Zero waste lifestyle is a real thing. It is a concept that allows you to use everything that you purchase and not let it go to waste.
Better for your wallet and better for the environment. I am a part of this zero waste lifestyle movement and I didn’t even realize it!
It seems so many of the Youtubers that I have been watching are talking about the freezer lately.
It must be the time of the year. So I am jumping on the bandwagon and chatting about how I utilize my freezer!
I have also been doing a lot of research on the zero waste lifestyle which goes hand in hand with freezer meals.
When we bought our tiny little house 16 years ago, my dad gave us his stand up freezer. It was a great gift, but it was about 20 years old.
Our electric company had a program where they would come into your home and do an audit on the amount of electricity you were using to see if they could help you save some money.
They came with a big box of goodies like CFL light bulbs, weather stripping, plastic for your windows, and pamphlets of useful information.
They checked the appliances to monitor the amount of energy they were using, and when they got to the freezer, he informed me that it was using a lot more than it should.
He offered me a BRAND NEW freezer!!! The only stipulation was they would have to remove the old freezer. Of course, I jumped right on that, and they delivered a brand new Frigidaire freezer in the next few weeks! It has served us well!
Here is how I like to deal with leftovers.
Let’s use chicken breasts as an example. I had five boneless chicken breasts that I cut in thirds and cooked with seasonings in the Instant Pot. There were 15 pieces. We ate about 6 of those for dinner that night with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a veggie mix.
Then, the next night, I took four more of those chicken pieces and chopped them up, dumped the rest of the veggies, potatoes, gravy, and added a handful of hash brown potatoes into a pot and called it Chicken Pot Pie soup.
There was enough left over to put jars in the freezer to make three servings for back to school lunches. We continued to eat the chicken for salads, and I still had two pieces left after three days (which is my max for leftovers) that I cut up in serving sizes to pull out of the freezer in a pinch for a salad.
Just throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds! Those chicken breast served us for more than three meals!!
What a great way to save money
To make this work for you, you need to be on top of the stuff in the fridge. Produce is an excellent example. Much of that goes bad fast. You can always freeze it.
Here are a couple of ways I like to use the “getting to that point” fruits and veggies.
There is an overabundance this time of year with squashes and zucchini. I like to cut it up and boil it just until soft. Then I let it cool and separate the flesh from the skins and seeds.
Let the water strain out and throw it in a blender. Add some salt and pepper and a stick of butter (is a whole stick too much?).
Then, I throw it in a glass jar with room for expansion and stick it in my freezer. I do this with many veggies when they get to that point that I don’t want them to go bad, some you can just chop up and freeze like peppers, onions, and carrots.
Others you may have to cook a little like potatoes.
Fruits are great pureed. Apples and pears are just seeded and thrown into the blender. I have made some fantastic s fruit sauces with fruit on the cusp.
One of my son’s favorite is pear blueberry sauce. You can also freeze that! No need to spend all that money on those fancy applesauce cups!
But you need to keep an eye on the food. You need to catch it before it crosses the line. The whole goal is zero waste.
This is an obstacle if you are trying to live a zero waste life. It takes some trial and error to figure this part out, especially when you are shopping once a month. Read about that HERE.
I know for a fact that we can eat eight bananas before they go bad. If there is a fluke where that doesn’t happen, we freeze a lot of bananas for banana bread and muffins in the colder months.
Spinach is a tough one for us. I feel like you never know how long it will last. Again, the freezer is my BFF! Smoothies are big around our place so throwing a couple of handfuls of spinach in the freezer will get eaten.
Again, trial and error and your freezer.
Leftovers are not for me
It might be time to find a way to get over your bad self. I have heard that there are people out there that don’t like to eat leftovers.
I, as the cheapest person I have ever met, cannot say that about myself. And my family wouldn’t dare. Planned leftovers are a weekly occurrence for me whether they are in the lunch sack or leftover chicken in a casserole.
It is a part of our life.
To save money and not waste food, you may have to come to terms with your fear of leftovers realizing what a gift it is to have more food than you can eat when there are so many in the world who are dying.
Be grateful for leftovers and break out the ketchup, if you need to!
I challenge you for one month to concur with the zero waste challenge. Find another way to use your leftovers or figure out how to freeze them.
Next time you go into the freezer section, take a look around to see what manufacturers are freezing. If they are freezing it so can you.
But do remember, freezing something may change the consistency but will not change the taste. I usually don’t mind, but if I do, I make sure that I am using it for something else.