10 ways to cut food waste and save money
We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, much of which could have been eaten. It's costing us £12.5bn a year and is bad for the environment too. Here are our top tips for reducing food waste.
1. Check your fridge temperature It should be between 0 - 5c. Food, especially milk, will go off much quicker if it’s warmer.
2. Use your fridge wisely Some foods keep better outside the fridge. This includes bread (keep it in a cool dark place like a bread bin or cupboard), bananas, pineapples, potatoes and onions.
3. Love your list Make a shopping list (the easiest way is to keep it in the kitchen and add to it as you think of things) and stick to it when you go shopping. Plan ahead and shop with specific meals in mind.
4. Water your veg 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.
7. Measure your portions Reduce waste by cooking only the amount you need. Measuring takes away the guesswork and makes it more likely you’ll get the right amount.
8. Sauces and dips 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.
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.