Do you ever find yourself constantly throwing away food? Wondering how it manages to go to waste and what you could do to prevent it. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you make the most of your fresh produce.
A great place to start is planning your meals for the week before shopping for your fresh produce or if you’re planning your meals around our Seasonal Veg Boxes you can find out what will be included by checking the Box Contents page. Not only does planning meals reduce food waste it will also save money and time spent thinking about what to cook each day.
Following on from meal planning, another way to save time and reduce food waste is to batch cook. Make double the amount, eat one half that day and freeze the rest for another time. This is a really good way to have wholesome meals ready for lunch times or busy evenings when there’s no time to cook. All you have to do is de-frost and warm it up!
Making use of your freezer
Your freezer isn’t just for batch cooking and fish fingers! If you have any fresh produce that you haven’t used or know that you won’t use until later in the week or into the next week you can pop it in the freezer. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter can also be frozen so it's a great idea to split them down, keep some in the fridge and the rest in the freezer to use at another time. Freezing vegetables is super easy too, just make sure to blanch and shock them first - this is done by briefly boiling the vegetables and then plunging into ice cold water. Once the vegetables have been blanched and shocked they are best laid out on a tray in a single layer, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space for this they are fine in a freezer bag or container too.
If you would like to go that extra mile and use as much as you possibly can of your fresh produce, then here are a few ideas. Those potato and carrot peelings that would usually just go straight into the food waste? Why not make homemade veggie crisps with them, it’s a quick, easy and fun way to use up those extra bits. If you don’t fancy the homemade crisps maybe consider not peeling your veggies at all.
A popular way to use up meat is to make stock which can be frozen to use another time. Whole chickens are super easy to use up, a top tip, after your Sunday roast boil your chicken in a pan either on its own or with your choice of vegetables and herbs. When you remove the carcass from the pan the meat will drop off and your left with gorgeously tender chicken pieces and a lovely chicken stock, perfect for making a creamy chicken risotto for Monday night dinner.
Another super creative way of reducing veg waste is replating. This is a really fun way and can become quite addictive, its also a great activity to do with children as there’s really nothing better than planting and watching something grow. Here are some replanting tips:
Leek – don’t throw away the bottom ‘root’ section of the leek and place bottom down in a tumbler glass of water so the leek is just half covered. Once you see the roots start to grow it can then be transferred to soil.
Garlic – cut off the top of a plastic bottle and fill with water, rest a whole (slightly sprouting) garlic on top of the bottle and leave in a light space (a kitchen windowsill is perfect). One the roots have formed transfer to soil.
Bell Pepper – cut the pepper in half and knock the seeds into the bottom of the pepper. Fill the pepper with soil, water and plant in a pot.
Take note on how much food is left on plates after meal times and how much of that ends up in the food waste. If there is food left over more often than not, it may be worth serving smaller portion sizes or keep what’s left for lunches the next day.