in New Zealand, the average family wastes around 86kg of edible food per year, adding up to hundreds of dollars! By planning your meals and using leftovers creatively, you can avoid buying more food than you need and make the most of the ingredients you have on hand!
1. PLAN YOUR FOOD SHOP
It might seem like common sense, but one of the most effective ways to reduce food waste is to buy only what you need. And the simplest way to achieve that is by crafting a shopping list. By planning ahead, you can save both money and precious groceries for yourself and your family.
2. GET FAMILIAR WITH FOOD STORAGE
Did you know that proper food storage can play a significant role in reducing food waste? By storing your food correctly, you can extend its freshness and prevent unnecessary spoilage.
Tips to help food last longer in the fridge:
- Apples can last up to 8 weeks when stored in the fridge.
- Eggs should be refrigerated, especially in warm weather, to prevent them from spoiling quickly.
- Keep bread in the fridge or freezer to prevent mold growth. Take out a few slices as needed.
- Wrap open cheese to prevent it from hardening. Beeswax wraps or plastic containers work well.
- Check your fridge temperature, aiming for around 4 degrees Celsius. Many fridges run too warm, causing food to spoil faster.
Avoid storing certain foods together
Often, we just put all our fruit and veg all in one bowl, basket or cupboard, but this isn’t the best thing to do for longevity.
Make sure you keep your bananas separate from other fruits and vegetables. Bananas emit gases that make nearby fruits ripen faster. You can even use this to your advantage by placing a too-hard avocado under a banana to ripen it quickly!
Don’t store onions and potatoes together. Onions emit gases like bananas, causing potatoes to sprout sooner. Keep onions away from potatoes to prolong their freshness.
Make the most of your freezer
Your freezer is a valuable tool in preserving food and ensuring it doesn’t end up in the bin! Here are some handy hacks to make the most of your freezer:
- You can freeze milk too! If you’re going away for the weekend and you’ve got half a bottle of milk you can freeze it, don’t throw it away! Then, once you’re home again you can just get it out to thaw and the milk is just as good as it was before you froze it.
- Frozen vegetables are fantastic, equally as good for you as the fresh ones, and sometimes better because they’re picked and frozen quickly that preserves all the nutrients.
- Save your leftover cooked meals in airtight containers and store them in the fridge. Whenever you’re short on time or need a quick meal, simply reheat them for a delicious and convenient dining experience, while ensuring no food goes to waste!
3. LEARN TO REINVENT LEFTOVERS
Many people are hesitant to eat leftovers, but they’re actually a great way to reduce food waste and save money on groceries.
The key to using leftovers is to be creative and experiment with different flavour combinations. By doing so, you can save money on groceries and reduce food waste created at home.
What To Do With Commonly Wasted Food Items
Certain food items tend to be wasted more often than others. By knowing how to utilize these commonly wasted foods, you can reduce waste and stretch your budget further:
- Stale Bread: Instead of throwing away stale bread, repurpose it into breadcrumbs for breading or use it to make delicious homemade croutons.,
- Overripe Bananas: Overripe bananas are perfect for baking. Mash them up and use them in bread, muffins, or pancakes for added natural sweetness.
- Vegetable Scraps: Save vegetable scraps like carrot tops, onion peels, and celery leaves to make a flavourful homemade vegetable broth. Freeze the scraps until you have enough to create a rich and nutritious base for soups and stews.
- Wilted Herbs: If you have leftover fresh herbs, chop them up and freeze them in ice cube trays with a little water or oil. This way, you can easily add herbs to your recipes in the future.
3. SHOP YOUR FRIDGE FIRST!
It might seem like common sense, but one of the most effective ways to reduce food waste is to buy only what you need.
- Check what ingredients you already have and plan ahead. Making a shopping list is not only easy but can help you avoid doubling up on ingredients you already have.
- It’s common to feel intimidated in the kitchen by forgotten food or leftover ingredients. However, there is always a use for everything! If you’re not sure how to use up your forgotten food, try out Savey Meal Maker, our easy-to-use recipe generator that gives leftovers a new life.