10 ways to reduce your food waste
The average UK household throws away hundreds of pounds worth of food each year - this puts huge strain on an already struggling system and our earth. Use these tips to cut down on your food waste.
1. Don't be drawn in by BOGOF
Supermarkets are riddled with offers dreamed up by clever marketing brains to draw you in and entice you to buy more than you need, inevitably leading to waste.
2. Know the difference between "best before" and "use by" dates
Check the use by dates - they keep you safe. Best before dates, on the other hand, are for guidance only - those dates are often found on fresh fruit and veggies which are often thrown out even before they are ripe. Check out your local supermarkets reduced section full of rock hard mangoes if you don't believe me. It's likely still totally fine a few days (or more) past the BBE date - use your senses and common sense. If your carrot is a little bendy why not blitz it up into your bolognese sauce.
3. Plan ahead
Planning your meals allows you to shop for just what you need and reduce what you are wasting.
4. Fall in love with your freezer
Freezers are fabulous - for storing and preserving herbs and stocks - storing bulk ingredients or batch cooked meals - just be sure to keep a note of what's in there and label everything with the date and what it is!
5. Store food correctly
According to healthline.com many people are unsure how to store fruits and vegetables, which can lead to premature ripening and, eventually, rotten produce.
For instance, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers and onions should never be refrigerated. These items should be kept at room temperature.
Separating foods that produce more ethylene gas from those that don’t is another great way to reduce food spoilage. Ethylene promotes ripening in foods and could lead to spoilage.
Foods that produce ethylene gas while ripening include:
- Green onions
Keep these foods away from ethylene-sensitive produce like potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries and peppers to avoid premature spoilage.
5. Eat ugly
Choosing only perfectly shaped fruit and veg contributes to food waste along the whole supply chain. So choose the ugly carrot, the bumpy potato and the single banana.
6. Learn to preserve
Preserving is a skill that will take your foodie world to a whole new level of flavour and adventure whether its canning, jams, pickles, chutneys, brining, salting or smoking.
7. Save the seeds
Not only can you grow your own from a lot of seeds harvested from fruit and veg but lots can actually be eaten! Especially at this time of year - pumpkin seeds for example - absolutely delicious so don't throw them out - rinse and dry them, roast them and toss them in salads, or in your muesli or bread mix, or just snack on them.
8. Keep the leftovers
Turn your left overs into something new or take them for lunch. Left over roast chicken into fajitas, turn your bolognese into chilli by adding beans and spices
9. Eat the skins
The skins of fruit and veg are often discarded - it's such a shame as that is where most of the nutrients are found. why not keep them on and give yourself a bit of extra fibre.
10. Make your own stock
If you can't face not peeling your carrots and potatoes why not keep them back and make stock? You can freeze peelings until you have enough to make stock and it's a great way to use food scraps as much as possible before composting them.
You can find a range of items to help you combat food waste at Tabitha Eve, from produce bags to lunch bags and bowl covers.
Take a look here!
Debbie Rees is a mum of two and business owner used to juggling food waste with a busy lifestyle.