Buying locally-grown produce - or tending your own at home - is a great way to bring fresh and healthy food to the dinner table with minimal environmental impact. But most produce-lovers are all too familiar with the downside of fresh fruits and veggies - a short shelf-life.
Bringing too much produce home from the farmer's market or planting a few too many seedlings in your garden can leave you with leftover or overripe fruits and veggies that can often go to waste.
Consider this: More than 34 million tons of food waste is generated in the U.S. each year. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, about two-thirds of household food waste is due to spoilage, meaning you can significantly reduce your impact by using up perishable produce before it goes bad.
A few resourceful measures will help you get the longest life out of your produce. But if you have a few fruits or veggies in the fridge that you won't realistically use before they spoil, why not try a creative cocktail recipe to keep them from going to waste?
Fruit- and veggie-based cocktails are fantastic solutions for soft, overripe produce. And since you only need flavorful juices, not whole chunks of a fruit or veggie, you can also incorporate scraps left over from other recipes. Try a few at your next get-together to reduce household food waste and have fun while doing it!
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Safety Tip: When you're using the peel or skin of any fruit or vegetable, it’s very important that you wash it well to remove any wax or pesticides. Scrub the exterior of your produce with an eco-friendly produce cleanser or a mixture of warm water, lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda. Keep in mind that washing may not remove all pesticides used on non-organic produce. So, if you'd rather play it safe, opt for organic instead.
Editor's Note: Pictured cocktails are not actual prepared recipes but rather representations of main ingredients.