Reports show we waste nearly a third of the food we buy. If you stop wasting food it’s the same thing as saving a third on your food bill. This article shows you how to cut out waste and save that money.
In 2008 a report by the Waste & Resources Action Programme revealed we throw away about a third of the food we buy. Worse still, 61% of that food was perfectly edible. Despite the publicity at that time, subsequent surveys have shown little improvement.
This is surprising as cutting out food waste obviously saves money and times are tough.
Be Aware of What You Have
The first thing is not to buy food you don’t need. It may seem obvious, but many people buy the same things each week regardless of what’s left from the week before. Make a list of what you actually need and take that with you to the shops.
Keep an eye on what is in your fridge and veg rack. If you find you have something you are not going to eat before it goes out of date, change your plans and use it up. As long as it hasn’t been previously frozen, freeze it for later use.
If food has been frozen, it is safe to cook it and then freeze the resulting meal for another day but not to just re-freeze it.
Use Your Leftovers
Use serving bowls rather than dishing out everything onto the plate. Make it a family rule that you eat what goes onto the plate so leftovers are nice and clean in the serving dishes.
If there’s only a small amount of vegetables left, pop into a bag and freeze. When you’ve a reasonable amount you can add them to a stock or soup. Larger amounts can go into a Tupperware type container in the fridge for tomorrow’s meal.
A slice of leftover beef or pork from the joint will make a nice sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch but if you’ve enough for another meal then a curry or sweet and sour can be made. If there’s not quite enough, consider ‘stretching’ the meat using mushrooms or beans or lentils.Or just slice the meat thinly and it’s the basis for a salad. Be creative, it’s sinful to waste meat that an animal died to provide you with.
When you’ve finished a roast chicken, pick over the carcase with your hands. You’ll be surprised how much meat was left. This could end up as sandwiches or form the basis of a curry or a Chinese style chicken and sweetcorn soup or even a chicken and ham pie.
Don’t throw away those chicken bones and bits of skin. They will make a delicious stock you can use in any recipe that calls for it but is especially good for soups. We never seem to have enough stock in stock (sorry, I couldn’t resist that!) so Oxo cubes get used for gravies but the real stock is reserved for soups.
Bread is one of those foods we really waste a lot of. The last bit of the loaf that’s going stale sits in the bread bin while the new loaf gets eaten. We’ve all done it!
Why not use that bread for a bread & butter pudding or French toast? Or cut into slices, allow it to go more stale and then run through a grinder to make breadcrumbs? These can be frozen for later use in all sorts of dishes.
Get The Most From Your Food
Even items normally discarded can be used – squeeze every bit of value from you shopping budget. A cheese and broccoli soup can be made using the thick bits of stalk rather than the tender heads. Some left over Stilton rind will really add to the flavour.
Use your imagination and be determined not to waste and you will soon see the truth of the old saying; “Waste Not, Want Not.”
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