Reduce food waste
Just over 6.5 million tonnes of edible food are thrown away in the UK every year. That’s enough food to produce 15 billion meals which could feed everyone in the UK three times per day for 11 weeks. Not only is this a huge issue for society, but it’s devastating for the environment too. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of emissions after the US and China.
It’s for these reasons that we must work to reduce the amount of food we waste. It’s not always our fault that food is wasted and there are things we can do to help.
Here are top tips for reducing food waste.
Check your fridge temperature
It should be between 0-5C. Food, especially milk, will go off much quicker if it’s warmer.
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.
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.
Water your veg
Keep the stems of vegetables such as broccoli, celery, and asparagus in water to help them stay fresh and crisp.
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).
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.
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. Get a handy guide to measuring portions from Love Food Hate Waste
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.
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.
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.
If you would like to learn more about food waste, check out the links below:
Doncaster Food NetworkThe Doncaster Food Network (DFN) is a collaborative endeavour by public and private organisations to ensure everyone in the City of Doncaster has equal access to nutritious food, which contributes to their health and wellbeing. The network was originally launched in 2017 but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have now reached out to all former members to inform them of the network’s revival. Our next steps involve engaging a wider audience to welcome potential new members and to better understand the needs and desires of the Food Network members.
More information can be found on the Doncaster Food Network page.
If you or anyone else you know is interested in joining the network, please complete the following form: Doncaster Food Network Survey.
“We throw away so much perfectly good food – but with just a little bit of know-how, leftovers or half-finished packets of ingredients can all be easily transformed into really delicious dishes. As well as cutting food waste, this saves money too!" - Jamie Oliver