Telltale Signs You're Wasting More Food Than You Think

Get the most out of your groceries and watch your supermarket bill shrink by making these small changes.

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Waste Not

If you resolved to waste less food this year, it's good to regularly check in on your progress. Here are some revealing ways to tell if you’re getting the most out of your groceries — and if not, how to turn it around.

The Bad Sign: Your Herbs Go Black

The Fix: Woody-stemmed herbs like thyme, oregano and rosemary last a good long while, but sometimes you'll find yourself with a bunch that's too big to use before it dries out. If that's the case, strip the leaves and freeze them in an ice cube tray mixed with olive oil and thaw them out before adding to dishes.

The Bad Sign: You Throw Out Cheese Rinds

The Fix: Sure, you wouldn't want to eat cheese rinds as-is, but don’t toss them in the trash! They add incredible, cheesy flavor to broths and stews. Save them in a bag in the freezer and drop one in your next batch of tortellini soup.

The Bad Sign: You Don’t Make Stock

The Fix: There is no better home for the mushroom stems from last week’s stroganoff or the wilted celery leaves in the back of the crisper than a pot of golden, bubbling stock. (It’s also the perfect home for shrimp shells or chicken bones.) Freeze your stock for a stash of would’ve-been-wasted fixings perfect for soup, risotto or sauce.

The Bad Sign: You Buy Breadcrumbs or Croutons

The Fix: Keep a bag in the freezer for leftover bread ends or anything that’s just on the wrong side of stale. Once you’ve got a few pieces, toast them in the oven and buzz in the food processor for breadcrumbs. Or thaw them, cut into cubes and fry in oil for croutons.

The Bad Sign: You’re Not FIFOing.

The Fix: Expiration dates aren't always be easy to decipher — but no matter your take on perishables, you’ll get more use out of everything if you take a cue from the professionals and label and date all your food. You can make sure that the oldest food gets eaten before you tap into your stocks of new (also known as First In, First Out, or FIFO). That way, you won’t need to worry that you overlooked something that's now past its sell-by date.