New Year’s Resolutions are certainly the hot topic of conversation at the moment! Whether it is a subtle change like keeping your house more tidy, or more drastic for example Veganism… there is one thing we should all attempt: LESS FOOD WASTAGE. The festive period frequently draws to a close when the leftovers run dry but, why do we only adopt this habit at Christmas? Food wastage is not only harsh on your wallet but even worse for the environment. The burden of food production, particularly imported produce for seasonality, adds to the environmental damage. Whilst locally sourced produce is available, the winter months make this a little more limiting. But…there is no excuse for making the most of food that is about to expire! Here are our top tips:
Expiration dates are a suggestion. Often vegetables would not be sold on the date which they are ‘best before’ but they can indeed still be consumed. Whilst meat and dairy products may go sour, vegetables maintain their taste and nutrients post expiration date, they just require a little trimming. For example, a head of lettuce; the outside leaves turn a little brown but the inside is completely in tact… don’t throw it away in haste!
Freeze! We all go into the fridge everyday. Take some time to assess the fresh food and what you know is not going to be eaten in time. If it can be frozen, go for it… then it is not wasted. Instead it becomes supplies when you are missing one ingredient midway through a recipe! Alternatively… cook the food and put it back in the fridge. This gives you more time to eat it.
Avoid emptying half of your fridge into the bin, get inventive with some meals that will clear the fridge out. Soup is an obvious choice. Pop all the veggies in a pot, add some stock and seasoning, simmer away… blend or eat as a chunky soup. Fruit could be made into jam or cooked with a drizzle of honey. Apples become crumble, purée or pie instead of rubbish.
Meat can be shredded and completely reinvented by adding a teriyaki sauce and serving in lettuce wraps or fajita powder and tortilla wraps. The cupboard can prove more demanding to avoid wastage. How can we get through a whole load of bread before it is stale? Toasting bread is the simplest solution. However.. bread crumbs or cereal that isn’t quite so crunchy makes great crispy fried chicken or use the slightly stale bread to bind meatballs and burgers. Don’t forget, freeze bread and toast it straight from frozen.
Remember: Waste not, Want not!