7 of the Simplest Ways To Make Your Haul of Groceries Stretch Even Further—Because It’s Expensive Out Here

Photo: Stocksy/ Nadine Greeff
It’s no secret that Americans are grappling with food costs as many grocery staples continue to rise in price. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, food prices overall have risen more than 10 percent over the last year. And to rub salt into the wound, egg prices alone have skyrocketed over 60 percent thanks to recent shortages.

Considering the fact that nearly 40 percent of all food in America is wasted, it’s a good time to take a closer look at what unnecessarily ends up in your trash bin in an effort to reduce your food waste at home. We’ve gathered a few of the simplest ways to make the most out of your grocery supply and genius hacks for repurposing almost-spoiled ingredients in an effort to help save food and money from going down the drain.

7 smart, waste-free ways to repurpose food

1. Turn veggie scraps into fresh stock

According to a recent TikTok video by @sagebyhrnkova, it’s easy to use scraps (like leftover onions, garlic peels, and bell pepper stems) to make fresh stock. To do so, gather bits and pieces of leftover produce while meal prepping throughout the week in a bag, and toss everything in the refrigerator. Once you’ve accumulated enough scraps, simmer them in a pot of hot water until it’s infused with the delicious flavors and aromas of the veggies. Once ready, strain the mixture and reserve the stock in airtight containers in the fridge for up to one week to make soups, stews, and sauces.

@sagebyhrnkova Save your veggie scraps, reduce food waste, and make a delicious homemade vegetable broth instead ?? It’s the perfect flavor bomb to add to all of your sauces, stews and curries. You can use up all of your carrot, parsnip, onion, garlic peels (the list goes on but root vegetables are the best for this). Avoid pumpkin, beets, squash. Here’s what I used: • One sandwich bag full of veggie scraps (about 28 fl oz) • 7/8 cups of cold water (I used a small pot) • 2 carrots • 3 brussel sprouts • 1 garlic clove • 1/4 onion chunk • 1 small tomato • 1 bell pepper stem • 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper • 2 bay leaves • 5 peppercorns • fresh parsley Fill your pot with cold water, add veggie scraps. Add other fresh veggies. I honestly use up what I currently have in the fridge. Anything that will go bad is great! Add salt, pepper, peppercorns, bayleaf and bring to a boil on medium heat. Let simmer for about 3 hours on low heat. Cool, strain and store in air-tight jars in the fridge. Use up within 7 days. #veggie #veggiebroth #homemadebroth #vegetablebroth #broth #veggiestock #reducingwaste #reducingfoodwaste #hometips #kitchentip #sustainabilityinfluencer #sustainableliving #cleanhome #healthyliving #healthyrecipes #zerowasteliving #zerowastekitchen ♬ original sound - sofia :)

2. Freeze almost-spoiled fruit for smoothies

Before your blueberries have a chance to develop a coat of fuzzy mold, it’s smart to freeze them for making smoothies later on in the week. The key to freezing your fruit to perfection is ensuring that it’s arranged in an even layer to prevent clumping before stashing in a freezer-safe bag, as is demonstrated in this TikTok video by @wyseguide. You’ll want to wait to wash your berries until just before freezing (to stave away mold growth), dry them thoroughly, and then arrange them on an even layer on a baking sheet before plopping them in the freezer. Once fully frozen, you can transfer them into a different freezer-safe baggie to save room. Pro tip: If you love seasonal fruit, this is one of the best ways to ensure you get to enjoy them year-round.

@wyseguideHere’s how I freeze blueberries for use later on!♬ Still Not a Player (Remix) (Instrumental) - Big Pun

3. Turn eggs into freezable egg bites before they spoil

IYKYK: It’s nearly impossible to resist buying Starbucks’ egg bites every morning. But instead of dishing out the money to buy them when out and about, how about making them from scratch? According to a TikTok video by @rachelwarren66, silicone molds make it even easier to portion out and prevent sticking when cooking egg bites. Once completely cooled, she transfers them into freezer-safe bags to store in the freezer until ready to eat.

@rachelwarren66 To heat place a damp paper towel over the egg bites microwave 30 sec at a time #eggbites #quickbreakfast #momfood #bacon #baconeggs #freezerfood #egg ♬ Sunroof - Nicky Youre & dazy

4. Confit your produce to preserve it for weeks

One of the best ways to preserve produce for weeks on end is to apply the French cooking technique called confit, which means to preserve. To confit an ingredient, you cook a food low and slow at around 200°F in a liquid, like olive oil, that seals off the oxygen and makes it inhospitable for bacteria to reproduce. One of our favorite ways to apply this method is by confiting garlic, as @alexawhatsfordinner shows us in this TikTok video.

@alexawhatsfordinner The garlic tumble is my fav part of this vid??Garlic confit… but make it gigantic?! ??? here's my garlic confit recipe: Ingredients • 30 or more peeled garlic cloves • Around 1 cup extra virgin olive oil • 1 teaspoon kosher salt • Sprigs of fresh thyme, optional Directions: • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In an oven safe baking dish, add in garlic cloves, olive oil, and thyme. You want the cloves to be fully submerged in oil. Cover and bake in oven until the garlic is golden and tender, about 2 hours. • To store, cool down the garlic confit as quickly as possible and put it in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to a week. #garlicconfit #garlic #garlicgirl #elephantgarlic #yum #easyrecipe #vegan #plantbased #garlicrecipe #garliclover #homemade #homecooking #recipe #recipevideo #foodie #foodtok #foodvideo ♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

5. Prep all of your garlic cloves at once

Before your garlic bulbs begin to sprout, @mamalindacooks on TikTok recommends batch-prepping them using a food processor to mince them all at once, then storing them in a resealable bag before stashing away in the freezer. Then, all you have to do is break off a section to add to whatever you’re cooking (without washing additional dishes).

@mamalindacooks Are you a garlic girl?☺️🧄 Check out this easy cooking hack and never run out of garlic again! Simply break off a piece of the frozen garlic (no defrosting needed) and use it in stir-fry, soups, stews or sauces. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy! Tips: • Use pre-peeled garlic to save time. • I prefer using thin sandwich bags. It’s easier to divide into equal portions with a butter knife. • Place multiple sandwich bags full of garlic into a larger freezer bag for pro-long and safe storage. #garlicgirl #garlichack #garliclover #kitchenhacksthatwork #cookingtip #lifehack #mealprepping #freezingfoodhack #garlictips ♬ 3:03 PM - しゃろう

6. Pickle your leftover veggies before they spoil

One way to extend the life of your almost-spoiled veggies is to pickle them, as demonstrated in this TikTok video by @thelazyfoodco. In the video, they make a homemade Italian-style giardiniera by submerging veggies in a brine consisting of water, vinegar, and spices. Though they use ingredients like peppers, cauliflower, and cucumber, the same method applies to just about any veggie of your choice.

@thelazyfoodco The best way to use your leftover veggies from the week! ??? #homemadegiardiniera #giardinierahomemade #pickledveggies #homemadepickledveggies #mixedpickledvegetables #howtopicklevegetables #leftovervegetables #italiancooking ♬ pink plus white - ✿

7. Turn your leftover jarred sauces into salad dressing

Have a pesky amount of leftover pesto sauce clinging to the edges of your jar? According to a recent TikTok video by @nicolestaub, you can easily turn your leftover jarred sauce into salad dressing. All you have to do is add your favorite dressing ingredients, like olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard, then shake away until it’s all well-emulsified.

@nicolestaub pesto hack #foodhack #yourpage #food #recipe #pesto #salad ♬ Solo - Clean Bandit,Demi Lovato

An RD shares ways to eat more sustainably:

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