Filipino Families Claim to Care for the Earth, Yet Still Do This One Thing

Eco bags? Check. Insulated water bottles? Check. Reusable cutlery? Check. Second-hand toys, thrifted books, and hand-me-down clothes? Check, check, check!

Filipino families have made great strides for the earth for the past years. Today, even more families understand the weight of making eco-conscious choices. Mother Earth thanks us for these efforts, but continues to call us to pay more attention to our daily habits that still don’t quite align with our claim to caring for our home planet.

Throwing away food, for example, may be a household habit so common no one takes accountable for it anymore.

In honor of Earth Day, we listed down five simple steps on how we can maximize our food as part of our continued efforts in looking after Mother Earth.

Filipino Families Claim to Care for the Earth, Yet Still Do This One Thing

Regularly check your fridge and pantry

You’ve heard shopping your fridge and pantry time and again, but how often do you really do it?

Your fridge is not huge enough for you not to control what’s coming in and out of it everyday. The Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines advises against overfilling the fridge. Organize it in such a way that you’ll easily see everything and no food is pushed and neglected at the back of the shelves.

Establish a system for your pantry, making sure that you know when a canned good or any packed food item expires. Before heading out to your local market or grocery store, and before you hit that “Place Order” button in your food delivery app, check first if your fridge and pantry can provide the ingredients for the dish or snack you’re craving for.

This way, you don’t waste food you yourself consciously brought inside your home.

Separate perishables

Healthline defines perishable food as ones that can spoil easily unless refrigerated at 4 degrees Celsius or frozen at -17 degrees Celsius. Raw meat, egg, poultry, dairy products, cut fruits and vegetables, and cooked leftovers are some examples.

The next time you’ll prepare a meal with vegetables like nilagang baka or baboy, try serving it with only the soup and meat in a bowl. Place the vegetables in another serving plate. Do the same when storing the leftovers.

Otherwise, serve everything in smaller bowls or an amount you’re confident your family will consume in one meal.

Reduce food exposure in high temperatures

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, the “Danger Zone” for raw meat and cooked food is 40 degrees Celsius. In this heat, bacteria multiplies fast, and doubles in a span of 20 minutes.

With the rising temperatures here in the Philippines, our own kitchens and dining tables are prone to food spoilage, wastage, and potential food poisoning.

In temperatures at least 32 degrees, it’s best to keep food out only for up to an hour. Quite fast, isn’t it? There’s a reason you read “Please consume immediately” in most take out containers.

Portion your food

For convenience, it’s been a practice in Filipino homes to prepare and cook food for more than one meal. If you intend to cook for both lunch and dinner, avoid serving everything on the table. Identify how much your family will consume in one meal and pack away the rest in airtight containers once adequately cooled.

When you intend to keep the leftover food longer, place it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator.

Follow safety standards in reheating food

In order for you to enjoy leftover food from the fridge or freezer and avoid wastage, properly reheat them in the microwave or in the stove following safety standards. The USDA recommends:

  • bringing sauces, soups, and gravies to a “rolling boil”
  • properly covering leftovers so they’re heated all the way through
  • using microwave safe glass or dish when reheating using the microwave, and allow steam to escape through a vent in the lid
  • thawing the leftovers in the refrigerator if it’s from a huge container; take the needed leftover for reheating and refreeze the rest of the leftovers for consumption later on

Share with us your best household practices in avoiding food wastage in the comments section below!


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