In the past year, throughout the COVID crisis, one activity seems to have become even more important than ever before – EATING! Food doesn’t just fill our bellies, it provides routine to our day, comforts us when times are tough and for many it has become one of the few luxuries we can still safely access at a time when everything else has been stripped away.
The Effort It Takes To Grow Food
Many villagers followed a national trend and ‘grew their own’ over the first lockdown and into the summer. The thrill and excitement of seeing tiny seedlings emerge and eventually, with a bit of luck, transforming into something edible – truly wonderful!
We got an insight into just how much care, time and attention it takes to grow something successfully. Commercial growers do this on a massive scale. Add on harvesting, transportation, processing, packaging and after that all the stages involved in selling produce to the consumer…our food goes on an immense journey to reach our plates.
4.5 Million Tonnes Wasted
It is somewhat surprising that here in the UK we waste so much food. Every year, an eye watering 4.5 million tonnes of edible food goes in the bin, just from households. Those 4.5 million tonnes are enough to fill 38 million wheelie bins, or 90 Royal Albert Halls. It’s the equivalent of each of us losing a bag of shopping each week. Ouch! It’s a lot, but we have the power to change this.
Six Tips To Reduce Your Food Waste
1. Check your fridge.
Is the temperature set at below 5 degrees? Quite simply, if your fridge is too warm, your food won’t last as long. If you’re not sure how to check – here’s a handy guide .
2. Plan ahead.
A weekly, fortnightly or even monthly meal plan will save you time, money and stress. Have a really good look in your fridge each week, check the dates, what do you need to use up first?
3. Perfect your portion size.
This is such an easy one but so many of us go large when we measure out foods like pasta, rice and potatoes. Of course, everyone is different but as a general rule it’s 75g (2 or 3 tbsp) per person for pasta and rice and about 3 egg sized pieces of potato. If you do have leftovers, eat them for lunch the next day!
4. Check the date & use your judgement.
For use by dates – it’s best to use it or freeze it by that date. For best before dates, you can absolutely use your judgement – look/smell/taste to determine whether it’s ok to eat. Supermarkets are starting to dispense with best before dates on some fresh produce – progress!
5. Use your freezer.
Almost all foods can be safely frozen, here are a few examples:-
- Bananas gone brown and overripe? Peel them and stick them in the freezer. They will takes great in a smoothie or baked in banana bread, when you have more time.
- Got a bag of spinach that’s about to go? Wilt it down and freeze it for when you need to add it to a dish.
- Cooked too much rice or veg? No problem, cool it down quickly, freeze it and defrost it when you next need some.
- Going away and not sure what to do with the last bit of milk in the fridge? Freeze it and enjoy it in your cup of tea when you get back.
Here’s a great A-Z of food storage tips.
6. Use a food sharing app.
For occasions when you have do have excess food and need to find a home for it, you might consider using a food sharing app such as Olio.
Olio connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away.
Watch out for Food Waste Action Week 1 – 7 March 2021. We will be supporting this and encourage our followers to do the same.
More Food Waste facts from Love Food Hate Waste
- The average family of four can save just over £60 per month by reducing their food waste. Every decision we make about how, what and when we eat can help to cut food waste.
- The carbon associated with the food we waste at home is equivalent to taking one in four cars off our roads in the UK
- A land area the equivalent size of Wales would need to be cleared to produce the food that is wasted in the UK. Globally this means deforestation and the destruction of whole ecosystems, as animal habitats are destroyed.
- If food waste were a country, it would be the third most polluting country on the planet. Changing weather patterns caused by climate change threaten food security and force people to flee their homes.
Global food waste generates 22 million tonnes of greenhouse gases – that’s four times more than all aeroplanes put together! If you want more advice on how to reduce food waste, check out the Love Food Hate Waste website – they even have a recipe finder for leftover food.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box.