Debbie Andrews is a Business, Economics and Finance student. In this week’s Student Blog she talks to us about sustainability and food waste:
Did you know that as a population we throw away 16% of all the food we buy. Of this over a third is fresh fruit and vegetables, including 4 million potatoes, 1.2 million tomatoes and 920,000 bananas ever day! Yes, every day!
The sudden scarcity of food stuffs in the supermarkets last March made me personally focus on making sure everything I was able to buy got ate.
In this blog, I am going to pass on some of my tips, that not only have reduced my food waste but have saved me money.
The first thing to do is plan. Supermarkets are very good at enticing us with, offers and strategically placing products around the store. The more often you shop for a few forgotten items, the more tempted you are to buy things you do not really need and may later throw away. Think ahead, what meals will you make for the next few days, what have you already got around you and make a list of what to buy and stick to it.
Once you have your food home the next challenge is to make sure it all gets eaten.
The first thing I do is make sure everything is stored correctly so it will last longer. I break up fresh meat into meal size proportions to go into the freezer. So, things like fish, chicken and fresh sausages are frozen individually. Discard the plastic tray, freeze them all individually by spacing them out on a tray or plate and then, once frozen, pop them in freezer bags. That way more food can fit in the freezer and does not go off in the fridge. Even mince can be broken down in this way, but I find it easier to leave this in the tray and divide it up with a small gap between each portion. Then use your plan to take a portion out of the freezer to defrost in the morning.
3. What about vegetables?
Another great tip is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables loose whenever you can. Supermarkets tend to batch them up into family size portions, which are too much for one person. However, if you do end up with vegetables that are passing their best, combine them with other ingredients and make them into your own ready meals. Bolognaises, chillies and curries are great for this idea. There are lots of recipes online to give you a start, that can be adapted. Make up a batch of your favourite, and either share it with friends or, again, freeze it in meal size portions. You could even develop your own speciality.
Another way to use up not only leftover vegetables, but other ingredients like tomatoes, ham, bacon, mushrooms and particularly potatoes is a making a frittata. Just remember to make sure your leftovers are cooked before you start. A frittata can be eaten hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch or tea. So is a real anytime leftover meal.
4. Sweet things
What about some sweeter items? Here, a whole load of leftover items can be combined to make lots of lovely treats. The last bits of cereal left in the bottom of the box can be combined with oats, bananas, apples, dried fruit, the peanut butter from the bottom of the jar and other ingredients to make great homemade flapjacks. No cereal? No problem. Make rocky road cakes instead, combining chocolate with the last of the biscuits out of the tin, some marshmallows and the dried fruit. And enjoy.
I hope this blog has inspired you to get creative with your leftovers. Lets stop throwing away those potatoes, tomatoes and bananas, eat them up and save ourselves some money at the same time. Happy cooking!