Zero Waste Quarantine Cooking Tips

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

The TOP 5 ways to extend the life of your food, while in quarantine!

By: Sarabelle Coaching; Zero Waste Health Coach

Now is a time more than ever to start becoming conscientious about how much food we are wasting in our homes. The amount of food wasted during this pandemic has increased to overwhelming amounts. Farmers have more food than they know what to do with, “The closing of restaurants, hotels and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops and they are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell.” (source: NY Times Article).

We all, as individuals, can make a difference by creating less food waste in our own homes! By utilizing more of these Zero-waste principles into our own lives, we will appreciate our surroundings, we will take responsibility for our planet, and we will take better care of ourselves. So let’s dive into the top 5 ways to extend the life of your food while in quarantine!

#1 - Store Food properly

This is the most commonly overlooked way that food goes to waste! We may unknowingly be increasing the rate that our food ripens, which then leads to our food rotting/decomposing before we can enjoy it! No good. My general rule of thumb for fresh food is to “keep em’ separated!”

  • Separate potatoes and onions from one another - both can be stored in dark, room temperature spaces

  • Separate bananas from other fruits and you’ll enjoy your fruits for at least a week longer.

  • Separate cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh garlic out of the fridge - they’ll last longer and have much better flavor stored at room temperature

# 2 - Pickle! Pickle! Pickle!

Pickles, without a doubt, are the most delicious way to preserve your food! The process of pickling is also very simple as long as you have vinegar, salt, and an airtight container. The acid of the vinegar and preserving qualities of the salt inhibit growth of bad bacteria on your food. The best foods to pickle are starchy, crispy, or root vegetables like beets, beans, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peppers. You can also pickle boiled eggs and meats!

# 3 - Reinvent your food scraps!

Food scraps are magical AND delicious! You can squeeze every last penny out of your food by giving your food scraps a second breath of life and a little attention.

Some great ways to reinvent your scraps:

Lemon peels become an all-purpose cleaner: add about 1 cup of lemon peels with 1 cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for about a week, strain, then add 1 cup of water and add to a spray bottle for cleaning!

Vegetable ends and peels become homemade veggie stock: save all your veggie scraps in the freezer, when you have about 8 cups of scraps put them in a large stock pot with water and salt, simmer for about 30 min. And strain the stock into glass jars. Store in the fridge or freezer to use in soups, to cook grains, as an alternative to oil, and so much more!

Brown Bananas become mashed into pancake batter, added to a smoothie for sweetness, or baked into a banana bread. If you’re not a fan of eating mushy bananas, peel your ripe bananas right away, then freeze them in an airtight container - just thaw them to use them in a smoothie or baking recipe!

# 4 - Become best friends with your freezer!

Yes, we are making friends with appliances now! The freezing temperature is going to preserve your food for months and that’s something to celebrate!

My freezer is the place I store a backstock of veggies and meats, it’s also where my food goes when I know I won’t be able to eat it before it decomposes. I will store foods like loaves of bread, banana, avocado, leafy greens, fruit, homemade waffles, ginger, tomato paste, veggie scraps (to make veggie broth in the future), etc.

# 5 - Shop your kitchen first!

Before you buy anything new, “shop” your kitchen FIRST and take inventory of what you already have. This may seem like a no-brainer AND I’ve seen it all too often with clients; stockpiles of food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, forgotten food is molding and hiding in nooks and crannies around the kitchen, and they continue to buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries each week. Even during times like this, it’s important to know exactly what you have on hand before you bring anything new into your home - this will save you money AND will reduce the amount of food wasted in your home.


We are in a very heavy, scary, unknown time. We are also in a place of pause, where we can take action in small ways to benefit our own health, the health of the planet, and the health of future generations. I want to support you in this and take your Zero-waste knowledge further, which is why I created the Zero-Waste Cooking from Home: Quarantine Edition course.

With cooking at home during this time, the goal would be to make sure the money we spend on groceries isn’t wasted. If food is going bad in your fridge and you have to throw it away, it’s your money and time being thrown away.

> > > This course will teach you how to extend the life of your food, how to create grocery lists and shop with intention to save you money, how to reinvent your food scraps so nothing gets wasted, and so much more!

I can’t wait to see you there!

Link to Enroll for instant, lifetime access:

Enjoy this recipe from the Zero-Waste Cooking from Home: Quarantine Edition course to get you started on your journey to extending the life of your food!