Let’s Keep Crushing It OK, UK?
If there’s good to be found in Lockdown, it’s that many of us have had time to stop, pause and think about how we do things. Through the doom and gloom, we’ve had good times on video calls, more mealtimes together with families and housemates and across the UK, we’ve wasted a third less food than we usually would. We’ve saved leftovers, written detailed shopping lists containing only what we need, and we’ve baked a LOT of banana bread. And though lockdown is easing and life is beginning to go back to a form of normal, here at Love Food Hate Waste we’re on a mission to help you to Keep Crushing It and reduce food waste for good. So, here’s how you can do just that and help the planet and your purse strings.
How Food Waste Affects Climate Change
With over 4.5 million tonnes of edible food wasted from UK homes every year, it’s not just our bank accounts that are affected by food waste – it’s our planet too. Food production is big business - the process of growing, making, distributing, storing and cooking our food uses loads of energy, fuel and water and this process generates 30% of the world’s CO₂e greenhouse gas levels. With 90% of the UK’s fruit and 50% of vegetables coming from overseas, distribution alone means your green beans could have travelled all the way from Kenya, and your grapes from Greece or Egypt! And the huge amount of resources that goes into the production of all this food amounts to the same amount of CO₂e as 4.6 million return flights from London to Perth! So really, it’s a no-brainer to keep as much food out of the bin as possible, and to start wasting less and saving more – both money and the planet.
6 EASY WAYS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE AT HOME
Write Good Lists & Snap Good Shelfies
Before you head to the shops, or start an online grocery order, check what’s in your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Make and update lists on what you’ve got and what you need to reduce duplicates and overspending. And if you’re not a list-maker, snap shelfies (yup, that’s a thing) to refer back to on your phone when you’re out shopping!.
Optimise Your At-Home Storage
You’ll probably know that storing your fresh produce in the fridge will keep things fresher for longer, and that storing leftovers in the freezer can be an easy way to get a pre-made lunch or dinner on demand. But it turns out that only half of us know that our fridge temperature should always be set between 0 and 5°C. If it’s too warm, things like milk will go off a lot quicker. Turn the temperature down to keep your food fresher for longer in the fridge, and find tips on what to store where (like the best place to store your potatoes) with our A-Z of Food Storage.
Freezy Does It
Now that everything’s on demand, it’s easy to forget that the freezer was the original pause button. Not got around to eating that meal you were sure to gobble down this week? Pop it in the freezer! If your grand plans go awry, you can freeze raw (and cooked) meat and poultry right up until the Use By Date – just wrap it in a freezer bag or air-tight container.
Un-Fun fact: 20 million slices of bread go to waste every single day in UK homes, but your morning (or afternoon) toast can be just as good straight from the freezer. If you’re in a rush in the morning before work, make your sandwiches with frozen bread in the morning and by lunch, they’ll be defrosted and ready to eat like your very own DIY supermarket meal deal. Freezing poultry is easy too - if you cut raw chicken breasts into strips and lay them out on a tray in the freezer, you can bag these frozen strips up and return to the freezer. Then you can defrost the perfect portion for your recipe. Our A-Z of Food Storage can help with all your freezing questions.
Save Cost With A Defrost
Once you know what’s in the freezer, it’s just about a little bit of forward planning to save money and a last-minute dash to the shops. For the least amount of hassle, pop the food you’ve previously frozen in the fridge overnight to defrost it. If you’re defrosting chicken, check the on-pack guidance and make sure you’ve left enough time for it to defrost properly in the fridge. And if you’re defrosting in the microwave, just make sure you’ve got no frozen or cold spots in the middle – using your microwave’s defrost setting will make this easier. Once defrosted, cook it within 24 hours. And once cooked, you’ve got a couple of days for it to stay in the fridge, or you can freeze it again if you need to. For more, hints and tips around freezing and defrosting food, check out our A-Z of Food Storage.
Show The Cupboard Some Love
Hey, if you bought a load of pasta, rice, chickpeas and other cupboard essentials at the start of lockdown, and haven’t touched them since – you’re not the only one - now’s the time for them to shine, in new recipes and creative creations! And if you're not sure how much rice or pasta a person actually needs, finally find the answer with our Portion Planner.
Swing By The Inspiration Station
Get creative with your kitchen creations and find ingredient swaps, recipe ideas and leftover hacks in our recipes section. By combining fresh food from the fridge with frozen time-savers and cupboard staples, you’ll feed family and friends for less and impress them with your new savvy cookery skills!
Prue Leith started her catering company Leith's Good Food and opened the Michelin-starred restaurant Leith's in the 1960s. In the 1970s she started Leith's School of Food and Wine and has since opened several training restaurants and a catering college in South Africa.