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Leftover Calendar: Reduce Food Spoilage

Posted By Jim On 06/13/2008 @ 10:34 am In Frugal Living | 15 Comments

My wife and I have been trying to cook more often as a way to combat rising everything prices to the tune of three dinners a week (Friday is happy hour, duuuh). One unfortunate side effect of this is that we’ve been throwing out our leftovers as we discover them pushed into the back of our refrigerator. Boooo!

The solution is to use a leftover calendar. For us, we took advantage of a calendar we already have in the kitchen and turned it into our leftover calendar. We just found ourselves Sharpie and stuck it on top of a calendar hanging on the wall. As we made meals, we’d write what we made in the box for that day. As we ate the leftovers, we’d cross it off the list. With one glance, you can see what we have left as well as the priority they should be eaten in (if you really are in the mood for anything). It acts like an inventory, so we know what we have in our fridge, when we made it and roughly how long we have left until it’ll go bad.

We only started using the calendar since the beginning of the month and I’m happy to report that the only thing we’ve thrown out is a small container of homemade chicken broth. I estimate that it’s been in there for about a month, so I claim that it’s a casualty of the pre-leftover calendar system.

We don’t confine this list strictly to leftover we made ourselves, or leftovers themselves. Last night we visited our favorite Pho place and my wife brought back some leftovers, those made it on the calendar. When she eats them, they’ll get crossed off rather than tossed out because we forgot the small white box behind the milk.

Lastly, we also plan on marking raw foods we buy, like chicken or beef, so that we are aware of the limited amount time we have. We rarely throw out raw foods, maybe once every six month, because we don’t buy them unless we plan on using them.

As they say, “Out of sight, out of mind” and we hope this leftover calendar prevents that (so far so good!).


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