Green Tips: Fall Harvest

Green Tips | September 30, 2021

Fall is often ripe with an abundance of food and filled with activities such as apple picking and pumpkin pie baking. However, with abundance also comes waste, with 30-40 percent of the food supply in the United States estimated to be thrown away each year. Not only is food waste costly, but it is also estimated to be responsible for up to 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions each year

With some careful planning, though, a lot of this food waste can be eliminated. Below are some tips to avoid wasting food while enjoying the abundance of the fall season. 

  • An excellent way to prevent food waste is to utilize all parts of the vegetable. For example, if using pumpkins to make a pumpkin pie, you could also bake the pumpkin seeds. Eating the skin of fruits and vegetables such as apples and potatoes is also known to have nutritional benefits.  
    • Another great way to use leftover seeds is to plant them in your own garden and create your own fall harvest crop for the next year. 
  • If any food scraps remain, such as apple cores, compost them instead of throwing them away. If composting larger food scraps, be sure to cut them up into smaller pieces so they biodegrade more quickly (composting jack-o-lanterns after the season is also an excellent way to dispose of them!)
  • Food preservation is also a great way to prevent food waste. Canning fall fruits such as plums or apples will make the harvest last into spring and winter, and you can also pickle vegetables such as beets, turnips, and Brussel sprouts. If canning or pickling seems like a lot of effort, cutting up and freezing fall fruits and vegetables is also a viable option.
  • Be mindful of expiration dates and the quantity of food when buying. Plan out recipes for the week and only buy foods you know you will use, and make sure to only buy foods you know you will be able to eat by their expiration date. 
  • If you do have leftovers, eat them for lunch the next day or incorporate them into a new dish for dinner, such as in a soup or salad. 
  • To help reduce food waste in the supply chain, consider buying imperfect or surplus fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away. This is also a great cost-effective option to save money on still-edible and nutritious produce. 

These are just some tips for reducing food waste during the fall harvest. We hope you will commit to being more environmentally friendly while enjoying the season!

Submitted by: Michaela Stones

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