The simple answer is get a couple pigs or chickens. That’s it. End blog post here. But that’s not an ideal answer. If you can’t have pigs or chickens, or you don’t like or want livestock. What are your other options? How can you reduce food waste?
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Sometimes reducing food waste is as simple as making a larger batch and canning it. For example, beef stew is literally the easiest meal on the planet to can. Make a big batch of it and can the left overs. You will need a pressure canner. Though it’s not absolutely required, it is strongly recommended.
If you don’t want to make a large batch but still want to get a couple jars of left overs canned? This little canner is a great option. It’s a little pricey but for the ease of use and not having to lug out one of the big canners? I think it’s definitely worth the investment.
Canning can be pretty nerve-racking to start. Especially, if you are teaching yourself how to start canning. But I promise, the old days of pressure canners exploding are WAY less likely to repeat themselves.
Dehydrating To Reduce Food Waste
I talked here about my new love for dehydrating and I have to say it’s one of my favorite ways to not only reduce food waste, but also to put up food for a rainy day. I love the “set it and forget it” ability with dehydrating food. With a couple hours of prep (for large batches), I can fill up my trays and be done. One of the ways that I work my dehydrator schedule is to cut a large batch of a veggie while prepping/cooking dinner and then fill the trays. Usually, by morning it’s done and ready to be put into jars.
If you are only cutting a cup of carrots but have another pound that will go bad? Just cut all of them and throw what you don’t need in the dehydrator.
When it comes to using a dehydrator to reduce food waste, I mainly use it when I find great deals or sales. Or when my garden is over abundant. I have two dehydrators, one that is a DIY that we picked up from our local Habitat For Humanity and our Excalibur. I have to say the mac daddy one that we picked up? Absolute favorite because it is MASSIVE.
Can You Feed Food Scrap Your Livestock
Another fantastic way to reduce food waste is to feed it to your animals! This goes for ALL animals on the homestead but is only where applicable. We have a 5gal bucket on our back deck that is strictly for our chickens and pigs. Every evening fill the bucket about half way with feed if it’s not full and throw it on the ground for them.
By feeding kitchen scraps to your livestock, you can effectively reduce not only your food waste but also your feed bill! In fact, we have a whole section of the garden that is for livestock fodder. Another cool hack is to bring a small covered bucket to work and have your co workers fill the bucket with their food scraps! We have been feeding our pigs and chickens for months like this.
A word of caution though, not all animals can eat all food scraps. So be aware and prepared for that. Goats can’t eat meat. It’s taboo for a chicken to eat chicken. Cows shouldn’t have large apples. Etc. So just be cautious when feeding your livestock out of your kitchen scraps.
Meal Prepping To Reduce Food Waste
Lastly, meal prepping will help you reduce a lot of food waste. I talked here about how to stretch your meals out to reduce the stress of cooking after a long day of work. When you have a plan of what you are going to eat for the week, it really helps to reduce food waste and stress!
If you are working towards reducing your need of processed foods, that not only feed your family but the scraps go to your livestock, I talk about cooking from scratch here. Because buying the non-gmo, no corn/soy feed for your meat animals doesn’t make a lick of sense if you turn around and feed them a box of mac and cheese.
Bonus Tip: Compost!
The reason why this wasn’t included in the main group is because composting has some “rules”. The general rule of thumb for compost is to put in organic matter. Things like leaves, grass clippings, garden waste, and most kitchen scraps. BUT!
You really don’t want to put meat scraps in your compost. You can put meat or bones in your compost, but you chance predators or the meat going rancid and causing problems in your compost. Another problem is using things like oil, butter, etc can also go rancid. But if you have left over carrot caps, watermelon rinds, etc? Abosultely put them in the compost.