Time: About an hour depending on the amount of food
Activity Overview: Making sure to consume all the food that you buy is a fantastic way to reduce waste and save money. There are many simple ways to help you reduce the amount of food you throw away and help you get a little more organized. To start off, you can make a list of the food that you and your family eat on a weekly basis, as well as the food that is more likely to get thrown away. Make sure to check out our activity on Make Your Own Food Diary to get more information on organizing your meals.
This activity is done best at home but can be incorporated into the classroom through research activities on food conservation.
Freezing your food is an excellent and popular way to ensure that your food items stay fresh long enough for you and your family to fully consume. After buying groceries, you could cook your meat, then store it into airtight bags to freeze. This meat can then be easily defrosted and heated on the stove or in the microwave for a convenient easy meal. Additionally freeze a portion of your fruits and vegetables and use later for a stir fry or a delicious smoothie!
Dehydrating is a fantastic technique that has been used throughout history to elongate the longevity of produce. This method will allow you to maintain the majority of your food’s nutritional value while creating a convenient and healthy snack that you and your family can enjoy anywhere at any time.
The most convenient way to dehydrate your produce is to get your hands on a dehydrator, these machines vary in price but can be found in most home appliance stores as well as online. However, if you do not own and/or would prefer to not buy a dehydrating machine, here are some alternative options.
Dehydrating with an oven:
*This can also be done using a toaster oven, just set the toaster oven to the lowest setting and keep the door slightly ajar. Keep an eye on your produce and keep in mind that it might take longer for the produce to dehydrate than it would using an oven.
This is a great technique, especially if you live in a constantly sunny and dry environment and want to save some electricity. However you should also note that it works best with certain produce, such as herbs. If you wish to dehydrate fruit in this way, make sure to keep it covered with a clear glass cover or mesh/cloth to keep flies out. Additionally, if you live in a humid environment, this technique is not very recommended due to the increased chance of developing mold. This technique is only advised for those who live in climates where the temperature can reach over 100° F and there is low humidity (West Texas for example).
*Dehydrated produce can last you about 4 to 6 months depending on the method used as well as the way in which the produce was dehydrated and stored.
This technique works best for herbs and is a perfect method for making your own organic teas and spices.
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Watt Watchers of Texas
204 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712