GIVE UP BINNING FOOD INSTEAD

CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO CHUCK LESS AND SAVE UP TO £60 A MONTH

Lent is here and for many people it’s an opportunity to try to give up bad habits. This year, rather than cutting out chocolate or curbing the coffee habit, we’re encouraging you to give up something else instead: putting food in the bin. Why? Because in the UK, 70% of all food thrown away comes from our homes. That’s more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, the majority of which could have been eaten, shared and enjoyed.

Buying only what we need and using up all of what we buy is a great way to keep food out of the bin and honour the lent tradition of self-discipline and restraint. Doing our bit, no matter how small this might seem, could save each of us up to £60 a month. Our collective effort helps protect the environment and the land on which our delicious food is grown.

We've got plenty of amazing food facts, top tips and recipes to help you succeed in throwing away less over the next 40 days. Hopefully the changes you make will help you give up binning food for good.

Explore our food saving facts from the 1st March 2017 or sign up to make sure you never miss a tip.

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1MAKE A CUNNING PLAN
Who's got time to plan their weekly meals, right? We know we're all busy but carving out (no pun intended) 30 mins to map out your meals for the week ahead is so worth it. Grab a pen and paper, draw a 7-day matrix and populate the meals you know you're going to need to cook. Pin it to your fridge and you'll be on track for the week.
2POKE AROUND YOUR CUPBOARDS
One of the best ways to keep food out of the bin is to peer into your kitchen cupboards more often. We're serious. Set aside at least half an hour each week before shopping to dig out what you've already got before buying any new food and you're less likely to end up with old tins, bendy carrots and out-of-date pasta that needs chucking.
3TAKE A ROLL CALL
Ask around your family or check your diary at the start of the week to see how much you'll be eating at home. It's not an exact science but knowing how many mouths to feed and when can help you buy in enough food to keep everyone satisfied, and limit the chance of overbuying then having to chuck it away.
4RESIST BOGOF, STICK TO YOUR LIST
It's hugely tempting to pick up buy one get one free or 'woops' items at the supermarket, but this lent exercise your discipline and try to stick to what you need to buy. BOGOF and 'woops' deals happen every day – and if you really can't say no, then only buy BOGOF you can freeze and save for later, instead of throwing it away.
5CURRY FAVOUR WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS
Going on hols? Plan to share whatever goodies you can't eat before you go with your neighbours instead of binning them. Either parcel up individual items into an attractive gift basket, or cook up your leftover veg or meat into a stew/casserole/slow-bake and offer it up. They'll love you for it.
6KEEP THEM IN THE DARK
Spuds love nothing better than a home in a cool dark place. It keeps them from sprouting unsightly shoots or going soft before their time. Nobody likes a spongy wrinkly wasted potato, so keep them out of the bin this lent by storing your spuds in the best possible conditions.
7WHO KNEW THIS ABOUT MILK
Yes it's true – you can freeze milk. We surveyed quite a few members of the Love Food Hate Waste community (you can join here) and hardly anyone knew that you need never pour milk down the sink again. When it's coming up to its use-by date, and definitely still smells fresh, simply put it in the freezer. Defrost fully in the fridge and use within 5–7 days.
8OH THE WOE OF YELLOW BROCCOLI
We've all been there – with the best intentions of cooking that super-healthy broccoli but slowly watching it go soft in the fridge (while we eat something less holy). This lent, prevent your broccoli getting past its best by slicing a chunk off the stalk, immersing the end in water and leaving it to crisp up overnight. Perfect with stilton in a soup or alongside some fresh salmon.
9SURPRISING STORAGE FACT: TOMATOES
It's a universally underapprecited truth that tomatoes do very well in the freezer. There's no need to throw them away even if they're past their best. Just chuck them in a freezer bag (not the bin) and pop them in the cool box. You won't be able to use them in a salad, but defrosted they'll be a brilliant addition to your next tomato pasta sauce.
10DON'T BE A SQUARE, CHILL OUT
The humble plastic ice cube tray can be used for some many things we simply don't have space to list them all here. Excellent ideas include: freezing wine that's on the turn to add to sauces; chopping up herbs that are about to go brown in water to use in cooking; freezing odds and ends of fruit juice to add an interesting twist to your Friday night cocktails.
11UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH: KITCHEN ROLL
