Reducing waste is such a hot topic right now. Thanks to Hugh’s War on Waste campaign on BBC One, this issue is getting more and more attention. Like most people, I was shocked to learn that takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable.
And it’s not just the big coffee companies that could do better. An article in the Evening Standard published on Wednesday showed that last year UK supermarkets threw away 115,000 tonnes of perfectly good food.
There is also a lot we can do at home. Millions of tonnes of food go in our bins every year, most of which is still edible. We all have busy lives, so I’m not suggesting joining the eco-warrior brigade! But by being more aware of the problem and doing whatever we can to minimise it, we could reduce our environmental footprint quite a lot and save money on grocery bills too.
So here are some easy and practical ways of cutting food waste for Ginger & Parsley readers. I would love to hear your views and if you have any good tips, please share them with us!
1. Freeze your herbs
No doubt that, like me, you often buy some herbs but cannot finish the whole pack and the rest ends up rotting at the back of your fridge for weeks. In fact, most herbs are suitable for freezing and this does not change their taste or texture. Before freezing, you can chop them and put them in a bag, it’s easier to use afterwards. Next time you need some, you can just take the exact portion you need from the freezer and add directly to the food, no need to defreeze. It’s that simple.
2. Buying loose vegetables
Because most vegetables in supermarkets are pre-packaged (especially the small nearby stores) you often end up using more than you need. I buy a lot of vegetables, so my fridge can very quickly get completely filled up if I’m not careful. Go for the loose vegetables, even if not always organic, you’ll get your daily portion of healthy greens and avoid having to throw away what you cannot eat. That way, you can buy as many or as little as your need, no wastage. Most green grocers in London also sell their vegs by weight. Buying from them is also a great way of supporting local businesses.
3. Turn vegetables into juice and soups
Fruit and vegetables that are not so fresh anymore don’t necessary need to be thrown away. You can easily use them for your healthy smoothies, or make it into a soup.
4. Make broth with bones and vegetables
Bones from roasted chicken or beef can be turned into a really tasty stock that adds amazing flavour to any dishes. Just add the bones, garlic and any vegetables you can find in your fridge into a hot deep-bottom pan. Add cold water and bring to boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 3 hours. Stocks freeze well too, so wait until the stock cools down and pour it into one of those ice cube bags for example. Next time you are cooking a dish, you can just use one or two ice cubes to add more flavours.
5. Know what to store in the fridge
A lot of fruits and vegetables actually don’t need to be stored in the fridge as instead of keeping them fresh this can sometimes reduce their shelf life, nutrition value or even taste. Here are some examples:
- Any types of melons
Regarding what should go in the fridge, here’s a really useful infographic from Foodrepublic.
There are more things we could do to cut food waste but I think these few tips are a good start and require very little effort.
If you have any tips in reducing household food waste, please do share with us!© Rkaphotography | Dreamstime.com - Taking Fruit At Free Food, Trafalgar Square Photo