6 Ways To Make Your Food Last Longer
28 April 2016
Now more than ever, food waste is a topic that everyone's hearing about. In this country, there's been some significant moves to stop and reduce waste within business, which is definitely something to be proud of, and with new laws around food waste springing up across the globe we can expect to hear more and more about it in the news. But, where does that leave us? The guys on the ground that go to work every day, that have to feed ourselves, our families, and all to often find ourselves in a position in which we struggle to make our food last? I had a look at the advice from a selection of experts and put together a list of top tips to make the food in our cupboards and fridges last longer. Here's the run-down.
Plan Your Meals
Well, it might be an obvious place to start, but this is probably one of the most important tasks you need to get nailed. We're all guilty of impulse shopping, or just not wanting to think about what we might have for dinner in 5 days time. But planning meals is a really positive thing. It means that when you’re shopping, you're only buying what you need to make those meals, which is a great way to stay on top of your food budget and reduce waste, which will help your food go much further.
Check Your Temperature
All too often our fridges don’t get the attention they deserve. Not that they really need a lot of attention, but they can’t do their job properly if they are a little too cold. If you’re anything like me, then knowing what temperature to keep your fridge at hasn’t been high on the agenda. But after a little research, it turns out it’s pretty big factor in extending the life of your refrigerated food. Different sources vary on the optimal temperature, so I'm drawing my conclusion after sifting through a respectable number of articles. The best temperature falls between 2°C and 4°C (35.6°F - 39.2°F). This means that your fridge won’t get so cold your sprouts start to freeze and also steers clear of the ‘danger zone’ - generally found to be between 4°C and 5°C (39.2°F - 41°C). So make sure when you get home you check your fridge temperature and make those veggies last longer.
Freeze it, like Han Solo
Ok, so this hasn’t got anything to do with Star Wars but still, you get the point. Freezing food whilst it’s fresh is THE best way to extend its lifespan, and so many foods can be happily frozen! Some dairy, and veg with a high water content like lettuce and cucumber is best kept away from the freezer, however pretty much anything else is good as long as its stored properly. Hard cheeses, eggs without their shells, bread and baked goods, pesto, pasta sauce, berries, veg, left-over portions of meals, soup, wine, milk and butter are all friends of your freezer. It’s not just for chips, burgers and ice cream, so make the most of that bad boy! Here's some extra tips on freezing food from the guys at BBC Good Food.
Make A Super Soup
It's a common problem - you have lots of veg sitting in your fridge that's past it's best for eating fresh or freezing - what should you do? The answer comes in the form of soup! It’s a great way to squeeze the last bit of life out of your greens, which will make your pockets that little bit deeper whilst reducing waste. Making a soup out of any vegetables that are hanging around will provide you with a few tasty and nutritious lunch time meals, and guess what… you can freeze soup once you've made it!
Don’t be Afraid
‘Sell by’ and ‘use by’ dates are set with a large degree of caution. I'm not saying you should ignore them, but they shouldn't be feared. If it smells good and looks good, it’s good. Now of course meat and dairy are a little risky and we should apply a bit of caution with that. But when it comes to bread, veg, fruit and other items accompanied by a use-by date, don’t assume it's actually useless after that date. If you get good at telling your bad apples apart from your good apples (so to speak), getting more out of your food will become a little easier and your wallet will feel a little happier.
Work From Top To Bottom
Last but not least - a bit of organisation. This one really applies if you're going away for a few days, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good habit to get into. Deplete your food from the fridge to the freezer - this is the best way to store food if you know you’re going away. After all, what’s the point in having a fridge full of food that will just get thrown out on your return? Not only is it a waste of food and money, it’s a pongy job and avoiding that is a victory in itself.
Enjoy! Those are my top tips for making your food go further. Try using them and tell us how you get on.
A couple of extra honourable mentions are taking note of your portion sizes, are you serving too much or too little? Keeping portions consistent will really help with reducing waste. Another tip is to keep fruit in the fridge to make it last a couple of extra days, however this isn't true for bananas so keep those in the fruit bowl!
Got some broccoli and potatoes hanging around? Here's a quick and tasty recipe to try.
We’d love to hear your own tips and tricks for making your food go further. Tweet us @nbrly.