Top Tips For Minimising Food Waste
More than one third of the food produced in the world is wasted, thrown away, or spoilt, and Brits are some of the biggest culprits. Every year we throw away seven million tonnes of food: sometimes because it has gone past it’s best, sometimes because it became spoilt in transit, and sometimes because we simply don’t fancy eating what we bought once we got it home!
Food waste is a huge problem: whilst 6.9% of the population are living in ‘persistent poverty’ (that equates to an incredible 3.9 million people), wallowing in debt that they can’t escape from and struggling to feed themselves and their families, UK families are throwing away an average of £60 worth of food every single month. With a little thrifty forethought and some clever hints and tips, that horrible figure is surprisingly easy to reduce. In fact, living a food waste free lifestyle is more attainable than many people think. Here are some ideas:
Grow Your Own
If you have the space in your garden and green fingers, why not try growing some of your own vegetables? Home grown veggies taste better, and cost very little in comparison to their supermarket counterparts. What’s more, growing your own helps you to become more connected to your food, which in turn helps you to avoid food waste. After all, who’s going to throw away the carrots they spent months nurturing and growing? If you lack the space, time, and inclination for turning your garden into a vegetable patch you can still get involved in growing your own. A windowsill herb garden is surprisingly easy to maintain and takes up very little space. Having immediate access to fresh herbs is a great way to pep up your home cooking, improving flavour and reducing the likelihood you’ll want to throw those delicious leftovers away!
Serve Smarter, Serve Smaller
Thanks to American-style restaurant portions becoming the norm all over the country, we tend to think that we have to fill our plates to fill our stomachs. Super-sized serving sizes have entered our homes, and they are massively increasing our food waste. Why not start serving smaller portions instead, and encourage your family to go back for ‘second helpings’ if they’re still hungry? You’ll be surprised how much less plate waste you have each day, leaving you with second portions that you can freeze or refrigerate rather than throw away.
Eat Those Leftovers
It sounds obvious, but it’s not enough to just save your leftovers: you have to eat them as well! If you know you’re not going to want to eat the same meal two days in a row, freeze it rather than refrigerate it. Alternatively, why not get creative with your leftovers? You don’t have to eat the same meal twice! Left over Bolognese can be easily turned into a spicy Chili Con Carne with the addition of some kidney beans and the right blend of herbs. Left over veggies can be added to soups and stews. And if there’s a baby in the family, almost every meal can be blended to make healthy and nutritious baby food: tastier and much cheaper than the bland, tasteless jars you can buy from the supermarket.
Try Your Hand at Pickling
This is a particularly useful tip for avoiding food waste if you grow your own fruits and vegetables: if you have an excess of something you know you won’t be able to eat before it becomes inedible, why not pickle or preserve it instead? Most fruits can be turned into jam, a huge number of vegetables can be pickled, or you could create your own chutneys and jellies too. As an added bonus, homemade pickles and chutneys make great Christmas gifts, meaning it could save you money over the festive period too! If you don’t grow your own but fancy trying your hand at making your own jams and pickles then keep an eye out for the fresh produce that has been reduced in your local supermarket: many supermarkets reduce fruits and vegetables to a fraction of their original price on the day they reach their ‘best before’ date, however this produce is still good to eat and, in abundance, would provide the perfect basis for homemade preserves at a fraction of their purchase price.