Still have tomatoes in your garden? This Pineapple Pico de Gallo is an easy and tasty way to use them before they go to waste.

In the United States, more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste.

Each year, the average American family of four loses $1,500 to uneaten food. We can all play a part in reaching the national food waste reduction goal — to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030.

Start using these tips from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to reduce food waste, save money, and protect the environment.

At the grocery store or when dining out

-- Preplan and write your shopping list before going to the grocery store. As you write your list, think about what meals you will be preparing the following week, and check your fridge to see what items you already have.

-- Buy only what you need and stick to your shopping list at the grocery store. Be careful when buying in bulk, especially with items that have a limited shelf life.

-- If available, purchase “ugly” fruits or vegetables that often are left behind at the grocery store but are safe to eat. “Ugly” produce has physical imperfections but are not damaged or rotten. “Ugly” fruits and vegetables are safe and nutritious and can sometimes be found at discounted prices.

-- When eating out, ask for smaller portions to prevent plate waste and keep you from overeating. You can also request a take-away box to take leftovers home instead of leaving food on your plate.

At home — preparing and serving

-- Check the temperature setting of your fridge. Keep the temperature at 40 degrees F or below to keep foods safe. The temperature of your freezer should be 0 degrees F.

-- Refrigerate peeled or cut veggies for freshness and to keep them from spoiling.

-- Use your freezer! Freezing is a great way to store most foods to keep them from going bad until you are ready to eat them.

-- Check your fridge often to keep track of what you have and what needs to be used. Eat or freeze items before you need to throw them away.

-- Learn about food product dating. Many consumers misunderstand the purpose and meaning of the date labels that often appear on packaged foods. Confusion over date labeling accounts for an estimated 20% of consumer food waste.

-- Follow the two-hour rule. For safety reasons, don’t leave perishables out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless you’re keeping it hot or cold. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F, food shouldn’t be left out for more than one hour. Also, remember to refrigerate leftovers within two hours.

Still have tomatoes in your garden? Here is an easy and tasty way to use them before they go to waste.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo

  • 2 cups tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pineapple, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/4 Tablespoon lime juice, fresh
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 16 (1/4 cup) servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 20 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 40 mg sodium.

Recipe from: North Dakota State Extension

Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in Hall County. Contact her at (308) 385-5088 or at cwells2@unl.edu. Visit the Hall County website at www.hall.unl.edu

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