Make the Most of Every Mouthful
UK households have made great strides in reducing the good food we waste! In fact food and drink waste is down by 21% since 2007, but with £12.5 billion of food still ending up in the bin, there is still a long way to go. We like to reduce food waste because it not only saves us a small fortune, but we are also aware that binned food often ends up in landfill and that somehow that’s not good for the environment. That’s quite true of course – good food in a landfill site will rot and produce greenhouse gases, but getting our food from field to fork has a big impact on the global environment, and this impact is larger than it needs to be when food is wasted. Making the most of each mouthful makes a difference beyond that of our own bins and bank accounts.
Just a spoonful of sugar
There are lots of ways to make the most of every mouthful. Start by challenging yourself to see every spoonful as precious and this can help re-think how you deal with little bits of leftovers. For example
- Nip and tuck – take just a spoonful of leftover stew or casserole and tuck it into pitta bread for lunch the next day. A spoonful of leftover baked beans from breakfast can added into a chilli con carne for tea.
- Get saucy – a spoonful of spag bol can become a pizza topping of filling for a baked potato of fajita.
- Concentrate– tomato concentrate, pesto, brown sauce and ketchup that so often gets forgotten. Add them into your favourites eg added under the cheese on cheese on toast, swirl into stews, spoon into mash, squidge into risottos.
- Top that! Leftover spoonfuls of yogurt can top cereal, fruit puddings or a dish of curry. An old crust and a cube of dry cheese can be grated and used to top cauliflower cheese or pasta bakes.
- Raise a glass – save leftover wine or beer for sauces, gravies and rice dishes.
Changing how we think of every spoonful makes it possible to rescue many foods that you might be tempted to discard. Much of our fruit and veg – those water and land hungry foods – can be revived if it has got a bit tired. Plunging salad leaves into cold water, putting celery or broccoli in a glass of water in the fridge overnight or stewing, pureeing or blitzing tired fruit into smoothies gives them a new lease of life.
Going for the big hits
If there was a medal table for food waste in the UK, in bronze is milk with 290,000 tonnes being wasted each year, in silver are fresh potatoes at 320,000 tonnes and in gold medal position is standard bread weighing in at a mighty 350,000 tonnes. Reducing the levels of waste in these common foods would make a big change to our environmental impact so here are some top tips for each of them.
Milk – make sure your fridge if between 0-5 degrees and this will help keep your milk fresher for longer – many of our fridges are too warm so milk goes off too quickly.
Spuds – store in a cool, dark place. If they go a bit green and sprouty don’t throw them out, give them a good peel and then cook them.
Bread – store it in the freezer or in a cool dark place – not in the fridge where the fridge will speed up the staling process.
If you have foods at home that regularly appear on you waste podium, help is at hand. The Love Food Hate Waste assistant brings together all the tips and advice for a range of popular foods that sometimes end up in the bin.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of food waste and the global impact that is has, but the good news is that there are very simple steps that you can take to drastically reduce it. Plenty of help is available to get you started. By planning meals and menus, storing our food correctly, cooking the right amounts and loving our leftovers we will be well on the way to making the most of every mouthful.
For hints, tips and recipes on how to make the best of the food that we buy and save up to £60 a month, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com.