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LiveBest: Avoid food waste -- make salsa

LiveBest: Avoid food waste -- make salsa

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Have you thrown away perfectly good food this week?

Overripe fruit, wilting lettuce or doggie bag remains. The truth is, you are not alone. It’s estimated that we fill 320,000 jumbo jets with wasted food each year.

Besides the wasted money, when food in a landfill rots, it becomes a significant source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 30 times the global warming of carbon dioxide. As we approach Earth Day on April 22, I want to call awareness to our food shopping habits.

Do you buy and cry? You buy food and then cry over throwing it out. It seems we’re more likely to remember the good deal we got with a sale but lose sight of the money if we toss it. When we buy big, we tend to waste more. Buying in bulk or in major shopping trips also leads to waste. We get bored with the food, or eat out rather than cook.

Here are a few tips to keep your food from filling the trash.

Use ice cube trays to freeze lemon, orange lime or grapefruit juice. This makes it easy to add citrus flavors when you cook. Chicken broth and wine can also be frozen. Be sure to label them, because frozen lemon juice looks a lot like chicken broth. Don’t be me!

Smoothie bags are a convenient way to use last-leg fruits and vegetables. Combine chunks in airtight bags or containers and pop in the freezer to make smoothies on busy weekday mornings. When you’re ready, add the frozen stuff to the blender, pour in milk, yogurt, oats, flaxseeds, or your favorite mixins.

I think salsa is the little black dress for a chicken breast, steak, or fish. You know tomato-based salsa, but let’s think bigger. Salsa is a great way to use the lonely piece of fruit or the vegetable that looks a bit tired. These little bits add up to a flavor dishes, create a beautiful plate, plus they are easy to make. Typically, a salsa includes some spice, like a jalapeno or poblano chile, some tangy acid from lime or lemon juice, and an herb such as cilantro, parsley or basil. Use what you like or have on hand. Here are 5 salsa suggestions to get you going. Use this strawberry salsa as a guide to quantities.

1. Mango with red, yellow or orange peppers, grilled corn, grilled onion, black beans, basil, lime juice

2. Pineapple, with tomatoes, red pepper, onion, mint, lime juice

3. Watermelon with cucumber, kiwi, red onion, cilantro, lemon juice

4. Grapefruit with avocado, green onions, parsley, orange juice

5. Roasted tomatillos, green chiles, and onion with cilantro, lime juice

Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website for every day food solutions.


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