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OIT understanding the most wasted foods article

Understanding the Most Wasted Foods

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), each day the United States wastes approximately one pound of food per person. This equates to 103 million tons of food waste generated in America annually, or between 30-40 percent of our total food supply.

Hellmann’s believes that food is too good to waste, which is why they launched the Fridge Night food waste app to inspire you to be resourceful in your kitchen and make something delicious out of ‘nothing’!


According to ReFED and NRDC, the top 10 most wasted ingredients in our homes are as follows:

  • Milk
  • Fruit & Vegetable Juice
  • Chicken 
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Cheese
  • Sausages
  • Yogurt 

There are many things we can do with these delicious ingredients to use them up. We can either store them for longer periods or we can cook them before they expire.  Here are some ways to increase shelf life or use up these most wasted ingredients:

1.     Milk: 

  • Store milk on refrigerator shelves, where it’s cooler, rather than in the refrigerator doors, which tend to be warmer.
  • Milk can be frozen! Milk can last for up to 6 weeks in the freezer, without any impact on its flavor and nutritional value. Freeze unopened milk containers in their original packaging before the ‘best-before’ date. 

2.     Fruit & Vegetable Juice:

  • Store fruit and/or vegetable juice in a tightly sealed, dark-colored container to minimize exposure to oxygen and light. 
  • For long-term storage, use your freezer. Raw fruit and/or vegetable juice will keep well in your freezer for two to three months.  Try frozen cubes for easy to grab portions.  You can even blend them into a smoothie.

3.     Chicken:

  • Freeze raw chicken for long-term storage.  Even better if you can freeze individually so you defrost what you need.  Did you know you can even freeze cooked chicken?  You can then defrost and throw into another recipe
  • Or use in some of our delicious leftover chicken recipes.

4.     Bananas:

  • To keep bananas from ripening too fast, wrap the stems in plastic wrap. Once they ripen, pop them in the fridge. If the bananas are peeled, you can soak them in lemon juice for 5-10 minutes before putting them in the fridge. 
  • Bananas are easy to freeze for use later!  Just peel before freezing to make it easier to defrost and use. 
  • Or use in our delicious banana bread recipe. (Link opens in new window.)

5.     Apples:

  • To prevent apples from turning brown, create a water bath for your apple slices with a ratio of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of water. Soak the apple slices for 3 to 5 minutes, then drain and rinse them. This simple step should keep your apples from browning.
  • To freeze apples, it’s best to put them in a lemon juice or salt water bath first, which will keep them from browning. Then strain the slices, put them into a freezer bag, and pop them into the freezer. 
  • Or use with our Easy Apple Crisp recipe.

For other commonly wasted foods, check out our other delicious recipes for your leftover ingredients.


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