Monday, 10 February 2014

10 tips to reduce waste when cooking

One of the main concerns of every parent involves leaving a better world for their children. With this in mind, consider the following data: according to The Guardian, UK households are wasting 4.2 tonnes of food every year. The average British family throws away the equivalent of 24 meals every month, and 60 per cent of the food that is wasted could have been eaten. Food waste has a major social and environmental impact, so every household should have a strategy in place to reduce the amount of waste produced in the kitchen. Below you will find some useful tips.

What's in your freezer? Is your freezer only being used to store frozen veggies or meat? Bread is the UK's most wasted food, so by freezing it and taking only the slices you need you can significantly cut down on kitchen waste. Cooking herbs can be chopped and made into ice cubes, which will be handy when making soups or sauces.

Preserving and pickling

Making jams, preserves, or pickles can be turned into a fun family project. Moreover, having a supply of pickled or preserved fruits and vegetables will be useful in the winter months, when produce tends to be more expensive.

To peel or not to peel?

Peeling carrots, potatoes, or cucumbers is a habit in many households, but in doing so you are also removing a layer of beneficial nutrients, as well as increasing your kitchen waste.

Use airtight containers

Instead of leaving biscuits, crackers, or cereals in their original packaging, transfer them to airtight containers to preserve their freshness. The same goes for tins of tuna, tomato sauce, or canned vegetables.

Re-use, don't scrap

Are you putting seafood shells, chicken bones, or cheese rinds in the bin? Reduce your kitchen waste by using them to make tasty stocks. Even things like corn husks or apple cores can be used for this purpose. Also, don't be too quick to scrap vegetable trimmings like broccoli stems or beet greens, as they are incredibly nutritious and can easily be stir fried.

Don't shop on impulse

Supermarkets often slash down the prices of certain food items in the late evening. While it is tempting to fill your cart with these bargains, make sure you only buy what you need, especially when it comes to fresh produce, which can go bad quickly. Nearly 20 per cent of all food waste consists of fresh vegetables and salad, so bear that in mind.


Composting gets a bad press: we've all heard people say it smells or attracts pests, but these are just myths. Compost bins can be bought for under £10, and they are a fantastic way of reducing cooked and uncooked food waste. They can also come in handy if you live in a fortnightly waste collection area.


'First In First Out' is a basic food safety principle used in facilities that serve or store food. Make a point of moving the oldest food items to the front of the fridge every time you get fresh groceries, so that you will not run again into the all-too-common situation of finding mouldy food in the back of the refrigerator.

Do you need that kitchen roll?

Because they are so convenient, paper towels are used constantly in the kitchen (guilty as charged as you can see!). The downside is that they end up in landfills along with tonnes of other types of paper waste. Kitchen roll can be replaced by sponges or microfibre cloths when it comes to cleaning and wiping surfaces. If you must use paper towels, buy those made of recycled paper and put them in your compost bin.

Use a pressure cooker

Reducing kitchen waste also involves cutting down on the amount of energy used when cooking. This is particularly wise given the recent increase in the cost of energy. Pressure cookers reduce cooking time by a third, so using them to cook, rice, beans, potatoes, and meat or anything else you can think of could help you save over a considerable amount in electricity prices.

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