There are shocking statistics on how much food we waste. I read somewhere that about a third of the food we buy is wasted, but tbh the stats don’t matter. However, we look at it, wasted food is wasted money. It’s bad for our wallets, our infrastructure, and our environment. It’s ridiculous in this day and age that we can produce enough food that we can afford to chuck a third of it away , but we still have people that don’t have enough to eat.
We owe it to everyone to use up the food that we buy. We also owe it to others to give the food that we don’t use away to needy folk, but apparently it doesn’t work like that *fumes*. I’ve compiled a list of pretty easy ways we can reduce our food waste. Even if you already do all of these things, it’s worth thinking about reducing packaging and waste in general. We’re a terribly wasteful society in a lot of ways, but I think we’re becoming more aware. Hopefully anyway.
Think outside the box
Making Bolognese? Or chilli? You don’t need to stick to the recipe. Chuck in those slightly sticky mushrooms that are chilling in the fridge. Maybe a courgette if you’re feeling crazy. If your kids are suspicious of such dirty tricks to get them to eat vegetables, grate them and fry them off with your onions when you start.
Analyse your relationship with leftovers
Are you reeeeally going to eat the last quarter of that lasagne? We’re terrible for putting leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days and then chucking it out. Rather than being frugal and less wasteful, we’re really just showing the leftovers the inside of the fridge; giving it two days to get its affairs in order before it heads to the big Tupperware container in the sky. JUST MAKE LESS FOOD.
Don’t buy it if you won’t eat it
We’re all guilty of buying food we won’t eat. I’m most likely to overbuy food when I’m on a health kick (which will last all of one morning). My tip here is simple – prep the food. We’re lazy by nature, so the trick is to make eating the food you already have easier than going to shops to grab a pasty. Check out this post for ideas for food prep.
Be watchful of deals
Don’t buy two hummus’s if you’re only going to eat one – I know they’re 2 for £2 in Tesco but maybe pick up some guacamole instead? Or salsa? Or a tin of chickpeas and DIY it?
Give it away
Most supermarkets have some sort of food donation scheme for those cans of cannellini beans you bought when you first moved in and will never use. Or take your extra fruit to work and be less popular than the people that bring cake. Make a cake.
Improve your culinary repertoire
Get yourself on Pinterest and find out how to use the 10X1kg bags of gram flour you bought on amazon for a steal. Discover how to transform your elderly bananas into nice cream and banana bread. The world is your falafel!*
Get yourself a whizzer
I’m sure they have a proper name, but you know, one of the stick blender things. I use mine for making the king and queen of using up elderly produce: smoothies and soups. Smoothies can house yoghurts, oats, fruit, milk; that kind of thing; and any old veg or beans can be turning into a delicious soup. I just find that the hassle of dragging out my big blender deters me from ever making smoothies and things, whereas my whizzer is a doddle to clean and fits in my cutlery drawer. Here’s a pin I found whizzers can replace food processors.
See if your pets can eat it
My rabbits will eat up most green veg. My mum feeds her dogs raw carrots (they fight over bones). Feed the ducks (not bread, though – if you feed ducks bread, you’re also feeding the rats). A colleague at work takes all the carrot peelings and general leftovers to feed her pet pig, Peaches.
If I’m honest, this is kind of an extended version of putting leftovers in the fridge, but occasionally it does pay off. I, for example, freeze cooked beans, because it’s cheaper to get dried ones, but they take HOURS to cook, so I do huge batches, portion them up and freeze them. I also only buy frozen berries, because the fresh ones don’t last very long.
DISCLAIMER: I do neither of these things, but many people do, so I may as well include them. I mean making a shopping list and meal planning, so you know exactly what to buy, and what you’re going to do with it once you buy it. I’m terrible at this because I never know when I’m going to be working, and if I’m going to have enough time to cook what I planned to. More often than not, I just end up grabbing a sandwich or a salad. Still though, if you work regular hours, I can see how this could work. I’m just too lazy really.
*Oysters are grim