Carrots - put your carrots in a shallow dish with a bit of water. This keeps the carrots nice and crisp for longer. Baby carrots are so nice and crispy because of how they’re packaged. Just apply that theory to their parents and you’ll double or even triple the life expectancy of your carrots.
Potatoes & Onions - keep your potatoes and onions in a darker, dry place. It doesn’t have to be pitch black, just out of that direct and indirect sunlight. I try to keep mine more visible so I don’t forget about them and end up with something spooky.
Herbs - keep them hydrated. I keep my herbs in either a little cup with water or in a container wrapped up in a damp paper towel. I grow a few herbs outside and I just leave those untrimmed until I need them. Remember, don’t buy rosemary because it literally grows everywhere. Just trim some on your next walk or run outside to cut some next time you want to include it in your recipe.
Tomatoes - keep them on the counter until they are ripe and then keep them in the fridge. You’re going to get so much more flavor from them if you just leave them alone at room temperature instead of delaying the ripening process by cooling them.
Apples, Pears, & Citrus - just put them in a drawer in the fridge. So simple. Additionally, if you ever see a real good deal on apples at your local farmers market, take it. Apples can actually last for over a year if they stay chilled and they just get more sweet over time. Most of the apples that you’re buying are actually at least 6 months old already. The farmer I work for grows a variety of apples and I took home about 10 lbs and they lasted over 7 months. Wild huh?
Corn - leave the husks on and store in the fridge. Some people shuck them and wrap them in plastic, which works, but it seems like a waste of plastic to me. When buying corn at the store, don’t open the tip of the husks to see what you’re getting. It’s just going to dry out your corn and if you decide to not get the corn you opened, then it’s probably just a wasted ear because no one else is going to want it. Just feel up the outside of the corn. If there’s a lack of kernels it’ll be obvious. If you forgot to use your corn or bought too much, freeze it! Just shave off the kernels and store them in a baggie in your freezer.
Mushrooms - place them in a container, preferably glass, and cover them with a damp paper towel. Re-hydrate the paper towel as needed. Right now I’m growing my own oyster mushrooms and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so easy and fun! It’s like having the most chill reptile ever that you can eat and don’t feel guilty about. I got my grow kit from this company: https://www.snovalleymushrooms.com/
Kale - store in a container or bag with a dry paper towel. The goal is to keep the kale as dry as possible so make sure you wash and then dry it really well before you store it. I think kale rocks because it keeps longer than other greens and makes delicious chips if you need to use it quickly.
Avocados - leave on the counter until they have a bit of squish and then store them in the fridge. It’s probably all up to fate after that though so good luck. Avocados definitely stress me out and it usually feels like a chore when I’m eating them because more than anything I just want them off my hands. Save the pits if you want to make a natural dye. It’ll dye your fabrics a really cute and earthy blush color.
Cucumbers - store on the counter. Cucumbers are real prone to “chillness injuries” when they’re stored in the fridge. Cucumbers are sensitive little things so you want to keep them away from your other produce. Your fruits and veggies release ethylene, a natural gas that causes foods to ripen, and cucumbers just can’t handle it. So they’ll spoil much more quickly if they don’t get the space they need. Same.
Cauliflower - keep it dry and cold. If your cauliflower comes wrapped in plastic, remove it, wash it well, dry it well, then put it in a loose plastic bag with a dry paper towel on the top of it. If you’re into canning I highly recommend pickling cauliflower. It’s delicious.
Cake - wrap it and freeze it. I’m always surprised that more people don’t do this because it allows for you to always have access to a slice of cake. I LOVE making big, decorative cakes but I also can’t expect just my husband and I to consume a whole cake in just a few days that would be enough for a dozen people. So I’ll make it, let it set, and then cut it into slices, wrap them well in plastic, and keep them in the freezer. Then when I want cake, I just take out a slice and let it thaw on the counter or fridge. Boom. Fresh cake whenever I want. Mine and my husband’s birthdays are within a few days of each other and I made us each a cake for our birthdays this year. It rocked because for a while we had the option of either vegan funfetti or german chocolate cake. I highly recommend living your life this way.
Water - use growlers! I need my water to be cold if I’m going to drink enough of it to be nice and hydrated. I also like to make my water *~fun~* so I try to infuse it with all sorts of things. I’m growing mint right now so I’ll cut off some stems, wash them, and then let them infuse for about 24 hours before drinking the water. Then I just fill the growler back up with water with the same stems in there and repeat the process 2-3 more times before discarding the mint. I also do this with rosemary and it’s so tasty. Plus it makes me feel real fancy when I have guests over and I can offer them regular water or infused water.
Hope these tips help! Some of them I just recently learned and I was so excited about the knowledge that I just had to share it. Maybe you've read my post titled "Kitchen Things You Shouldn't Be Buying" and know about the broth bag I keep in my freezer. If not, you should check out the post, it's in the Other Fun section. I'm always trying to waste as little as possible and making my own broth definitely helps me achieve that. I'd love to know what tips you have when it comes to wasting less. Let me know in the comments!