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Cooking Basics

Ten Thrifty Tricks for Reducing Waste In the Kitchen

We hate wasting food, time, and money.
By Published May 27, 2020

We hate waste in Cook's Country. We hate wasted food, wasted time, and wasted money. So we are constantly on the lookout for ways to make sure we're making the most of what we've got.

Here are a few small ways to reduce waste in the kitchen.

1. You can re-use parchment paper five times, so long as you aren't using it at super-high temperatures. Eventually it will turn brittle, which means it's time to say goodbye.

2. The best way to freeze bread is to slice it first. That way you only have to defrost just as much as you need and no more. And you can toast it straight from the freezer. 

3. Don't toss unzested citrus peels just because you don't need the zest today. You can save that zest for later. Before you cut into any citrus fruit, zest it, wrap the zest tightly in plastic, and keep it in the freezer.  

4. If you bought frozen supermarket pie dough and it came rolled up in a pack of two, but you only need one, you can re-freeze the extra dough. It will be just fine when you're ready to use it.

5. If you bought whole nutmeg (which you should, it's much better than pre-ground), you should store the nuts (actually they are seeds) in the freezer. Even if you've already started grating into them. They'll retain more flavor that way.

6. It is well worth investing in top-quality storage containers. Tight seals and a variety of sizes are key to keeping your leftovers in good shape. We especially love glass containers because they are easy to clean and don't retain odors.

7. Your cookies will stay fresher longer if you store them airtight with a half a slice of bread. And if they do go stale, crumble them and use them for an ice cream topping.

8. Potato chips stay fresher longer in the fridge, especially in humid climates. Seal them tight and they'll stay fresh for two weeks.

9. You can make a very nice, simple, quick chicken stock from the carcass left over from a roasted or rotisserie chicken. Just put it in a pot with half an onion, a couple of bay leaves, and 5 cups of water and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

10. A vacuum sealer is a smart tool to have, especially if you buy in bulk. Meat or produce that is vacuum sealed before being frozen lasts longer with much less moisture loss.

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