It’s *that* time of the year again – and with the festivities come plenty of dinner parties and other events.
How to reduce food waste this Christmas is, at the same time, a concern many of us share. With prices as high as they are, that’s no surprise – but of course, that’s not all.
I don’t know about you, but wasting food always makes me feel bad. Especially meat, but even vegetables – it’s just entirely avoidable, so shouldn’t we do our best to use it all?
According to research from appliance manufacturer Liebherr, UK households are throwing away £4.3 billion worth of uneaten food per year. That’s a lot of money you can save, and a lot of produce you can salvage. To break it down more individually, a fifth of Brits admitted to throwing away 40 food items every month on average.
How to reduce food waste this Christmas
With the festive period coming up, around 45% of UK households will spend more than £100 on their Christmas food shop, according to Liebherr.
So how can you make sure that you reduce food waste to as little as possible?
The top reason for food waste, maybe unsurprisingly, is buying too much in the first place. We’ve all been there.
Luckily, this one is easy to fix. Make a detailed list of everything you need, and try to estimate how much of each. A simple Google search can help with quantities, especially for things like cheese and meat, which in turn helps you reduce food waste.
Also look at what you leave on the side of your plate most often, or if there’s something you know you’re more likely to throw out. Apparently the humble Brussels sprout is the Christmas essential people waste the most.
But there’s more
Another way to help you reduce food waste is looking at your storage – and, crucially, how long things keep for. Did you know, for example, that a correctly stored carrot stays fresh for up to 40 days?
They might go a little wrinkly at some point, but that’s nothing a quick peel can’t fix. Apples keep for up to 40 days, too, while a lettuce will only last two in standard refrigeration. With meat, of course, you need to be more careful – it’s best to buy it as closely to the date as possible and to always keep by the ‘use by’ dates.
But it might also be time to look at how you store your fresh produce.
The latest fridges come with a lot of improvements that can help you reduce food waste. Air circulation systems make sure you have the ideal temperature throughout, while a crisper drawer keeps fruit and vegetables fresh.
Some appliances even have a specific compartment for meat and fish, which also helps with food safety. Because you should always keep them apart from fruit and vegetables, especially if they don’t have a cover.
If you are in the market for a new fridge, make sure to look out for these features.
In fact, let’s talk about dates for a second.
There are two different options.
Some produce will carry a ‘best before’ date. This covers the timeframe at which a food will be at its best. It’s still safe to eat afterwards, it might just not be quite as good as it could have been. Still, there’s no danger to keeping it a little longer – another easy way to reduce food waste.
A ‘use by’ date, on the other hand, is about food safety and you should keep to it. Unlike the best before date, it’s not a recommendation but more of a hard limit.
Some supermarkets have removed best before dates from fresh fruit and vegetables, to help us all reduce food waste –because a lot of them do keep much longer than the best before date.
Is there anything else I can do to reduce food waste?
I’d say there always is. The easiest solution, in my opinion, is to keep your storage tidy. This way, you have an easy overview over what you have and what you need, plus you’re less likely to let things get out of date.
Of course we’re all busy, so sometimes life gets in the way. However, make an effort to give especially your fridge a big tidy before doing your Christmas shop. It really does make a difference.
And finally, of course, there’s always the option of loading up any guests with leftovers. It’ll reduce any food waste, but it also means everyone will have to cook less – it’s a win-win situation, in my book.
Featured image: iStock.com / thesomegirl.
So, did you find this feature helpful? Then read about how to create a more eco-friendly kitchen.