Food Waste

Interesting article in VOX which aligns with my understanding (I didn’t fact check). My big reaction is “what took you so long?” Article ignores food that goes in the freezer and that dates no longer mean much.

I can’t think of anything we toss purely on dates. On the other hand:

Me: “What are these?”
Wife: “Carrots.”
Me: “They’re green.”

So what is your practice with dates?

Credit to @shrinkrap for her similar thread here.

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In the main, I enjoy eating them a lot. Particularly medjool dates. But I do have a quite unusual date chutney that I got from the local south asian supermarket. I certainly don’t think we waste any - the Iranian ones are semi dried and last for ages.


Oh, wait a minute. You didnt mean dates. You meant dates.

Generally not fussed about “best before” dates. A bit fussed about “use by” dates, particularly with seafood or dairy. But we’re not slavish about them.

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I buy and toss based on date stamps.

The only items that go into the freezers are what I buy frozen.

I waste a lot of food / ingredients. It is a terrible habit I need to improve on

Well that’s interesting.

We put a good bit in the freezer. Fresh bread portioned and frozen. Some prep (like diced onion) frozen. Lots of food to “feed the freezer:” lasagna, enchiladas, stuffed shells, burritos. Bulk buys, especially meats, from Sam’s Club portioned and frozen. My wife sometimes freezes soups and sauces but I prefer shelf stable home canning. Extra butter goes in the freezer.

I can’t imagine tossing based on a “best buy” date.

Very rare for anything beyond trimmings going into the trash. Fridge or freezer, containers get blue tape with the date it goes in. Produce just gets examined and if it’s fading it gets eaten.

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Us too. We often buy high welfare meat via the internet. Also quite often we make large portion of something - one to eat now, one for the freezer brown gloop drawer. Veg that is coming to the end of its time gets turned into soup and frozen. And that last bit of stew that didnt get eaten gets wazzed in the processor and becomes the base of a sauce or something.


I don’t really care for things like bread and butter frozen . . . I find the texture is altered after thawing.

However, everything else is fair game. When I cut an onion or peppers for a meal, I chop the remainder and store in the freezer for later use in a range of dishes. I don’t shop in bulk, but most meat packages are too large for my household of two, so a portion is also frozen (in bags labeled with the date). And I always like to have a big bag of stuffed shells in the freezer for those days I want to eat but don’t want to cook.

Like @Harters vegs coming to the end make a soup; fruit approaching its end becomes an ice cream topping.

I used to toss if the “best by” date had passed, but once I realized how much I was wasting I became much more tolerant. “Use by” date requires the smell test . . . I waste more dairy than I’d like to admit, but it beats the alternative.

Oh, you young 'uns! I think I was at least in my late 20’s before some greedy corporate types realized they could dupe people into throwing food away and buying more by simply employing some ginned-up dates. If not your parents, then certainly your grandparents, used their eyes, noses, and common sense to decide when food and ingredients had spoiled.

My goal is always to use everything. Peels and other vegetable trimmings are tossed into the surrounding woods, for thebwild critters.


Hmm. I don’t much care for bread and butter refrigerated. grin So there. I can’t say I notice a texture difference on those products frozen and thawed. What temp do you keep your freezer? We run our chest freezer around 5F.


I accept being different than most … if I am.

I buy from the market what I cook in the next day or two. I don’t buy and freeze sale items. Maybe I should but I don’t.

Further, I eat what I cook for that meal. I rarely have leftovers and if I do they go to my grateful four legged assistants or into the trash.

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About the only things that get binned from the freezer are the things that are visibly freezer burned or things that I’ve had so long that I recognize I’m probably not going to use them and I’m tired of moving them around. Some meat (especially BS breasts, which I consider a staple) some veg (particularly Costco frozen stir fry mix… also a staple), and bits I save for stock. (The offspring no longer recoils from bags of wing tips, back, and feet, even if he thinks it looks like Sweeney Todd lol)

Fresh meat I’ve gotten pretty good at gauging what we’ll go through in a week. I have a real butcher shop here where I can buy just enough for two of us, so that’s good.

I struggle with fresh things. I buy the lovely things (from local/family sources when I can), but time and energy leave them untouched and I end up pitching them. I’m getting better, but I have a ways to go.

No dairy at my house, but I use the dates as a gauge of how scrupulously I need to sniff it before I use it. Sauces and dressings with a long-passed expiration get tossed simply because if we haven’t used it since then, we ain’t gonna.

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One local market puts stuff close to the sell by date on sale, which is why I often ask how to use it.

For those of you who fridge or freeze and label with dates, how do you use those dates?

P.S. I always freeze butter and nuts, and buy frozen raw shrimp, and keep them in the freezer until I need some.

Pretty much cruise the fridge once a day and look at dates and adjust weekly meal plan to use up the oldest stuff first. Leftovers are easiest - I eat them for breakfast and lunch.

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My wife and her sister are have a long girls weekend. Last night I finished the very last of the leftovers. This morning was a mishmash (is that a proper word) of fading produce. This afternoon I made double batches of macaroni salad and pasta salad (last of the oldish deli meats in there) so there will be some to share with SIL family when they get back. Dinner tonight (third day on my own) is completely fresh from scratch. Food in the bin is all trimmings. Virtue signaling? Maybe.

So what does one do with the liquid in a jar or can of olives, or the liquid from pickles? It occurs to me that pouring stuff down the drain is waste also.

Some people put hard boiled eggs in a jar of pickle juice for pickled eggs. Green olive juice is used in dirty martinis.

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Pickle juice is good for pickling hard boiled
eggs; also for flavoring potatoes for salad, or pasta. Sweet hot pickle juice good for quickles of onion slices, jalapeño, carrot ribbons, cauliflower. No
uses found for olive brine so far…

Not sure about olives but I use pickle juice to brine chicken breasts. If they must be on the menu.


For himself I presume.

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A most recent successful hack was mixing pepperoncini juice with leftover skordalia for marinated chicken, which was then cooked on the grill. Simply amazing! Thinking olive juice may be tasty as brine for feta cheese or to keep leftover tofu wet. BUT, would probably look unsightly.
ETA: at least dark olive juice. Enjoy all kinds of olives, no LOVE them.
Just wondering if olive brine might be good for marinating mini fresh mozzarella balls - hmmm may have to give it a try.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold