Food waste is a hot topic at the moment and one we’re all trying to do something about. While part of the problem is that we all tend to buy too much food and let it languish at the back of the fridge forgotten, there are some other factors that contribute to the tidal wave of groceries going into landfill.
Another issue is there’s certain myths we all believe to be true that are making us waste food. Some of them are revealed below:
Best before dates aren’t carved in stone
Do you look at the best before date and immediately chuck food in the bin if it’s already passed? Well, best befores are more about the quality of a product than the safety of it, so you can happily eat it after this date. Over time, the flavour and texture might start to go downhill, but if it’s just a couple of days you probably won’t notice any difference at all.
In fact, one of the big supermarket chains announced they’d be scrapping best before dates on their fruit and veg last year. They found it was leading to food waste, so we suggest you do the same!
You can reheat rice
Everyone knows you can’t reheat rice. Or can you? The truth is it’s not the reheating that’s the problem, but the way it’s stored before it’s warmed up again. If you go to drain your rice and instantly realise you’ve cooked far too much, this is what you should do:
- Cool the leftover rice as soon as possible – preferably within an hour.
- Keep it in the fridge in an airtight Masterseal container.
- Reheat the rice and eat it the next day.
- Make sure that it’s piping hot to kill off any baddies and you’ll be fine.
- Never reheat rice more than once, as that really is pushing your luck.
Ugly veg is still delicious and nutritious
That wonky carrot probably won’t be winning any beauty contests anytime soon, but it’ll still taste great in a curry or a stew. We’ve all become too fussy about what our veg looks like in recent years and that’s mainly down to what we’re used to seeing for sale.
This can mean that the misshapen potato at the bottom of the bag goes get neglected and goes into landfill. Teach your kids that it’s what’s on the inside that counts and they shouldn’t be put off by a few nobbly bits, because when they come out of the ActiFry, that funny looking potato still makes great chips.
You don’t need the exact ingredients for that recipe
Ever looked down at your shopping list when you’re making a special dinner to see that it’s longer than your arm? Half of those ingredients are bound to end up getting chucked out, because you’ll use a quarter of the bag and leave the rest in the cupboard forgotten.
Check the recipe and substitute similar ingredients for things you’ve already got. For example, you can use plain yoghurt instead of buttermilk; garlic powder and salt to replace trendy garlic salt; and peanuts are a good alternative to cashews.
Some leftovers can safely be fed to animals
Don’t just think about the people who live in your house when considering food waste, but the animal inhabitants too. Meat, brown rice and veggies will all be appreciated by your dog. Birds can enjoy stale bread and the fat cut off bacon.
Not only will this stop these leftovers from going in the bin, it also helps to reduce the resources required to make food for animals. Get clued up on what you shouldn’t feed your pets – like chocolate, salty food and bones – so you can be confident about which leftovers to give them.