Tips for avoiding food waste at home
Food thrown into your bin ends up in landfill. This Food in landfill breaks down and can create greenhouse gases, including methane, which in turn affects air quality. When we waste food, we also waste the resources put in to growing foods and transporting our foods. Most people do not realise how much food they throw away every day, from uneaten portions of food to produce, such as vegetables, stored for a long time and looking tired. Correct fridge temperatures of between 3°c and 5°c will help ensure your fresh food is held at its optimal temperature and help prevent food spoilage and waste.
By reducing your food waste at home, you can save money as you will purchase less and reduce foods going into landfill.
Plan For The Week
Decide on the same day each week what dinner will be on for the week ahead. This can be as simple as a list of dishes. Do this in advance of your weekly shop and stick to it. Shop from your refrigerator first. Cook what you already have at in your fridge before buying more.
Then just buy the ingredients for these dishes, put exact amounts on your shopping list, this will enable you keep the produce fresh and use it all.
- Leeks x 2
- Peppers x 3 (2 red 1 yellow)
If something changes in the week and you do not use some veg, it is a good idea to either chop it and freeze it (e, g peppers) or convert root veggies, celery, leeks into a nourishing vegetable and butterbean soup. (Tinned beans are an invaluable store cupboard item, gluten free and high in protein and a source of fibre.
Check out this roasted veggie and butterbean soup, roast the veg when using the oven for a joint of meat or simply make extra roasted veg with the weekend roast and convert it into this soup for a handy lunch option.
Roasted Veg & Butterbean Soup
Prep time (after veg is roasted) 5mins: Cooking time: 15mins
Makes 6 portions
- 1lt of chicken stock use fresh or make using gluten free stock cube or granules)
- For the roasted veggies:
- 1 large Spanish onion peeled and chopped
- 500g carrots, washed and chopped
- 500g parsnips washed and chopped
- 1 large, sweet potato washed and chopped
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 400g tin of butterbeans drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped oregano
- (If you have tomatoes that are gone a little soft these can be added too)
You will note the root veg has the skin left on, this reduces waste and adds fibre.
- Make sure the veggies are chopped in similar sized pieces so they will roast evenly
- To roast the veggies toss them in the olive oil, with salt and pepper and roast on a tray until soft and beginning to caramelise.
- In a saucepan, add one tablespoon of olive oil and heat on a medium heat, add the vegetables and the butterbeans cook for 15 minutes and then blend with a hand blender.
- Stir in the fresh herbs
Reusing leftovers or extra portions
Always reuse the leftovers. Whenever you cook a dish, for example a beef or chicken casserole and there is some left over her are some costs saving things you can do. Firstly, store the leftovers correctly, thoroughly cool the dish on the day it is made and keep in the fridge. The next day here are some things you can do
- Add curry paste and extra vegetables to the dish, heat thoroughly and add coconut milk, serve this with rice. Not only do you save the previous days dish, but you can feed more people from the same amount.
- The next day heat the leftover food thoroughly, strain off the sauce and thicken this by adding a small amount of cornflour mixed with cold water to the sauce, bring to the boil, add the thickened sauce to the meat or chicken, put this in a pie dish. Top this with ready rolled gluten free puff pastry, brush top with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c until the pastry is cooked and browned.
This is a good method to help to prevent wastage of food.
Turn dinner into lunch:
Using your dinner leftovers for lunch the next day, disguised as a wrap for example is another way of avoiding food waste. Here is a recipe you can make for dinner. Make a gluten free veg, meat or poultry curry, make extra and for lunch the next day, heat it in the microwave and wrap it in a gluten free wrap.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 small yellow pepper, diced
- 2 washed Maris Piper potatoes, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 small, sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
- 1 red chilli
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder
- 10 cauliflower florets
- ½ tin light coconut milk
- Half tin of drained chickpeas
- Handful of fresh coriander chopped
Pulse ginger and garlic in food processor until finely chopped. Add tomatoes with juice and cayenne pepper, and pulse until combined. Keep this for later in recipe
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and pepper, cook until softened (7 mins).
3.Stir in potatoes, carrots, garam masala, and chili powder. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes, stir regularly.
4.Add cauliflower, tomato mixture and 1 cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat stir in coconut milk. Add black pepper. Sprinkle in chopped coriander.
Stock rotation in your fridge is important for reducing food waste. The best way to organise this is to take out the foods in the fridge onto the kitchen before packing away your weekly shopping. Then follow the simple rule of keeping the older foods to the front so they will get used first. It is also a good opportunity to see what you need to use up.
Fruit bowl ice cubes
Too many lemons, oranges or lime in your fruit bowl, maybe you bought too many or you saw them on special offer and now you are not sure what use you have for them. Wash the fruits, cut them into wedges and remove the pips, put into a freezer bag and freeze. They become instant flavour and ice for summer drinks.
Unused or stale gluten free bread
Is your house one that nobody likes the heels of the bread, do not waste this, it can be diced and tossed with olive oil, seasoning and garlic if you fancy. These can be baked in a hot oven for 10 minutes to make delicious croutons for soup or salads. The croutons can be cooled and kept in an airtight container for 3 -4 days. Alternatively, you can blend the bread in a food processer to make your own gluten free breadcrumbs, these will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Hopefully, these tips will get you on the road to reducing food waste and in turn save money.