If you don't know this one already, you're going to love us for sharing this storage tip. So simple and so easy to remember. Just by putting a sheet of kitchen roll in a container or bag with lettuce or spinach leaves can keep it fresh for up to three days longer. Who'd've thought it? Brilliant.
12THE SCIENCE OF AVOCADOS
They're the hipster food that's taking urban cafes by storm – topping toast with eggs for breakfast. But they're notoriously hard to get just soft enough to cut like putty, without tipping over into sludge. Science has the solution: put your hard avo by a banana overnight. Ethylene in its skin will ripen it ready for a trendy brekkie tomorrow.
13ADVENTURES IN FRIDGE FORAGING
Before you think of making a trip to the supermarket or local shops, delve deep into your fridge and use up (or plan to use up) everything that needs eating. Fridge foraging is fantastic on two fronts – it keeps more food out of the bin and allows air to circulate in your fridge, helping to keep everything properly chilled.
14INCREDIBLE FRIDGE FACT YOU WON'T BELIEVE
We're just going to come right out with it, without further ado, because it's such a quick and simple win – keeping your fridge below 5oC can add three days to the storage life of some foods. Yes, three days. Follow our link to find out more.
15FRIDGE MYTHS YOU CAN'T IGNORE
There's a lot of confusion about how to chill perishables to help them keep fresh for longer. We recommend you cool down leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within two hours), which stops illness-causing bacteria growing. Store them in the fridge and eat within two days.
16WHERE FOOD SHOULD LIVE
OK, so it seems like common sense, but keeping your foods in the right parts of the fridge prevents cross-contamination (and keeps them good for longer). In a nutshell, keep ready-to-eat food on the top shelves and fruit and veg in the bottom. Wrap or cover open items and put raw meat, poultry and fish in sealed containers to avoid keep raw away from cooked foods. Simples.
17DISCOVER THE JOY OF FRO-YO
It rarely happens to us, but if you've not managed to get through your pot of yog before it's nearing it's use-by date, there's a brilliant way to keep it out of the bin. Mix it up with overripe fruit, chuck it in a tub and freeze: instant frozen yoghurt dessert. Yum.
18MIND-POPPING EGG FACT
Did you know you can save surplus eggs from going off by popping them in the freezer? We know, it's eggsellent (ahem). Just crack your fresh eggs into a container and when you’re ready to use them, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure your eggs are within their ‘use by date’ before freezing.
19TO CHILL OR TO CHUCK?
That is the question. Well, we’re clearing up the confusion. If you have leftover rice, rinse it with cold water and tip it into a large shallow container. Cool it as quickly as possible (ideally within an hour) and it will keep in the fridge for up to a day. Make sure your rice is piping hot when you reheat it – and then enjoy.
20ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Kicking off our week of daily tips on portioning is the simple mantra to 'cook what you need and eat what you cook'. Paying closer attention to how much you need to cook means you're less likely to make too much food, which ends up in the bin. Today, just hold that thought and come back tomorrow for a how-to.
21HOW TO: GET RICE RIGHT
Rice is a very tricky food staple to portion correctly. How many times have we all ended up with way too much? If you're pushed for time, buy already portioned parcels of rice. And if you make too much, why not add it to a soup, make a fried rice dish the next day or freeze it for another time?
22WRIGGLE OUT OF THIS ONE
Another slippery customer to portion perfectly is spaghetti. It's a hugely popular UK food staple, but so many of us make more than we need. The ideal single portion of dry spaghetti is about the width of a penny coin, when held between your thumb and index finger. For two people, add tuppence worth, for three, three penny portions, and so on.
23TUPPERWARE PARTY, ANYONE?
Next time you're catering for a crowd, inject a little fun into proceedings by offering each of your guests a container in which to take home leftovers. It's incredibly hard to portion a party and so make the most of your leftovers by getting your guests to take them away. You'll appear both generous and food-conscious: win win.
24HELP! I'M IN A HURRY
If you're cooking with the clock ticking and only minutes to prepare, always check the packaging of the food you're making for guidance on portions. Most shop-bought items tell you how much to cook for one or two people and if you're whipping up a bigger batch, just multiply.
25SMASH, SCOOP, SERVE
Spuds are so easy to over-portion owing to the variety of shapes and sizes they grow in. On the whole, a handful of spud per person is enough to cook. If you're making mash, get an ice cream scoop for serving. It's a fun way to present your potato and helps prevent overserving a mound of mash on the plate. Instead, you can start with 2–3 scoops and serve more if still hungry.
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