Good food brings joy to our day and creating delicious meals for the ones we love brings us together, making dinner time that little bit more special. A shared love for heart-warming food and punchy flavours are just some of the reasons why food shouldn’t be going to waste. Reducing food waste is about integrating lifestyle changes here and there to create a more mindful and proactive attitude in the battle against food waste.
FRESH VS FROZEN
Fresh fruit and vegetables are one of the most common foods that are being thrown away. Fresh produce can be expensive and has a short window of time where it is at its best, however “fresh is best, right?”. Contrary to this belief, the period of time from the harvest to the product landing in our refrigerator is sufficient for fresh produce to dramatically decrease in nutritional value.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are much more affordable; furthermore, they are frozen within hours of being picked. This ensures all of the nutrients and vitamins are retained, so we get a higher surge of health benefits than if we were to eat their fresh counterparts. Any fresh fruits or vegetables that are just about to turn bad can be chopped up and stored in the freezer; this will hit the pause button and is ideal for last-minute curries or smoothies.
Airtight, clear storage containers are perfect for any dried goods such as pasta, rice, lentils and grains as this will keep them at their highest quality for an increased amount of time. This budget friendly tip will help save you money as sufficient storage means you won’t need to replace them as often.
For canned produce, despite having a fairly long shelf life, make sure you store the ones that need using first at the front to prevent them from going bad.
HOME COMPOSTING & REUSING FOOD SCRAPS
Home composting is a really easy habit to start as this reduces the amount of food scraps we throw away and which inevitably head for landfill. The general rule for composting is that if it came from the ground it can be composted, however, with many different methods and systems now available, be sure to do your research to find out which compost would work for you and your lifestyle. Vegetable peels, stalks, cores and ends are great for creating a flavoursome vegetable stock, which is perfect as a base for soups, stews or sauces. Store any scraps in a container in the freezer to prevent them from smelling and rotting. Once the container is full transfer them into a large saucepan filled with water and bring to the boil, leave to reduce until it thickens and takes on all that veggie goodness. Season to taste and store in the freezer.
MEAL PLAN & SHOPPING LIST
Planning your meals and creating a shopping list is a life saver when trying to reduce the amount that we throw away. If we aimlessly walk around supermarket aisles with no plan or list, we undoubtedly buy things we don’t need, which then end up not being used and land in the bin. A shopping list keeps us focused, helps save money and may make food shopping that little bit quicker.
A tip for a shopping list is to plan your list according to sections, i.e.: fruit and vegetables, dried goods/pantry, dairy/fridge section, frozen, drinks and household. This breakdown is especially great if you have just moved out and are new to shopping for yourself or if you find supermarkets particularly daunting.
When planning meals, try to incorporate leftovers or make double portions so you can freeze one for later. When you freeze any leftovers, make sure it is clearly labelled along with the date when it was made so you can keep track of what meals you have on hand.
Kitchen confidence is one of the most effective ways in reducing our food waste. Learning how to cook delicious meals from scratch, understanding flavour pairings and adapting recipes to what you have on hand will help develop your knowledge about your kitchen, pantry, appliances and your flavour palette. This confidence makes cooking enjoyable as well as encourages you to make the most out of what you have rather than outsourcing for every recipe.
72 % of food waste derives from households with the average person producing 124 kg of food waste per year. Globally, 1/3 of the food produced is wasted meaning land, energy & water supplies are being used to create food that is thrown away. With our planet in a state of emergency, valuable resources are being wasted and unnecessary greenhouse gases are being emitted. Collectively, we must find sustainable solutions to aid in the fight against food waste.