Tech Talk: Waste Not, Want Not


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I hate wasting food, but I hate being sick even more. Consequently, I live by the rule, “when in doubt, throw it out.”

But, as it turns out, there’s an app out there that might just salvage some of that food. FoodKeeper, created by the Food Marketing Institute, Cornell University’s Department of Food Science and the USDA, has the same goal that I do — to reduce the amount of food we waste. Originally a brochure put together by these food-conscious folks, FoodKeeper was turned into an app earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of the Food Marketing Institute

To put the app to use, I thought I’d start with something that was actually in my refrigerator. We did a college visit late last week, so dinner was takeout Chinese food. I tapped the “Deli & Prepared Foods” category button and scrolled down to “Leftovers — with meat, fish, poultry or egg,” since that best described the chicken and broccoli I was planning to have for lunch tomorrow. Turns out that tomorrow (Tuesday) is pushing the limit “for freshness and quality,” but I can still make the “3 – 4 days if refrigerated” recommended by the app. Interestingly enough, the rice (the least palatable part after it’s been sitting in the fridge for four days) is good for 4 – 6 days if refrigerated.

The app is careful to state that its recommendations are “intended as useful guidelines and are not hard-and-fast rules,” since individual circumstances will vary. Still, it’s nice to have guidelines from a reliable source.

Foodkeeper also has general cooking information and “Ask Karen,” a sort of FAQs section on the subject of cooking, storing and reusing food. In addition to the menu of foods, Foodkeeper has a search feature that allows you to type in the goodies you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, it won’t help you identify the mystery meal covered in foil at the back of the refrigerator.

FoodKeeper is available for Android and Apple devices.

Photo: Max Straeten via Morguefile

Photo: Max Straeten via Morguefile



Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2015 Lisa Hess.


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and is a blogger at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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