On the 8th May a report was released highlighting that as a nation, on average we throw away 6.7 million tonnes of food every year, roughly a third of everything we buy which in turn equates to around £460 per household. I find this an incredibly frightening statistic. Over the last few months, with the ever increasing food bills I have been looking seriously at the amount of food we throw away (which thankfully, for my own conscience, has never been as much as a 1/3). I genuinely feel guilty when I throw away food.
The more experienced I’m getting with cooking the better I’m getting at planning a week of meals with minimal waste, plus rustling up a tasty meal from more or less nothing. The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign has published some great tips on how to cut down on food bills and waste.
1) Have a well-stocked cupboard/fridge with good quality essentials like rice, pasta, flour, sugar, eggs, milk, bread, tinned tomatoes, dried lentils, cous cous, tinned beans, dried herbs, salami/chorizo, cheese, butter, tomato puree. It’s amazing what meals can be knocked up with seemingly basic ingredients.
2) As much as possible try and buy all meat, fruit and veg from the butcher/greengrocer. Not only is the quality usually far better than the supermarket, which in turn means it lasts longer, but you can buy exactly what you want. No more wasteful packaging.
3) Ignore “buy on get one free” offers unless it is an item that will be eaten in the coming weeks and has a long shelf life
4) Cook from scratch. Not only is it cheaper and far healthier than ready-meals you can make things with the left overs. In our house left over veg and sometimes meat is often made into soup, but who has heard of leftover ready-meal soup…ummm that’s not even worth thinking about!
5) Cook once eat twice – A great deal of the meals I cook are for 3 or 4 people although there is only 2 of us in the house. These are usually called double dinners and are designed to do us for 2 evenings or appear in our lunchbox the next day.
6) Where possible buy in season. Food bought in season is not only tastier, but lasts longer.
7) Plan your meals weekly and make at least one of those meals veggie. Before writing the list check through cupboard, fridge or freezer to see if there is anything that needs to be used up. In our house Wednesday is usually the night saved for leftovers.
I have quite a few favourite leftover recipes that I come back to time and time again.
Cauliflower Cheese and Bacon pie
Courgette & Feta Fritters
Mushroom & Spinach Pancake Bake
Bread & Butter Pudding
Queen of Puddings
For more recipes have a look at the Love Food, Hate Waste website where there is great ideas.