40 million tons! That is the amount of food that is thrown into the trash in the United States every year. That is a frightening huge amount and it made me shiver when I started my research and remembered the sad looking lettuce that I had tossed the day before without even thinking about it. 40 million tons of food! And that is only the amount of waste caused by private households.* Wow.
Fruits and vegetables are what is thrown away most often – especially when its warm outside. Why? Some bought more than they needed, others used less than planned, and quite often the reason is wrong storage. But the latter is something that you can easily change.
Did you know, that for example tomatoes do not belong into the fridge? They lose their aromas and taste bland. They prefer a dark, moist place and a temperature between 53.6°F and 60.8°F. The same applies to cucumbers. But you should not store them together, because tomatoes lose a lot of ethylene and that causes the cucumber to shrivel. Apples do the same, but that can actually help to quickly convert an unripe banana into a tasty one.
And because we are in the middle of their season: Peaches and nectarines definitely belong into the fridge. Not on top of each other but nicely beside each other. Otherwise, they immediately (!) get bruises. The best thing is to buy only a few and eat them quickly. Or – in case they got bruises after all: Use them to make jam or smoothies. The latter is a great option for any kind of sad looking fruit or vegetable. Even for lettuce. The combinations are limitless.
And it is the same with old bread. In case it has turned dry despite the bread bag: How about bread salat? Or croutons? Or – also very tasty – French toast? You find a delicious recipe in the article “The second life of bread” here on our blog in the section “Green Lifestyle”.
Which brings us right to what pairs best with French toast: Coffee. Coffee definitely does not belong into the fridge. It’s way to moist inside. Also, coffee quickly absorbs odors – it would be a shame if your coffee tasted like cheese all the sudden. So, the best way to store it is hermetically sealed, in a dry and cool place. If you want to use the coffee grounds for peelings or to get rid of ants or snails, spread it out to dry in order to avoid mold.
The good thing about these rather trivial household tips is, that you can actually make a difference with them. Food waste is responsible for a large part of the CO2 emissions. On its website the German Federal Environmental Agency states, that Germany could lower the greenhouse gas emissions caused by food waste by 9,5% compared to 2015. The precondition is that food waste caused by the retail sector and consumers is cut in half by 2030 (translated from German).