I’m often asked for my top 10 tips on reducing food waste, so here you have them.
- The big number one tip has to be… Buy less food! Try to think of each shopping expedition as one where you will buy the minimum amount of food to get by rather than one where you are going to fill your trolley and pack your fridge full to bursting. It is a small change in mindset that makes a huge difference.
- Before you shop, use up what you’ve got in the fridge. Even though your fridge is a device to keep food safe to eat for longer it is actually where most food waste occurs. A fridge doesn’t stop rot, it just slows down the process. SO you need to make sure you organise your fridge so that anything that has a short life or has already been opened in the case of packets or jars is at the front of the fridge at eye level. If you have one main weekly shopping day, make sure the meal the night before is a use-it-up style meal such as risotto, stir-fry, soup or omelette. If you run your stocks down it is easier to see what you have and work out what you need.
- When you make each meal, make sure you check the Use-by date on other items so you don’t find you are using things in the wrong order. If you really don’t fancy cooking whatever has a Use-by date today, then take action and put it in your freezer for another time.
- If you do a meal plan, which I highly recommend – make sure you plan in meals that can use up leftovers and plan to have store-cupboard only meals on a couple of days each week. That gives you leeway for last minute invitations or days when your plans just go completely astray and you run out of cooking time or enthusiasm.
- Have a read of chapter two of Leftover Pie and get to grips with portion control. Premeditated leftovers are fab is you are deliberately cooking an extra portion for tomorrow’s lunch boxes. But unless you know you want extra for a specific reason, then weigh out what you are going to cook. If your scales are a permanent feature on your kitchen counter then this can become second nature and you will have perfect portions every time.
- Avoid plate waste by encouraging people to serve themselves. Only you can know how hungry you are, so remember only they know how hungry they are. Encourage your family to be conservative in their estimate of how much they are going to eat, finish it, pause and rest a bit, then go back for more if you feel the desire.
- Cool leftover food quickly and put it in the fridge. You can help things cool more quickly by dividing them up into single portions.
- Freeze in a mixture of single or double portions and never more.
- Make rules for fridge foragers. Get them their own shelf and lay down the law that that’s where they pick from first.
- Don’t be afraid to write notes in your fridge.
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