Farming is hard work

Farming is hard work. There are a lot of things to stay on top of such as weather patterns (especially in the unpredictable Texas Panhandle), technical farming methods, and of course, producing enough food to feed the population.

Farmers work hard to put food on your table, but for every 100 calories grown people only eat about 35. Moreover, food loss and waste amounts to about $310 billion each year, with about 50 percent of root crops, fruits, and vegetables going to waste, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. If farmers are trying to feed 9 billion by 2050, one way you can help achieve this goal is to become more conscious of your food waste. Here are some practical ways you can keep farmers’ hard work from going to waste:

Create leftovers on purpose

The best post-Thanksgiving meal is the leftover turkey sandwich, packed full with leftover cranberry sauce and stuffing as well. If we love our Thanksgiving leftovers, why don’t we do the same with other meals year-round?

Preparing twice the meat, vegetables, or rice for tonight’s dinner will give you less work tomorrow because you’ll already have a base for soup, a casserole, or even lunch the next day. Thinking of extra food as ingredients rather than leftovers will save you a lot more time and money because you’ll be utilizing more of your purchases.

Smart storage

Take note of the best way to store certain foods. For example, if you know you won’t eat your avocados right away, buy them before they’re ripe and store them in the fridge instead of the fruit basket to slow down the ripening process. Using reusable glass or clear plastic containers can also help you keep better track of your leftovers because you can see what’s inside. Make sure you put a date on each container, too, so you know how long it’s been there.

Leftovers night and kitchen sink meals

If you tend keep an especially leftover-prone fridge, dedicate one night a week to leftovers.  You can clean out the fridge by making “kitchen sink” meals—throw together some leftover vegetables, meat, and cheese with some lettuce and drizzle some dressing on it. Get creative, and who knows? Maybe you’ll discover an unexpected and delicious flavor combo you wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

Here are some other great leftover recipes to keep in mind: