Throwing away good food has no argument in its defence. I am not wagging my finger here at all as my own record is not untarnished especially when making television. The UK wastes approximately 30% of the food we buy so why is produce today apparently less valuable when it certainly wasn’t until 50 years ago.
If food has truly gone off or is inconveniently hanging around we are simply buying more than we need not helped by an incessant 2 for 1, supermarket culture. Here are a few, maybe obvious, tips that may make the difference between kitchen death or glory.
Don’t rely solely on use by labels to make a judgement. What of the other senses we need to run a tight kitchen. Touch and smell produce, labels here on the side of caution to keep the manufacturers out of trouble, meaning in many cases the foodstuff is still fine despite the date.
If there is an alright part of an item then a little surgery saves it. Concerning meat and fish you may not be sure about, a rinse under the tap and then a smell could save your dinner, and money
Investigate with a taste first but fridges are so good now that I’ve eaten cheeses the pasta sauces etc sometimes days, perhaps weeks after they should be fizzing and moving in upstairs.. I’m not being a hard nut- there was simply nothing wrong.
- Scraping mould off jam and the five second floor rule can only help your immunity.
- Compile menus or lists before you shop as it prevents the ‘Make it up as you go along’ approach that invariably ends with too much food. There is probably still some at home too.
- When stocking your fridge don’t let the new things build a wall in front of the half eaten things blocking them from sight and subsequently mind.
- Buying damaged goods in the market, can saved veg from being chucked and great for the purse. Over ripeness can result in excellent taste. If herbs and vegetables are discoloured once in a sauce or soup it is hard to detect.
Think before you chuck.
Here are a few little memory joggers for good places to use up those bits.
- Old bread Make into breadcrumbs for coatings or toppings, mix moistened crumbs
into meatballs, or use to make desserts such as treacle tart or queen of puddings.
- Leftover veg Mix with mashed potato to make bubble and squeak, get creative with
hashes, slip into stews and pies, or blend into soups.
- Elderly fruit Whizz up a coulis, use in milkshakes, or add to crumbles or compotes.
If you want to know more here are 3 very switched on organisations. FoodCycle (foodcycle.org.uk); Love Food, Hate Waste (lovefoodhatewaste.com); and FareShare (fareshare.org.uk) all help raise awareness of food waste. All of these are helping to raise awareness in food redistribution to those that need it, supplying meals, recruiting and training volunteers to do this and help cut emissions and landfill volumes.