Ways to Reduce Food Waste
- Take 30 minutes at the weekend to plan your meals for the week.
- Create a shopping list on your phone. You can keep adding to it.
- Don’t be fooled by special offers… often, they are for unhealthy foods.
- Always check dates and buy the longer date option
- Store food correctly to maximise life, e.g. keep veg in the fridge
- Use foods in date order, following the First In First Out principle.
- Batch cook and freeze. This will save on time and energy!
- Freeze foods in a sandwich bag flat if you are short on space.
- If you regularly throw out bread, consider freezing half the pan when you but it and using it later in the week.
- Keep bananas, avocado and tomatoes away from green veg which gives off a gas and can cause them to spoil.
- Wilting veg that’s destined for the bin are often perfectly good for making a delicious soup.
- Over ripe or ‘about to spoil’ fruit can always be used to make a smoothie
- Over ripe bananas can be used to make banana bread. If you can’t use them there and then, peel and freeze them for baking at the weekend.
Understand expiration dates and food safety
- “Use by” may be no longer safe to eat.
- “Best before” applies to quality, not safety. It could still be good to eat.
- Dinner leftovers are always a lunch box option for the following day.
- Egg whites can be frozen. One egg white = 40 grams.
- Buy discounted over-ripe tomatoes to make tomato sauce for bolognaise or tomato soup
Here are some ways to use leftovers or “about to spoil” foods
Chicken and Broccoli Gratin
- 400g cooked chicken breast legs and thighs
- 400ml of homemade chicken stock
- 4 level tablespoons of flour
- 225gm (1/2 pound) of butter - half of which for the breadcrumbs
- 1 head of broccoli (that is going a little off colour)
- ½ sliced pan of stale bread for breadcrumbs using a food processor.
- 250ml (1/2 pint) of double cream
- Salt and pepper
- Pre heat the oven to 180c.
- Remove the meat from the chicken carcass. Chop up into bite size pieces and set aside.
- Place the carcass into a pot of cold water. Chop 1 onion with skins and any root veg such as carrot and celery that may be wilting in the fridge. Add salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for an hour if possible. Take off the heat and strain. Alternatively make a stock using a chicken stock cube and refrigerate the cooking stock. It will last at least 5 days in the fridge.
- Melt the butter, add the flour. Cook until it turns a little brown (2 to 3mins), whisk in the hot stock and cream.
- Cut up the broccoli into small pieces. Add with the chicken to the cooking liquid and stir.
- Place in an ovenproof dish. Melt the butter in a pot, add the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the mixture.
- Bake in an oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbling.
This can also be topped with leftover potatoes as you would do with a shepherd’s pie. Just brush the top with a beaten egg. This adds a lovely glaze.
Simple Tomato Sauce:
This is a base for bolognaise sauce or lasagne. It also works as a tomato base for homemade pizza.
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- ½ onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 stick of celery, trimmed and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 400g of chopped fresh tomatoes, even ones that are over-ripe and starting to spoil
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place saucepan on a medium heat and add the olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add in the onion, garlic, celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook, covered on a low heat, for 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the bay leaf with the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and sugar, and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 mins.
- When cooked, the sauce will have thickened and the tomatoes softened completely. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. The sauce can be liquidised if you prefer a smoother consistency.