Thursday, 10 January 2013

How to cut your food waste

Common Herbs for you garden

The shocking statistics about food waste dominated the news today. But there's lots of advice in circulation abut how to deal with this problem. Which tips work?

In my experience the best way to eliminate almost all food waste has been to plan the week's lunches and dinners in advance. It's a little bit boring in that you then have a fixed cooking routine and  menu for the week. But it does mean that all the food bought is used fully, and on time.

By cooking double or triple quantities there's also plenty of quick meals in the freezer, and these are simple to defrosted the night before use.

This approach actually saves a lot of time and money. An all-round winner!

By planning better we've also increased our consumption of vegetarian food, and decreased the amount of red meats in our diet. So we are healthier too.

Lentil or bean curries are an economical favourite, and there's plenty of creative fun in making our own spice combinations. Likewise for pasta sauces. In this we also benefit from fresh, dried, or frozen herbs. The fresh herbs are grown in pots, or in our tiny garden. This saves money, and cultivation also counts as a satisfying leisure activity. Why not give this a try?

The BBC reported: 

As much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, is wasted, a UK-based report has claimed.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said the waste was being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness.

The study also found that up to 30% of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance.


How to reduce your food waste:

  • Ignore best-before dates, they indicate when the manufacturer thinks the product is best, not safe
  • Use-by dates are important particularly with meat
  • Shop in small amounts and more frequently
  • Avoid BOGOFs or only buy them if you can freeze the extra product
  • Plan meals
  • Use your freezer more
  • Never buy salad in bags, it isn't good value and once opened it goes off quickly
Source: Food writer and broadcaster Stefan Gates

Food most wasted in Britain:
  • Bread 32%
  • Vegetables 24%
  • Potatoes 24%
  • Fruit 20%
  • Cereal products 17%
Source: UK government

Not in our kitchen: rotting fruit