Consumer Watch: Let's chill out with the food waste

Buying smarter at the grocery store can prevent food waste and be better for your bottom line. (kokh)

Avoiding food waste is good for the environment, and good for your bank account. Keeping food you bought from the frozen food section in your freezer is a no brainer, but there are some fresh foods you can freeze now, so they don't end up in the trash.

Americans waste a lot of food, but there are food waste problems at the global level too. According to the United Nations, there is 45-percent loss in fruits and vegetables, and a 45-percent loss in roots and tubers, like potatoes.

Waste can happen at different parts of the process, but a huge chunk is happening in the consumption stage, which means it's just rotting in your home. Americans tend to over buy food, and if you find that you bought too much fruit consider freezing it. Frozen fruit, after all, is great for a summertime smoothie. Vegetables can be frozen too. Depending on the vegetable, consider cleaning it and chopping it before freezing it. Frozen fruits and veggies can last up to a year.

If you had plans to make some recipes, bought the ingredients, but never got around to making it, don't worry. Slow cookers or pressure cooker meals can rescue you. Combine your ingredients in a bag before they go bad, and then set them in the freezer. They will be ready to go once you are.

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, some foods don't freeze well. These include cabbage, celery, and cucumbers because they do not look or taste very good after they are thawed. For the full list, click here.

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