Editors' Picks for Reducing Food Waste


At edible Columbus, we HATE to waste food. Though sometimes those expiration dates sneak up on us, we've pulled together a couple of our team's top strategies for reducing waste and making the most of our meals.  

1. Keep it Fresh


I shop every few days in small batches based on the season. I live near the Clintonville Co-Op and I love visiting it each day to see what's fresh and on sale. I build my meals around their offerings, and then when I have a recipe in mind I bring it with me to the store to shop for exactly what I need for that recipe. Shopping for the next few days instead of the next two weeks keeps me from buying too much food, particularly food with a lot of packaging. -Colleen Leonardi 

My commute to the grocery store is usually via bicycle or the COTA, so I try to only buy a bag's worth of fresh groceries at a time from the farmers market or Lucky's on my way home from work. This not only (almost) eliminates my food waste because I shop more frequently, but it's also way easier to carry up to my high-rise apartment. -Allie Misch 

Make it a vegetable night! We cook all the vegetables we have on hand different ways, from roasting, to sautéing to fresh in a salad. I serve big plates of vegetables (some warm and some cold) and we use up everything on hand before the weekend when I shop at the market for the following week. All the onions on hand get caramelized with fresh herbs on hand; this can easily be thrown over pasta later in the week with some crumbled blue cheese. -Tricia Wheeler

2. Share

Does it really matter what you're eating if you pack it as a picnic?

Does it really matter what you're eating if you pack it as a picnic?

I have a group of 20-something-year-old guy friends who never turn down a home cooked meal, so if I feel like I'm not going to maximize all the food I've already made or bought, I stop by their house and we eat picnic-style outside. They haven't caught on yet that I really just use them for their perfect picnic space. -AM 

If I make a big meal with leftovers, I first try to use all of the leftovers. But if that's not possible, I'm the friend who tries to pass off slices of cake or a batch of soup to innocent bystanders. I also think of how I can bring food to work to share with others. And we like to donate food we're not using from our pantry to food shelters. -CL

3. Get Creative

Another thing we do to use up all the leftover bits of cheese, meat and veggies is to do a big tray of nachos, which are especially great leading into football season. I keep Shagbark chips on hand, grate all the different cheeses that are left, open a can of black beans, mix some sour cream with cumin and a little cayenne pepper and bake a tray of nacho's drizzle with sour cream & salsa. -TW

shagbark copy.jpg

In our house, we reduce our food waste similarly to Tricia, but we make frittatas. It's hard to go wrong with combining good cheeses, produce and any leftover meats with eggs and sticking it in the oven to bake. -Sarah Lagrotteria

If college didn't already teach me to get creative with meal concoctions, my passion for not wasting food definitely did. I try not to buy things I know I'm not going to eat, so I mix-and-match my staples like kale, eggs, avocados, tomatoes, etc. to make something new. -AM

4. Eat Out

I eat out at least one night a week in my neighborhood to support the local restaurants, get to know the people who make my food, the neighbors and, yes, not cook! It's another form of supporting the local economy for me. -CL


I love going out and Instagramming, I mean eating, at new restaurants in our city. It's a great time to be in Columbus as a lot of restaurants are putting their focus on sourcing quality, local ingredients from people in our community. -AM

5. Freeze

Fruits, cakes, breads, soups, tomato sauce - there is so much you can freeze and save for later. -CL 

I freeze fresh greens for smoothies. That way I always have healthy ingredients on hand for smoothies and I avoid having to throw out vegetables that I didn't have time to use yet. -SL 

6. Compost

We have a composter, so when all else fails we surrender our fallen fruits, veggies, tea and more back to the Earth. It can seem like a big step, but with the right equipment and a little education it can become second nature. -CL

That group of guys that I take food to sometimes? I like to think of them as my human composters. -AM

Hate food waste? So do our friends at Community Plates. Check out their mission and sign up for a food run in Columbus to help get good food to those who need it.