How we (Stuart and I) minimise our food waste...Apr 28, 2021
Are you passionate about preventing food waste?
Today - April 28th is Stop Food Waste Day. ‘Food Waste’ has had a surge in awareness over the last year or so and with good reason.
I am personally very interested in the subject of food waste. Long before the subject became so important for climate change and I became more interested in the subject of sustainability, I have always been good at not wasting food. This is for several reasons:
- It was drilled into me from very young to never throw food away.
- I am thrifty (tight) by nature.
- I hate waste of any kind.
- I like experimenting and I love a challenge.
I will never forget the horror I felt one day while visiting a friend's house where at the end of a meal of a beautiful homemade lasagna, what was left over was put in the bin. I actually could not believe what I saw as this would never have happened at home. It was such a shock and I can still remember it very clearly.
Even now this would shock me, and yet some people still do waste food willy nilly. I guess it is largely how you are brought up. But even if it is part of your normal behaviour, things have to change, and fast.
Food waste occurs at all four stages of the food supply chain – producers, processors, retailers, and consumers.
So of course it is not just us as individuals that can sort this problem out but like everything else, we as consumers have to do our bit and at the same time put pressure on the larger players if we can.
Have a look at these statistics:
of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year...
of root crops, fruit and vegetables produced globally is lost or wasted per year...
is the annual cost of food wasted by the average American family...
of the food wasted globally could feed all 795 million undernourished people in the world...
of all greenhouse gas emissions each year are due to food loss and waste.
Here are some of the ways that we (Stuart and I) minimise our food waste - some of these will seem bonkers to certain people but...
- If I make a meal/bake something and it does not turn out like I expected it to I think about how I can 'rehash' it into something else. Most of the time this is successful, occasionally it is not. As I am able to 'think outside the square' when making a meal (or in other words, a recipe is just a loose guide to me) I am usually able to pull it off.
- By not being rigid when following recipes I can incorporate what I have left over and needs to be used rather than buy more ingredients. So if a recipe calls for a certain type of cheese say, and I only have another type of cheese that needs to be used up, I would use it to avoid waste.
- I make soup out of any vegetables that are kicking around and need to be used up.
- I used my rationale when it comes to 'use by' dates for certain foodstuffs. As an extreme example, a family member was about to throw out some 'matured for 5 years' cheese because it had just gone over its three-month 'use-by' date. I rescued it on the way to the bin - if something takes five years to mature surely it does not suddenly go off three months later.
- We often have Budda Bowl-style meals that are made up of small amounts of different left overs. Many foods actually taste better next day.
- We freeze left overs if necessary.
- We batch freeze many of our meals. First, we make a large batch using a slow cooker (usually) and then divide into portions and freeze it. This is a more efficient way of cooking in terms of entry use (all round) and it reduces waste as larger amounts of ingredients are used up at a time, and as I said, we never stick rigidly to a recipe anyway (if we are even using one) so what is available is what we use.
- I regularly check the contents of my fridge/cupboards to see if there are items that need to be used up. If they are cupboard items I leave them out where I will keep seeing them to remind me to find a way of using them.
- Currently, we do not have a garden but if we did I would compost or better still use composting worms to deal with vegetable peelings, etc.
Read this article on The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website for more ideas about how to become a food hero - 15 quick tips for reducing food waste and becoming a food hero
Also you could have a look at this article: Converting your food waste into energy
Let me know by email ([email protected]) if you have any innovative ways of reducing your food waste.
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