Reducing food waste saves you money while also cutting your carbon footprint. Candida Blaker and Rachel Millson of Bridport Food Matters share their tips to help you reduce waste and keep food fresh
Over a third of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste, which equates to an area the size of China being used to grow food that’ll end up in the bin. The IPCC estimated that, between 2010 and 2016, food waste contributed eight to ten per cent of all man-made greenhouse gasses.
These may sound like staggering facts, yet if everyone made small changes to the way they shop and eat there would be huge ripple effects (70 per cent of food waste in the UK comes from our homes). Want to play your part in solving the issue? Here are a few simple tips to reduce food waste and save money.
1. Plan ahead and buy only what you need
Make a list before you hit the shops or take a shelfie of your fridge so you know what you already have.
2. Don’t pay too much attention to best-before dates
Know the difference between best-before dates (used as a food-quality indicator) and use-by dates (used for foods that go off and can cause food poisoning). For best-before dates, use your senses (sight and smell) to determine whether something is still good to eat.
3. Preserve the food you have
Got a glut of fruit or veggies? Turn them into pickles, chutneys, pesto or jams to extend their life.
4. Recognise and resist the pressure to buy more
Every offer at the supermarket is designed to make you buy what you don’t need – wasting food is built into the system. Resist special offers and buy loose fruit and veggies so you only have what you need.
5. Support your local producers and indie shops
A strong connection to the source of your food means you’re more likely to treat it as a precious resource.
6. Optimise your fridge
To keep food as fresh as possible, make sure your fridge is under 5°C.
7. … and your freezer
Use your freezer as a tool to press pause on foods so you can use them later. Try keeping a Tupperware in the freezer and add vegetable odds and ends to it as you prepare meals. Once it’s full, use them to make veggie stock. You can do the same with fruit and make a crumble. Bananas on the turn? Peel, chop and freeze them in a tub, ready for making smoothies.
8. Blend, bake and boil
Fruits and vegetables that are beyond ripe may not look pretty but they’ll still taste good. Use up wilting, browning or imperfect produce in smoothies, sauces, soup or stock.
9. Get creative with leftovers
Leftover risotto? Make arancini. Boiled new potatoes? Potato salad. Bolognese sauce? Pizza topping. The possibilities are endless and a quick Google search will bring up lots of creatives ideas.
Try Tom Robinson’s leftover bread treacle tart recipe here.
10. Spread the word
If we avoid producing food that we don’t eat, we can save the land, water and energy that would have been used to make it. According to ReFED, educating consumers about food waste could prevent 7.41 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.