Learning to reduce food waste will help the environment and can save you money too. Food waste is becoming a prevalent problem. In the UK alone, we throw away 9.7 billion tonnes of household food waste every year. When you throw away your meals, not only are you wasting food, but you’re also simultaneously wasting the water, chemicals, and energy that were put into producing those foods.
You can mitigate this problem at home. By managing food sustainably, you can reduce food waste and save money all at the same time. Here’s how you can get started:
How To Reduce Food Waste
Create shopping lists
Whenever you head to the supermarket to restock your pantry, it’s important to have a list beforehand to avoid overbuying. When you have a grocery list prior to shopping, you’ll know exactly what you need to purchase, helping you avoid things that will only go bad and need to be tossed away later on. Take the time to take stock of what you have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry before taking the trip to the store. You can even take a “shelfie” to refer to, so you can prevent buying something that you already have at home.
Practice proper food storage
Storing food the right way may not seem like much, but food stored in their proper storage place helps them last for a much longer time. Make an effort in finding out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside your refrigerator. For instance, there are fruits that give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster than they should have. For things like bananas, apples, and tomatoes, they should be stored by themselves, and other fruits and vegetables should be stored in other bins. For leftover canned goods and meats in the fridge, it would be better to store them in airtight containers to avoid cross-contamination.
“100 million people are starving. Billion of tons of food is wasted every year. We do not need to produce more. Instead, we need to act different.”– Chef Massimo Bottura
Try batch cooking and freezing
One of the best ways to cut down on food waste is to batch cook and freeze meals for later. Creating a big batch of food such as curry, pasta sauce, or chilli, and then freezing to use individual portions can help you reduce food waste. It can also help save you time for days when you don’t feel like whipping up something in the kitchen. The good news is today’s appliances are advanced enough to cook big portions with no trouble. Modern appliances like Aroma rice cookers will allow you to prepare a batch of rice the way you want it, then you can add mint, pomegranate seeds and chilli flakes to make a delicious cold side dish to tuck into at any time. Meanwhile, the latest pressure cookers and slow cookers have the capacity to cook your meals even when you’re not at home, giving you more time to spend on other tasks.
One of the reasons why people throw food away is because they get tired of eating them. You can easily avoid this by making your leftovers interesting again. Unleash your creative juices and repurpose leftovers by transforming them into completely new meals. You can use the sauce from another dish and incorporate it in a new meal. For leftover veggies and proteins, you can always stirfry them together for an instant new dish! The key thing here is to get inventive so you won’t have to waste anything.
Words by Claire Jones | Photography by Annie Spratt