Photo: The money-saving food tip no one is talking about

Add sad-looking produce and foods approaching their "best before" dates to your "Eat-me-first" bin. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

January, 2016 will go down as the "great Canadian cauliflower crisis" due to the cascading Canadian dollar, tumbling oil prices and California's drought.

Maybe you're immune to the hysteria because:

  1. You prefer local, seasonal produce
  2. Your household is already saving about $700 per year by not wasting food
  3. You willingly pay higher prices for organic, local and fair trade

High food prices are likely here to stay. In fact, Canadians should expect to spend $345 more this year on food. Where will that extra dough come from?

A hard-core solution: join the Bathurst family of New Brunswick — start homesteading. (They're so brave!)

A soft-core solution: Create an "Eat-me-first" bin or basket for the fridge.

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I can't take credit for the "eat-me-first" bin featured in my Queen of Green Coaches video. I discovered this brilliant yet simple tip by watching Jen and Grant of the Just Eat It movie. They ate only rescued, discarded and surplus food for six months, spending $200 in that time yet acquiring $20,000 of food in their house — $13,000 of which was fair trade AND organic chocolate. (These are smart people! Let's be more like Jen and Grant.)

Step 1: Find a bin or basket

  • Repurpose a plastic bin or basket

Step 2: Label it

  • In bold letters write, "Eat-me-first"

Step 3: Add food

  • Choose sad-looking produce and foods approaching their "best before" dates

Note: Do you know where to find the coldest and warmest parts of your fridge??

Step 4: Meal plan

  • Find recipes that incorporate "Eat-me-first" bin items

This bin will help you save money and put valuable nutrients into you and your family and friends instead of into the compost.

It's simple, "See your food and eat your food!" (I mean that was the whole reason you bought it, right?)

What other tips do you have to eat what you buy?

Sincerely,
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

January 27, 2016
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2016/01/the-money-saving-food-tip-no-one-is-talking-about/

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5 Comments

Jan 09, 2017
2:10 PM

We plan meals around the clearance rack in the fruit and veg department at the store. Tonight we are having cauliflower soup with a $2 cauliflower from that rack — they had a few dark areas on the surface. My smoothie in the morning will contain bananas that were 30% off and being cleared out with imperfections.

Aug 20, 2016
2:37 PM

If I have leftover vegetables — any kind — that I don’t think will get eaten, I collect them in the freezer in a plastic bag or container with veggies from other meals. When I have a few cups worth, I make a pureed vegetable soup, usually flavoured with curry or other spices. Great for lunches! http://www.insurancegala.com/american-family-insurance/

Feb 04, 2016
6:18 AM

I also live alone and have to deal with family size packages. I will sometimes design meals using all of the ingredients then divide them into microwavable meal portions and freeze them. This means I have components for meals or meals always at the ready. Saves electricity and many clean ups. I too make a ‘garbage soup’ freezer bin, in which I put all the leftovers and trim (celery leaves e.g.) when I have enough I make a nice broth for a soup base. This can also be frozen for future use.

Jan 29, 2016
5:44 PM

I live alone and find it hard to consume food before it spoils since most foods are sold in family sized packages. What I did this year was invest in a vacuum seal system. my food lasts 3 times longer in the fridge and 10 times longer in the freezer. I no longer lose food to freezer burn.

It does use plastic bags, which i know is not good for the environment so I am coming up with ways to repurpose those bags. I melt them together to make a plastic fabric which I can then make into tarps or sew into reusable shopping bags.

I am also planning on joining a local CSA this year so I will get all of my fresh produce from local sources at cheaper rates than supermarkets.

Jan 29, 2016
9:24 AM

If I have leftover vegetables — any kind — that I don’t think will get eaten, I collect them in the freezer in a plastic bag or container with veggies from other meals. When I have a few cups worth, I make a pureed vegetable soup, usually flavoured with curry or other spices. Great for lunches!

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