Research shows a significant amount of food is wasted every year, harming our planet and our pockets. According to Wrap, the waste and recycling advisory body, approximately 7.3m tones of household food waste is thrown away per year. This equates to a mind-blowing £12.5bn!
Have you considered doing your bit for the environment?
Here are 10 very easy steps to help you live a little more sustainably and reduce food waste (your student loan is guaranteed to last longer too!).
1. Check your fridge temperature
It should be set at a temperature between 0-5 C. Food will last much longer this way.
2. Don’t overfill the fridge
Certain food lasts longer (and taste better) if it’s stored at room temperature i.e. bread, bananas, pineapples, potatoes and onions. You could google which items need to be stored in a cool dry place, if you aren’t sure.
3. Plan ahead
Make a list before going to the shops (ideally, when you’re not hungry) and stick to it. You could make a weekly meal plan and buy all the ingredients in a single shopping trip. This way you avoid wasting and overspending.
4. Water your veg
Yes, that’s right. Keep the stems of vegetables such as broccoli, celery and asparagus in water to help them stay fresh and crisp.
5. Freeze your 5-a-day…
Got fresh fruit and veg that you can’t use in time? Why not freeze them? Some fruit and veg will lose their texture when frozen – you can deal with this by freezing them pureed or stewed. This applies to tomatoes (use the puree for pasta dishes or pizza), strawberries (use the puree in smoothies or as a sauce for other fresh fruit) and apples (use stewed apple on your porridge or muesli, or as the base for a fruit crumble).
6. …and freeze leftovers
Many leftovers and chilled convenience meals freeze well too. If you’ve made something like pasta or rice with a sauce, freezing the sauce separately will work better. This will save you time and effort when you’re stressed with deadlines.
7. Measure your portions
Reduce waste by cooking only the amount you need. Measuring takes away the guesswork and makes it more likely that you’ll get the right amount.
8. Mix things up
Lots of leftovers can be made into sauces or dips. If you’ve got leftover beans or pulses (either that you’ve cooked yourself or from a tin), mash or blend with some garlic, lemon juice and herbs for a hummus-style dip (don’t try this with baked beans, unless you rinse them thoroughly first!). Slightly over-ripe avocados are great for guacamole, and tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers which need using can go into home-made salsa….yummy!
9. Freeze dairy products
Semi-skimmed and skimmed milk freeze better than whole. If it separates once defrosted, just give it a good shake. Hard cheese also freezes well – cut it into smaller portions, or grate some ready to use later.
10. Revive past-it bread
Bread rolls past their best? Put them in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up again. You can also make stale bread into breadcrumbs - either mix them with herbs and onions as a stuffing for chicken or to top baked fish, or freeze the breadcrumbs for later use. Loaves of bread freeze well too. If you're freezing a loaf or rolls from an in-store bakery, transfer into a freezer bag for better results rather than just freezing it in the packaging it comes in. We hope you enjoy these simple tips and ideas. Let us know how you get on by sharing the story on social media with your comments and the hashtag (#need to insert hashtag).
See Love Food Hate Waste to learn more about reducing your food waste.