Kirklees Food Hacks: Tips to reducing Food waste

UK households still waste 4.5m tonnes of food a year that could have been eaten, worth £14bn. This amounts to £700 for an average family with children. Household food waste represents 70% of all food waste triggered after the food has been grown or produced.  According to a detailed study from the Waste and Resources Action Programme

What can you do to help?

If you’ve had a busy day at work, with the children, caring for a loved one or just being on your feet all day … when it comes to cooking your dinner after a busy day, being waste conscious is probably the last thing on your mind.

But especially in this time of uncertainty and where things change every day and we are spending more and more time at home cooking more meals. We can all do our bit to reduce food waste!

Here are some tips to reduce food waste and get more for your money!

  • Prevent waste before you shop

It’s important that before you start to spend money on food that you plan your meals for the week.

You can make a plan at the same time for any food that may be leftover. This can spark leftover meal ideas for another day, for example, adding it to a lunch box, freezing for later or making a big batch of food such as curry, chilli or stew and freeze them in easy to use individual portions.

It also helps to:

  • Take a photo of the contents of your fridge to remind you what you have already.
  • Some people find that shopping online helps to focus their food shop to their meal plans and avoid impulse shopping. People report a reduction in their food waste and that they have saved money too.
  • Beware of BOGOF – is it too good to be true? Check the value per pence/weight of the item first. Will you really use the extra amount that you are buying?

And finally … always check the sell-by dates and don’t shop when you’re hungry. You will buy more than you need and waste money and food in the process.

  • Manage your portions

Did you know that portion size is one of the biggest contributors to food waste? Not everyone requires the same amount of food. So it’s important when you prepare food to tailor your portions to fit the people that will be eating it.

You can use using measuring tools such as cups, spoons, measuring bowls. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can ask people in your house to serve themselves and pick their own portions is also a way to save waste.

  • Blanching could be your best secret weapon against fresh vegetables

Vegetables taste great when they are fresh. However, If you have overestimated on your shop and have more than you need, you can freeze them for later. That doesn’t mean placing them straight in the freezer and forgetting about them until your next meal. If you do this when you take them out they lose their colour, taste and texture and it’s not enjoyable to eat.

It helps to Blanch your vegetables before you freeze. This is simple and easy to do and doesn’t take up too much time.

Blanching is scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time (2 – 3 minutes). You should do this for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavour, colour and texture.

Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the colour and helps to hold back the loss of vitamins. Most frozen vegetables you find in the supermarket have been through this process before they are packaged to go on sale.

Remember to separate your vegetables into portions into individual freezer bags. This will prevent your portions from sticking together and prevent further waste.

  • Think before you throw away – Do you need to throw away those vegetable peels?

Vegetable peels are a common feature in household food waste. They are edible, but we have the perception once something is peeled or shopped the bits leftover are useless. Here are some tips below to help you with your vegetable peels in the future whether it’s creating a healthy snack, vegetable stock or even re-growing veggies after you have used them.

*Tasty video for making a vegetable stock*

Insert link to growing vegetables from scraps

  • Batch cooking – it’s not just for dieting!

Batch cooking is often associated with people on a fitness journey, doing meal prep ready for “bulking“ or slimming down. This isn’t the case.

If you want to reduce food waste and save money on your food shop batch cooking can prove to be very useful!

Batch cooking is ideal for anyone who has a busy schedule and wants an easy to make a home-cooked meal that doesn’t take too long each night to prepare. It means making a large portion of a meal however you can freeze or refrigerate this to have again later.

Here are some examples form BCC Good Food on the ideal meals to batch cook.

Remember – if your batch cooking it’s important to separate out individual portions for meals.

You don’t always have to batch cook meals… If you make too much mash potato for example. If your potatoes are close to their sell-by date so you throw them all in, but you can’t find room to eat it all in one. If you separate it into individual portions you can freeze it and microwave it later for your next meal.

  • Composting

Composting is an affordable, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into valuable food for your garden. It’s easy to make and use.
Try to place your compost bin in a reasonably sunny spot on bare soil,  it makes it very easy for beneficial microbes and insects to gain access to the rotting material. It also allows for better aeration and drainage, both important to successful composting.

Make sure your compost is dark brown and smells nice and earthy when you use it. It should also be slightly moist and have a crumbly texture and you’re good to go and start planting and making improvements to your garden.

We hope you found this useful and you’re inspired for when you are next in the kitchen cooking up a meal. We will be posting more helpful tips over the next couple of weeks.

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