Why is reducing our food waste important?
Food waste from our homes costs us money and the environment, through an increase in methane gas and the waste of energy and resources from the production and distribution of food. We can make small changes in our lives to help us save money and do our bit to help climate change. Why not try some of the hacks below to see if they can make a difference to you.
1. Meal Plan
Plan your daily meals and list the ingredients you need so you only buy the food you need. Know the contents of your kitchen cupboards, so no forgotten food has to go in the bin. Decanting food into clear jars and containers can help you see what you’ve got at a glance. When you add new tins or packets remember to bring older tins forward and place newer produce at the back. When following your meal plan, cook and serve meals using the correct portion sizes to avoid unnecessary excess. Try cooking double the amount and make use of leftovers for another meal. Include batch cooking into your meal plans to save you time and money.
2. Know Your Best Before Dates
When shopping for food, always check the best before and use-by dates. Buy items with a longer date to give you more time to use them. Know your food dates and eat the more perishable items first. If a food item is due to go out of date, freeze it until you are ready to use it. Record the date it goes in the freezer on its container to remind you when it needs to be used. Remember to check the guidelines for defrosting your food before you cook it.
3. Make Your Own Vegetable Stock
Save vegetable scraps from chopping and peeling to make your own tasty vegetable stock. Keep vegetable scraps in a bag in the freezer until it is full. Wash the scraps thoroughly and place them in a large pan. Cover with water so you can easily stir everything. Bring to the boil and then turn down low and simmer for one hour. This will let the flavours infuse. Now strain the stock using a sieve. The stock can be used right away, it can be cooled and kept in the fridge for up to three days or popped in the freezer in batches ready to use.
4. Use the Correct Fridge Temperature
Check your fridge is at the right temperature to keep your food as fresh as possible. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your fridge, so you know what the ideal temperature should be. Be mindful about closing the door to the fridge as soon as you have finished getting out what you need.
5. Make Your Own Garden Compost
Compost vegetable and fruit food scraps alongside any garden waste, instead of throwing them into your general waste. With time and a little effort, you can create your own compost that will enrich your garden and plants.