Tips to reduce food waste
At Barbury Hill we love food and we hate to waste it. With Food Waste Action Week (7 – 13 March) highlighting the huge, but largely avoidable, environmental issue caused by wasting food, we’ve been reminded that much of the problem is created in our own homes.
What’s the extent of the issue? We were surprised to learn that the average UK family wastes up to seven meals a week. And when that food waste ends up in landfill, it creates greenhouse gasses that cost our planet dearly.
For a long time, there’s been a knowledge gap between food waste and the impact on the environment. Greenhouse gasses are at an all-time high and the current outlook is truly gloomy. But the good news is, this waste is avoidable and we can all take small steps to have a positive impact. Read on to discover Barbury Hill’s tips to reduce food waste.
By planning your meals and building your regular shop around those meals and portion sizes, you can be sure you’ll only buy what you’ll use. But before heading out to the shops, take a look in the kitchen cupboards to see what you already have that can be transformed into a mouth-watering meal.
Make food last longer
You’ll be surprised by what you can freeze. One of our favourite Instagram accounts, @thefullfreezer is constantly surprising us with tips to reduce food waste by making the most of the freezer. By freezing produce you know might not be used immediately, you can both save food and have handy portions available as and when you need them. But a surprising amount of frozen food is eventually thrown in the bin, so carefully managing what you have in your freezer and fridge will make a big difference.
When you get your food home be sure to read the packaging to make sure you’re storing it in a way that will maximise its freshness. Knowing the most suitable storage for your food will make a big difference. For example, potatoes, tomatoes and onions all dislike the fridge and keep for longer at room temperature. Other items like to be kept in cool, dark spots so taking a bit of time to find the best place for your food will reduce food waste later down the line.
Best Before – keep eating
Best before dates are just that, ‘best quality before’, so food can safely be consumed after the best before date. It’s simply a recommendation by the producer that the item will be fine to eat, but they can’t guarantee that the texture or taste will be at peak perfection. But that just means it might not be at its best. Use-by dates are different and it’s not recommended to exceed these food safety recommendations.
Get creative with leftovers
Potato peel crisps, everything-in breakfast burrito, fridge raid soup, a smoothie; there are endless options for using up bits and bobs in the fridge that turn leftovers into interesting lunches. Soups and stews are brilliant for using up vegetables with store cupboard essentials, while batch cooking a ‘soffritto’ is an ideal way to use up wobbly carrots and celery. It also freezes well so popping a few portions in the freezer means you can speed up the prep for a range of dishes.
Avoid special offers
Buy one get one free, buy three and save 15%. We know they’re tempting, but do you need more? It takes willpower to stride past those colourful signs and stickers but once you’ve planned your meals we’d recommend sticking to it and speeding past the offers!
Finally, is your fridge cold enough? Recent research has shown many of us are missing a trick here. Use a thermostat to ensure your fridge is cold enough and is working to keep your food fresher for longer. It’s a simple but effective step to take.
Know the producer
Buying from producers that minimise food waste will help combat the issue long before food (or drink) reaches your kitchen. For example, Penrhos Spirits make their gins out of wonky fruit grown on the family farm in Herefordshire. Ugly fruit might be too imperfect for the supermarket shelves but in this case they’re perfect for these award-winning spirits.
We hope that these food waste tips have been useful. We’ll continue to update the article where we can, so please contact us if you have handy suggestions that will help us all to play a positive role in reducing food waste and our impact on our environment.