey Salad

2-3   cups turkey breast, diced

½      cup celery, chopped

1       cup red or green seedless grapes, sliced

1/3   cup pickle relish

¾ -1 cup mayonnaise

1    tablespoon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped pecans or walnut, optional

Combine all ingredients, mix well and chill at least one hour before serving.