Lesson 4: Freezing helps you waste not, want not

Author: Caitlin Jacobs, Office of Sustainability

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Leftovers In Freezer
Storing leftovers in reusable containers helps cut down on food waste. It can also help you from wasting money.

My grandmother taught me about sustainability. There was no food thrown away, no empty butter tubs that wouldn’t have a second life as a home for leftovers and no bacon trimmings that wouldn’t reappear in biscuits or beans. She worked miracles and taught me the power that comes from being thoughtful whenever purchasing and resourceful enough to use everything, every time. 

The freezer helps me make the most of my leftovers and facilitates easy meal prepping for busy weeks. My current favorite freezer hack is using it to store chiles and other hot peppers. When I buy a large quantity at the market (or, as I was last month, gifted a whole bushel by my avid gardener brother-in-law), I pickle some for later and freeze some in an airtight container for use in stews or curries. I do this for any produce that is getting past its peak or that I know will not get used in time, such as ripe bananas or greens, so that I can use them in smoothies or other recipes. I also keep veggie scraps (onion ends, carrot tops …) in a reusable bag and make vegetable stock about once a month with those odds and ends.

What helps me: any plastic or glass containers, honestly — even butter tubs!

Caitlin Jacobs is the sustainability program manager in the Office of Sustainability. You can find more sustainable living ideas on the Vatican’s new Laudato Si' Action Platform.

Originally published by Caitlin Jacobs, Office of Sustainability at ndworks.nd.edu on January 11, 2022.