You might be in denial because at one time or another, we have all hoarded groceries. Who of us have not had our freezers packed, our fridges full or our shelves bulging?
I think back to when my grandmother died about 8 years ago. To walk into her home, nothing seemed amiss or odd but as we started opening cupboards, pantries, and freezers, you couldn't help but be struck with horror. She had food in her cupboards that were well over 6 years old. Food in the freezer that should have been pink was frozen burnt brown. My uncles said that she never learned how to adjust to not having a house full of people to cook for. The sad thing was is that we threw out well over a thousand dollars worth of food.
Now, I know the majority of us don't have issues that are quite that bad but I think a lot of us don't know how to shop, shop without thinking, or have forgotten how to plan. I am so guilty of buying products on sale that I think I'll use in a couple of months, only to not use them. The other day, I pulled out 2 blocks of cream cheese-ya, they had expired 6 months ago. I pull open my freezer...I found chicken breasts in there from 6 months ago...the fact was I wasted my money. I never intended to, but I did. That's probably true for most of us...
Here are some tips when considering stocking your shelves:
1. Prethink your meal preparation. We can make a lot of food using what we already have in our homes. Plan to use those ingredients first before buying other products.
2. Only buy what you can consume for at the most a month. I'm talking about cereal, soup, crackers, granola bars, popcorn, cake packages, etc. If you're not going to use it within a month, chances are it's going to sit for a lot longer. Be reminded that other foods may have a shorter life than that. If that's hard for you to think about. Think about this: Don't you want to eat the freshest food???
3. Shop with a list and shop using flier sales. Make your list using what's available in the flier and plan around that.
4. When you shop, make sure you have a place to store them that allows you to readily see what you have in your fridge or cupboards. How many of us have bought things that we already had simply because we didn't see the food we already have? (I'm also a big forgetter if I don't see it, I won't even remember I have it).
Tips for dealing with your food that you have now:
1. Clean your fridge out every week or two weeks, and your freezer out every month. Check expiration dates and general look of food...if ice is building up in the frozen bread, chances are it's time to toss it.
2. Arrange your food so that you can actually see what you have. Put like products with like products.
3. Go through spices and herbs. Get rid of any that have sat for more than 6 months as once they've been opened, the quality decreases each day.
4. Any food that has been sitting for months, but is still within the expiration time-ask yourself if you really plan on using it. If not, toss or donate to a food bank.