Food waste is a huge issue in the UK for all sorts of reasons. There are many environmental and social benefits to tackling this problem and as an added bonus, dealing with food waste can also help to save money. What is the point in buying food (or even growing it), just to let it go to waste? With that in mind, here at Kitchen Warehouse, we have outlined several tips on cutting food waste in your kitchen.
Track the Food You Buy
What is inside your kitchen units, fridge and freezer right now? If you do not know or you can not find out in less than 5 minutes by a quick look at an inventory, then the chances are you are wasting food by not managing it properly. There are actually now smartphone apps for food management, so you can always know what you already have at home, so that when you are doing your shopping you do not find yourself buying items and food that you do not need and is therefore likely to go to waste.
Store Food Properly
Many food items need to be treated differently when the original packaging is opened. Actually, follow the instructions on the packaging.
While best-before dates can often be taken with a bit of a pinch of salt, there can be a big difference between using up something a day after the packaging says you should and using it up a month or a year later. Consider dedicating a section of your kitchen to items which need to be used up quickly. Good inventory management should help with this too and having organised units and drawers can contribute massively in this area.
Preserve Fresh Food
There are all sorts of ways of preserving fresh foods, some healthier than others. Jam, for example, is one way of preserving fruit but jam with a long shelf life has a lot of sugar in it, which is not exactly healthy. There are also chutneys and pickles for vegetables. These can be healthier but can also change the taste considerably, which is not to everyone’s liking. Drying food is often a much healthier choice, which also largely preserves the original taste. In the old days drying meant using the sun (not always feasible in the UK) and then later using an oven. These days, however, a food dehydrator can make the job quicker and simpler. Ignore any marketing spiel which tries to convince you that sun-dried is better than any other form of dried. Tomatoes dried in a food dehydrator taste every bit as good as the sun-dried sort – they are just cheaper.
The same goes for any other type of food, including meat. If you like jerky, then a food dehydrator will let you make it at home so you can have it however you want whenever you want. In addition to this, a food dehydrator can be used for many other purposes. For example, instead of having a separate yoghurt-maker taking up space, you can make your food dehydrator do double-duty. A food dehydrator is also a great buy for anyone who is into the outdoor life, such as walkers and campers as dried food is easy to carry as well as to store.
Walk Past Multi-Buys
Multi-buys are only a good deal if you are actually going to use the product within its shelf life. Using it includes preserving it for later use, but even so, there is a limit to the amount of food any person can reasonably use before it goes off. As a rule of thumb, if you really like a particular food item and you are sure you are happy to use it up in time, then multi-buys can be a good deal, but if you are not all that keen on it and are really only buying it because it is on offer, then you would probably be better to keep walking.
You do not need to plan out your meals to the last fork-full, but it is often easier to make sure that you buy what you need, and only what you need if you have at least some idea of what you will be cooking over the coming days and even weeks.
Do Not Shop on an Empty Stomach
If you have food on your mind, you are more likely to fill up your trolley with food regardless of whether or not you actually need or even really want it.
We are huge advocates of preventing wastage and ecological solutions and find food waste hard to swallow. We hope that these tips will help you keep tabs on your kitchen and ensure that it not just looks great, but also has a low ecological footprint.