Did you know that it’s estimated that 40% of all food produced in the world is wasted. That equates to $1 trillion worth of food every year. The reality is, we waste tons of money and resources when it comes to our food production- but following on from my previous blog post, there are a lot of ways you can reduce your own personal contribution by following these tips!
Plan your meals
It’s always a good idea to have an agenda when you’re shopping, but it can be especially important if you know what recipes will make up for your weekly dinners. I always check what I have in my kitchen cupboards and use lovefoodhatewaste.com to see if there are any meals I can make from them – failing that a chuck-everything-you-have-in-one pot. Doing this saves you time and money. I also try and have back-up options available for those days when I can’t be bothered to cook, whether that’s bulk cooking and freezing or good old freezer food.
A freezer is a great way to save money and prevent food waste. If you use Pesto sauce but don’t get through the whole jar, you can put portions of into an ice cube tray and freeze, ready to use when you’re next making sauces. You can also buy frozen fruit and veg which is often cheaper and last longer. You can also freeze leftover dinners such as bolognese, soups and stews so you always have food in the freezer and don’t have to throw things away.
Cook the right serving amounts
This is something that I never get right, but cooking for the right amount of people and not the 5,000 will definitely help. However, failing that you can always pop food into the freezer or fridge and reuse the next day.
Buy the weird veggies
Did you know that some supermarkets sell you the veg that is not ‘perfect’ enough? Lidl, Morrisons and Too Good To Go are great places to check out for discounted veg that tastes just as goo. You may be able to save some cash while helping reduce food waste!
Use the old first
As you put food away, make sure to use the old items before using the new ones. For shelf-stable foods like mayonnaise that are not refrigerated until opening them, keep out of the fridge and consume within a week’s time so they don’t spoil!
Have a leftover day
The idea of a leftovers night is genius. There are so many tasty dishes that you can enjoy even just with what’s leftover from the week before, and cooking all those delicious meals at once will give you more time to spend on other things!
Conduct inventory regularly
One of my favourite tips and one I wish I did soon as you definitely save money and time by making a list of your favorite dishes, noting what ingredients are needed for each dish. Next, go through the refrigerator or pantry so you don’t miss anything!
Before shopping today it might be good to take inventory of all that’s in your fridge/pantry. That way if something is missing from this week’s meal plan then you can quickly grab them while grocery shopping instead of forgetting about it at home!
Use scraps wisely
A good way to reduce your waste is by composting food scraps whether that’s making a broth with the waste or using it as fertiliser. Some boroughs, like mine, offer food recycling services with weekly collection, just make sure you put something heavy on top of the bin so foxes can’t get to it.
Learn proper storage techniques
There is a right way and a wrong place to store each item that you purchase. Get the most use out of what you buy by checking how your items should be stored correctly from day one so they don’t get ruined before their time. Some tricks I’ve found is putting paper towel into your bags of lettuce to keep them fresher and using sustainable pouches to store food.
You might think that cabbage is only for salads. But have you tried making it into sauerkraut? It is a great way to preserve and make the most of vegetables before they expire! You can preserve, can, or pickle lots of different foods to extend their shelf life and make new and interesting dishes with them.
Eat expired food – yes, really!
It’s not uncommon for fresh food to be good well past the date it was made. A lot of people don’t know this, but most expiration dates are more about when stores need to sell by than any sort of safety warning. Typically, I do the smell test, if it doesn’t smell, I typically eat it (but I don’t risk it with meat).
Many foods indeed have an “expiration” or a “sell-by” date on their packaging and cans; however, these labels refer specifically to retailers who must remove them from shelves if they remain unsold after some prearranged amount of time has passed. What few realise is that just because something expires doesn’t mean you should throw out your groceries! Most canned goods for example will keep safely in storage at cool temperatures until as long as 7 days after their original sale day.
Managing food waste
With a little planning and thought, you can eliminate most food waste. If somehow you end up with extras due to overbuying, you can donate to food banks for people who need it most.
What is your favourite tip for reducing food waste? I’d love to hear if you have any favourite leftover recipes too!