HOW TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE AT HOME
Did you know only 25% of potatoes produced end up on our plate? 75% are actually lost throughout the food journey. And 4.4 million potatoes go to waste in UK home every. single. day. It’s crazy, right?
You might ask why we’re hitting you with a lot of potato-based facts. Well, 1-7 March is Food Waste Action Week, and we’re committed to not only reducing our food waste in the restaurant, but also to help you at home. And that starts with knowledge. Not only are we pretty rubbish when it comes to wasting potatoes, but we throw away the equivalent of 3.1 million glasses of milk and 20 million slices of bread every day in the UK.
For our part, we’ll be signing up to WRAP’s Guardians of Grub programme – starting by measuring our food waste, and then putting an action plan into play.
If you want to take up the challenge of reducing your food waste at home, Executive Chef Steve Wilson and Food & Beverage Lead Anna Myslinska have given us some of their top tips. Plus, you can share your own tips on social media and win some pretty great prizes – take up the Love Food Hate Waste challenge here.
Steve’s top tips to reduce food waste in the kitchen
– Avoid buying too much at the supermarket – always make a shopping list as my mum says. Plan your meals and write down what you need – don’t be tempted by nice packaging on readymade meals or buy one get one free deals.
– Never shop on an empty stomach – you would be surprised what you can come back with. If you combine this with not having a shopping list, well, you’ll not only have a lot of food waste, but you’ll have a blow a big hole in your bank balance!
– Use local produce – try getting your vegetable from a farmers market, as they last two to three times longer than your average supermarket product.
– Store food like a chef: first in, first out. FIFO it is the first rule in organising a kitchen fridge and pantry. Place newly purchased items behind the old items and you’ll cut down on your spoilage drastically.
– Keep your fridge tidy – if you overload your fridge, your fridge temperature might not be correct. Invest in a small fridge thermometer that hangs on your shelf – this should always read between 2-5°C. Make sure you store raw food below cooked food, and ensure any leftovers are in sealed containers.
– Think twice before throw anything away – just because it’s one day past its best before date, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Best before dates can be misleading, so if a product looks (and smells) fine, often it will be fine to eat. If your greens are starting to wilt a little, they can make great soups, along with things like over-ripe tomatoes. Do some research on the difference between use-by and best before dates – up to 20% of food waste just comes from confusion of the dates.
– Freeze leftovers or make food in batches for use later. Most foods are fine to freeze for up to a month.
– You can also turn leftovers in snacks or lunches – jazz them up with a few condiments or fresh herbs. Just make sure you use leftovers stored in the fridge within two to three days.
– Try your hand at pickling and preserving – you’ll reduce your food waste, learn something new and get a delicious snack out of it. Turn old apples into apple purée and turn cucumbers into pickles.
– Use meat bones and vegetable scraps for stock and broths – don’t throw them out.
– Get green fingered about make some garden compost – spent coffee grounds and egg shells are particularly good.
– Start all of this buy just recording your food waste, write it down – over a month you’ll be shocked what you threw out and how much money you’ve wasted. The average person wastes around £200 per year where a family with children can waste an average of £700 – that’s a lot of money!
Anna’s top tips to reduce food waste behind the bar
– Finished that bottle of red? Try turning it into a candle holder – there’s plenty of tutorials online and you can even buy kits with all the things you’ll need to make a great gift.
– You can refrigerate used tea bags and use then as cold compress for puffy eyes – just keep them on for about 15 minutes, and the caffeine will do its work.
– Make an organic peel mask from spent coffee grounds, honey and yoghurt:
Take two tsp of spent coffee ground (or one dose of used espresso if you have a machine), 1 tsp honey and 60g of full fat or coconut yoghurt).
Mix together and leave on for 20 minutes and then gently wash off with warm water.
– Try making your very own cordial – any citrus fruits will work well here, although we love doing this with lemons that are starting to go past their best.
Peel 3-4 lemons (depending on their size), then cover with 100g sugar (or a little more if you prefer your cordial sweeter).
Squeeze out the juice (you’re looking for about 140ml) and add this to the sugar-covered lemon peel. Mix well and leave in the fridge overnight.
Strain out the lemon peels and keep in the fridge a clean bottle or airtight cleaner for up to two weeks.