I understand that it can be difficult to avoid sometimes. We all have busy lives, unexpected things getting in the way of what you intended to cook that night and of course the dreaded ‘best buy’ dates on any packaging all mean that food waste is on the increase.
It doesn’t have to be like that though, there are simple strategies that help prevent a sizable chunk of your income ending up in the trash and can save you time as well. Here are a few of the things that have worked for me. A few adjustments to suit their circumstances have seen them working for many of my family and friends as well.
- If you serve directly onto plates serve up medium sized portions and leave the rest in a bowl for people to have seconds. Doing this means that untouched food can be rehashed as a different meal on another day. There is little point piling peoples plates with food and then throwing it away.
- Batch cooking gets the best from any cut of meat that is too big for one meal. A joint of beef can be turned into home cooked ready meals once the roast lunch is over. If there’s enough for another roast freeze meat in sauce or gravy to prevent it drying out and add veggies for an ‘instant roast’ another day.
- Bulk buy ground/minced beef. Many recipes using minced beef are the same base with different herbs and/or spices added. For example, cottage pie, spaghetti Bolognese and chili con carne. Cook up the beef, onions, peppers and mushrooms and then add the required flavours to each dish. Freeze the spare meals and just add fresh pasta or rice as required.
- Avoid special offers that will end up going off before you eat them. Buying 10 corn cobs on buy one get one free is pointless if you are not going to eat them. However…
- Going for special offers that can be cooked and frozen will free up time and save you money.
- Think soup. Leftovers can often be made into a tasty soup, a chunk of crusty bread on the side and you have a hearty, healthy lunch or light evening meal. Soup freezes very well.
- Fresh herbs that are going to end up wasted can be chopped and put into ice cube trays, topped up with water and frozen. Ideal to pop into stews and casseroles at a later date.
These are just a few ideas for cutting down on food waste. Eating for free, from things that would have been wasted seems a logical thing to do, especially when cash and time are both in short supply.