Minimise food waste
If you can only get to the supermarket once every few weeks, but need to stock up to feed several mouths, it’s tempting to keep chucking things in the trolley, especially if they’re on offer, and sometimes we end up with more than we can eat. But with a little bit of planning and some sensible storage, it’s easy to make the most of that food, ensuring everything goes further and nothing gets thrown away.
So how can we make the most of what we buy and reduce food waste at home?
Planning ahead is the key to a successful shop. Only buy what you need. Foods like dried pasta, pulses and tinned goods will keep in the cupboard for a long time, but fresh produce only has a limited shelf life. Keep staples like flour fresh in special storage containers like the Lock & Lock Flour Box that’s been designed to hold a whole 1.5kg bag. And spaghetti is always a tricky one to store thanks to its shape, so keep it sealed in a special pasta container.
Planning recipes in advance and shopping for ingredients that work across several of your meals is a great way to keep everyone fed and keep food waste to a minimum. From the moment you bring fresh produce home it’s a challenge to keep it at its best, but there are lots of ways you can help keep your shop as fresh as the day it was bought.
The big freeze
- There are loads of foods that won’t spoil when they freeze, from the obvious like peas and beans to the more surprising like fruit, cooked potatoes and even some cheeses.
- Frozen fruits make great ingredients for blended smoothies.
- Try storing foods in food storage containers like our Stack-a-Boxes, or in our famous Freezeasy Bags – a Lakeland staple and one of the first products we became known for, they’re stronger than most storage bags out there to prevent freezer burn and keep contents at their best, and are available in loads of different sizes to suit your needs.
- However, don’t try to freeze foods with high water content like lettuce or cucumber – trust us, they’ll come out a soggy mess.
Give leftovers some love
- Don’t throw leftovers away – there’s usually something else you can do with them, from making soup to knocking together a bubble and squeak to turning them into tomorrow’s lunch.
- A portion of leftover rice can easily be transformed into delicious egg fried rice – and don’t worry, it’s OK to reheat rice as long as you make sure it’s piping hot before you tuck in; however, make sure you store rice in the fridge as soon as it cools down, and never keep it for longer than a day. If you just can’t find a way to use it the next day, you can freeze cooked rice – it will keep for several months in a plastic food container in which you can then simply zap it in the microwave once it’s defrosted.
- Leftover bread? Toast is the obvious option. Or you could throw it into this rich and comforting dessert favourite for a much more taste bud-tempting treat.
- Even cooked pasta can be reheated in the microwave – the trick is to add a dash of water, and don’t cook it for too long or it’ll turn mushy. Or freeze it in a foil food container and, hey presto, you’ve got an instant, home-cooked ready meal for another time.
- A few leftover morsels of chicken can add bags of flavour to a steaming bowl of ramen soup; and don’t chuck away that blob of mashed potato either – blended into a simple dough mixture, it’ll help to create a batch of soft and fluffy bread rolls.
It’s in the bag (or box)
- You can easily keep fruit, veg and salad fresher for longer by storing them in our Stayfresh Longer Bags – the magic ingredient in these time-defying bags is Japanese stone powder, which helps absorb the ethylene gases that most fresh foods release; the bags’ design also allows whatever’s inside to breathe, keeping the contents in optimum conditions.
- Our famous Banana Bag will keep the nation’s fave fruit fresh for up to 2 weeks when kept in the fridge, whilst Produce Savers are perfct for fresh salad leaves and berries.
- And don’t throw away that half lemon or half avocado either – Stretch Pods are here to look after it till you’re ready for another G&T or smashed avo on toast.
Suck it up
- For anyone who’s serious about food storage, consider investing in an electrical food saver. Working with special vacuum bags or boxes to suck out all the air, a food sealer like this can help keep just-bought food or leftovers fresh for up to five times longer than standard bags or storage containers. FoodSaver’s handheld version is good for up to 100 uses before it needs charging, and is dinky enough to store in the kitchen drawer where it will always be on hand.
More ways to avoid waste
- If you’re into juicing, don’t throw away that precious pulp. Many juicers and blenders will only prep the good stuff, leaving peel and pulp and pith behind. But it doesn’t have to be destined for the bin – there are loads of ways you can put fruit pulp to good use, and that’s often where the most nutritious bits are found as well. And if you’re not into juicing, why not consider taking it up – it’s great for the immune system, keeping you firing all cylinders, as well as for boosting general health, and you’ll find some tasty recipes on our blog.
- When it comes to fresh herbs, you inevitably don’t use the whole packet, but don’t throw them away – freezing them in olive oil means they’ll be perfect for the next recipe you need them for.
- And should you find that milk’s in short supply, freezing it in an ice cube tray or ice cube bags means you can then pop out one or two cubes at a time to pop into your brew – no waste, you don’t have to resort to long life or powdered and your cuppa will be at just the right temperature.
- If your eggs are about to go out of date, you can hard boil them and they’ll keep, in their shells, for up to a week in the fridge – you could even write on the shell the date you cooked them as a handy reminder – what a cracking idea.
- And did you know you can even freeze eggs? Just crack them and store them in a food container; simply defrost them overnight in the fridge when you’re ready to use them again.