It seems as though the no waste trend has surged in the last few months of 2019, which is a real turning point for the food industry. Just this week, Unilever announced that 600 of its sites have now eliminated waste to landfill and supermarket giants, such as Marks and Spencer and Waitrose has piloted their first refilling stores in a bid to cut down on the amount of plastic that is produced.
But, we still have a long way to go if we want to tackle the amount of food that is wasted in the UK. According to the latest research from Hotpoint, 81 percent of UK consumers are throwing away food each week. On average, they are binning 11 percent of their weekly shop, which comes out at around £9.44 worth of food – that’s a lot money and food going to waste!
In partnership with Hotpoint, Jamie Oliver has created his top tips for preventing food waste for their Eat Your Fridge campaign, and is encouraging people to take part themselves using #EatYourFridge:
The temperature varies in any fridge as heat rises, so keep your meat and fish in the cooler part at the bottom, and foods like dairy in the middle. Make sure you keep cooked meat on a separate shelf to any raw meat and keep the raw stuff on your lowest shelf. The door is the warmest area of the fridge that is exposed to warm air every time the fridge is opened. Keep products like juices and condiments here.
Know what not to put in your fridge
Only put things in the fridge that actually need to go in. Items like potatoes do not need to be in there, so store those in a dark, dry place somewhere else. The fridge can make some food go off faster, such as bread which will keep fresher for longer outside of the fridge.
Freezers are like a time capsule for fresh food. It is like pressing the pause button, locking in nutrients and preserving taste, especially when it comes to fruit and veg. If you have got some fruit and it is about to go bad, put it in a container and into the freezer in a container and they will be perfect for a delicious smoothie another day.
Wrap up herbs and salad
A great tip to keep herbs fresher for longer is to wrap them in slightly damp kitchen towel before you pop them in the fridge. You can also line your veg drawers with paper towels which will absorb the moisture and condensation from the vegetables you store in your fridge, keeping them fresher for longer. But remember to change these with every food shop!
Blitz your bread
Bread is a British staple and we have been making it for thousands of years, but research suggests that it is the number one most wasted food in the UK. Instead of putting stale bread in the bin, cut it up into chunks to use another time as croutons, or whizz it up into breadcrumbs and pop them in the freezer. You can use breadcrumbs on the top of mac and cheese, a crumb coating for healthy, homemade fish fingers or to add texture to tomato pasta sauce.
Portioning up food and freezing it is a lifesaver for those days you come home and just need something quick. If you’re cooking something like a ragu, curry or stew simply make double the amount! If you freeze it thin and flat it will freeze really quickly, and defrost really quickly, too.
Make your own pickled vegetables with any random bits of crunchy veg like carrot, broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber. Simply put it in a jar with some vinegar, salt, sugar and water and you’ve got a brilliant pickle. You can add herbs, mustard seeds and whatever else you like to change up the flavour too.
Herb flavour bombs
A great tip to make your fresh herbs last longer is to freeze them before they go to waste. Chop them, pop them in an ice cube tray with a little bit of oil, and whack them in the freezer. That way you can then use them whenever you need a bit of extra flavour.
Chill your chillies
If you catch chillies before they lose their freshness, or even when they’re slightly past their best, you guessed it, you can freeze them. Then, when you want to add a little heat, you just grate it into a dish whilst cooking, or even over the top of a curry.
When it comes to meat, the most wasted is chicken and there are so many things that you can do with a bit of leftover chicken. Try turning it into a simple noodle dish, a beautiful salad, comforting pies and stews, risottos packed full of flavour, or a hearty chicken soup.