When produce goes bad - or - how to stop throwing away rotten fruit and vegetables

Wilted lettuce, rotten tomatoes, soggy kale, fuzzy lemons ... produce that has gone bad and is only good for one thing, the garbage, is a big problem for everyone. But it is biggest of all for vegetarians who rely heavily on produce to survive.

Is there a way to stop the waste? Absolutely! And I've found it.

According to a fascinating Wild Oats article, we throw away 25 percent of the produce we buy because it’s gone bad. That's an average of 470 pounds of food per year, about 14 percent of all food brought into the home, or $600 a year.

And it has to stop.

How to stop the waste
  • Never seal produce in an airtight bag. It suffocates it which makes it go bad, faster.
  • Buy your berries and broccoli last so they don’t get warm, which also makes them go bad, faster. And once you get home, get them right into the refrigerator.
  • Keep a cooler in your car. Even if you are coming straight home from the farmers’ market, you want to keep your fruit and veg nice and cool.
  • Speaking of farmers' markets, try to hit them first thing in the morning. Hours and hours of sitting in the sun doesn't do those freshly picked greens any good.
  • Get rid of bad items, quickly. One bad apple can, indeed, spoil the bunch!
  • Eat the more perishable items first. For example, enjoy those raspberries before you reach for that orange.
  • Find ways to use up excess fruit and vegetables. For example, if you are overflowing with tomatoes, make tomato sauce. This freezes nicely. Too many berries? Make a pie. It won't freeze nicely, but if it is too much for you, then neighbors will be more than happy to enjoy your bounty. And what a nice way to make friends!