How to reduce home food waste
Looking for ways to reduce food waste has always been important, but it seems even more so at the moment during lockdown.
With households in the UK throwing away more than 7 million tonnes of food, it’s essential that we make our own small-scale but significant changes at home.
All too often we end up with yellowing bunches of coriander stuck to the back of the fridge or alien-looking potatoes that are more sprout than starch. Here we explore how to reduce food waste at home.
Freezing fresh food is a great way to extend its shelf life. Meals can be cooked in batches and frozen individually in reusable tubs, so that you have a healthy homemade ready meal to hand when there’s no time to cook something elaborate.
Berries that are starting to go a little soft can be frozen in neat portion sizes to add to a smoothie for a quick, no-hassle breakfast. Alternatively, add them to ice cubes with flower petals to liven up soft drinks and cocktails.
It’s also been found that 30% of us will throw away a banana that has a small bruise. Bruised bananas still taste just as delicious, so there’s no need to waste food and money throwing them away. Instead, add them to your frozen bags of berries for a smoothie, or mash them into banana bread.
Dairy products like milk and butter also freeze surprisingly well. If you realise you’re out of milk after the shops have shut, it’s useful to have a spare carton that can be left to defrost in the fridge overnight, ready for a morning cuppa.
A little lateral thinking can transform a dish. Instead of making a special trip to buy fresh ingredients, try substituting in something different if you’re missing an ingredient for a recipe,
For example, if a recipe requires parsley, but you only have coriander, why not experiment and use that instead.
Also consider how you can use any leftovers and surplus ingredients. Putting leftover veggies into a soup can make a tasty lunch, while preserving apples in a chutney is another way to make the most out of your fruit bowl.
Making chutneys and jams is far simpler than you might think, and a productive way to spend a rainy day. Using up over-ripe veg can extend its shelf life by up to two years! It’s not just vegetables we can preserve. Buying a fresh pot of basil, chives or rosemary for the windowsill is a savvy move. Infusing oils with herbs is a great way of using them up and transforming salads and sauces for weeks to come.
Forage in the fridge
Before completing a big shop or buying ingredients for an unusual recipe, do a quick stock-take of the cupboards, fridge and freezer. It can be easy to forget about ingredients that we use less often. This is particularly true for opened jars that work their way to the back of the fridge or cupboard. Write a list and stick it to the cupboard door; when items run out, cross them off the list, so that they can be added to the next shopping list. It’ll save money and ensure we don’t end up with three half-empty jars of caper berries vying for precious cupboard space.