How to make your food go further
At the time of writing we are all worried about being able to get our hands on enough food to feed ourselves and our families. However, the irony is that at this time where we are believing there will be a food shortage – actually food is still being wasted. Many markets are being encouraged to engage in on-line grocery deliveries, however as there are difficulties with this and many orders are not arriving with what the buyer has requested, the retailer may have substituted the product for something a little unexpected.
At Whywaste, even during this time, we are conscious about the food we are wasting and want to pass on some food waste tips for the home that we have picked up so that you are not over-ordering, throwing away and ensuring that there is enough food for everyone.
Probably the most useful tip we can give if to make a list, digitally if you can, of the items that are already in your cupboards and fridge. You should also make a note of what will go out of date and then order you need to eat things – standard first in first out for your home. This principle is replicated in retail stores across the globe, why not bring it home?
However, there is a degree of madness when it comes to grocery shopping at the moment and the likelihood is that you will have what seems like a metric tonne of food in your fridge, which is quickly going out of date. If this is the case, don’t panic, we have put together some simple tips together to help you reduce your food waste during these tough times – maybe these are habits to get into now and can continue when life is back to a degree of normality.
Be prepared – what you need:
- A permanent marker pen e.g. a Sharpie
- Containers with lids (can be recycled take away or even yoghurt pots with lids).
There are plenty of myths about leftovers and what you can and can’t do with them. Many people are using leftovers all the time, and usually pack them, label and freeze. However, make sure to keep safe and respect the use-by-date. Best Before dates can be more flexible.
When preparing leftovers make sure to handle foods with clean hands, especially relevant at the moment, and cool quickly by:
- Portioning food into small trays (clean old take-away containers are great)
- Rinsing rice under the cold tap
- Slicing meats and chicken
- Rice and curry / chilli can be placed in the same container to make a home made ready meal. If you put curry in the bottom and rice on the top, when you tip it out it is the right way up!
Cooked Rice is fine to keep – there is a myth that it isn’t but so long as you cool it quickly and get it in the fridge or freezer, it is fine. When making brown rice, deliberately make too much, because it takes so long to cook, and freeze it in bags. To defrost, just put it in a sieve and tip boiling water on top, or put it in a saucepan of boiling water for a minute or so.
Defrost other foods by putting in the fridge for a day, or use the microwave. You can do a defrost for 10 minutes followed by a cook on high – experiment to see what works best. Make sure to give it a stir half way through.
- Sliced bread is great in the freezer – just toast what you need – no waste!
- Bagels – the same – slice them first if not pre-sliced.
- Wraps keep in the freezer as do pitta breads, naan etc.
- Make breadcrumbs from stale bread and freeze.
Too much milk?
- Skimmed milk will freeze in the plastic container. Defrost by putting in the fridge.
- Make sauces – béchamel or white sauce and freeze in handy sizes so you can rustle up a macaroni cheese or lasagne with less hassle.
Grate it and freeze – saves getting the grater out each time you want a bit of cheese for a topping.
Wash and pat dry, then bag and freeze – the herbs break when frozen if you rustle the bag a bit – no need to chop or faff about with ice cube trays.
Cook them up puree with a stick blender and make a sauce – or roast with garlic and thyme, puree then freeze in portions.
If only a few people like them or you live on your own, divide up a pack into portion sizes, label and freeze and have the tomato sauce portions handy as well.
Meat and poultry, sausages etc.
Freeze in the pack, defrost in a dish in the fridge. If the pack is open, then double wrap to prevent freezer burn.
Lettuce and salad leaves?
Don’t eat them raw, but cook up to make a stock. Cool and freeze.
Fruit going a bit soft?
Wash it or in the case of bananas, peel, put in bags in the freezer ready for a smoothie – or home made ice cream when mixed with yogurt, cream or even milk.
Lemons and limes
Wash, slice and lay on a tray in the freezer – when frozen, pack into bags.
We think that covers most of a normal (or in this case not so normal) weekly shop and hope that with these few tips you can make your groceries go that little bit further!
At Whywaste we are committed to helping everyone reduce the amount of food that is being wasted. We all know the horrific statistics about the effect wasted food is having on the environment and the disparity between regions. We hope that these tips can help you to waste a little less in the home and still provide tasty, nutritious meals during this particularly difficult time.
If you have any tips of your own, why not share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org