Tips for Reducing Food Waste

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a croissant
 signs falling into a bin
a lettuce

We prepare too much food so:

  • Get to know your families appetites and measure out portions
    • e.g. about 70g/person rice, about half a mug for two people - find a cup the right size
    • or 100g/person pasta - for spaghetti that is a bunch the size of a 20p coin
    • If you're not sure try the Love Food Hate Waste portion calculator
  • Use leftovers for lunch
  • Cook batches and freeze in portion units

We throw food out that has not been used because it is now too old so:

  • Ignore sell-by and display-until dates - the only one that matters is the use-by date
  • Plan your meals and make a shopping list so you don't buy stuff you have no use for
  • Check what you have in the fridge/freezer already so you don't buy more if you already have some
  • Store fruit in the fridge and only put a few items in the fruit bowl at a time
  • Check your fridge temperature - you can buy thermometers for just a pound or two - it should be less than 5C but often you will find it is higher
  • Use soft tomatoes or wrinkly peppers in a cooked dish such as roasted or in a soup or sauce
  • Refresh tired lettuce by stripping off the outer leaves and wrapping the rest in a damp tea towel in the fridge for a few hours
  • Wrinkly old vegetables can make a tasty vegetable stock

And here are some storage tips:

  • Did you know ground spices will keep for 2-3 years in an airtight container in the dark? Whole spices can be kept even longer
  • Keep potatoes in a cool (but not frosty) place in a paper sack so they can breath and in the dark. Warmth encourages sprouting and light triggers reactions which generate toxic chemicals - luckily we can tell if this has happened as there will be a green tinge on part of the potato's skin.
  • Store broccoli or courgettes in the fridge but upright with the stalk in a dish with a smidgeon of water - cut off the scarred end like a flower stalk first.
  • Here is a guide to how long you can store stuff in the freezer safely

Ideas and recipes for leftovers

Some more ideas that you have given us:

  • Share special offers with friends and family
  • Use a vacuum packer so you can get more in the freezer
  • Keep small food containers for storing leftovers
  • Freeze food in manageable portions so you don't have to defrost more than you need at a time
  • When you open a jar write the date on the label so you know how long you can keep it
  • Feed your leftover vegetable peelings to chickens (your own or a friend's)
  • Use leftover bread for bread and butter pudding, or bread pudding, or even toast.
  • Use stale milk to make scones or bread
  • Slice and freeze part used lemons and oranges for drinks
  • Use leftover vegetables to make soup (even the outside of lettuce leaves)

Also there is loads of advice to help you on other website. Here are some useful links.

By the way, when you do throw away food, do remember that in Cambridge City all food waste can go in the green bin - including meat and fried food. Composting is better than landfill: though the energy that has gone into preparing and transporting the food is not recovered, at least the nutrients can be recycled.

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