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Preventing food waste in the warm weather

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A cool bag

With the weather finally warming up, it’s easy to forget that food can perish more quickly at home. Shockingly about 30% of all food produced globally goes to waste, and in the UK over 60% of this waste occurs at home. Here are a few ideas to keep on top of your food waste and make it last longer!

Wrinkly fruit and veg

So often fruit or veg can turn wrinkly or a bit soft and appear past its best. More often than not this just means it’s thirsty! Almost all root veg and citrus fruits will respond well to being left to sit in a bowl of water in the fridge to rejuvenate. For anything with a stalk, trim the end off and sit it in a glass or water and watch it drink up the liquid and rehydrate!

Sad salad

The best way to keep salad fresh is to remove any packaging and wash it as soon as you buy it. Then spin/drain it really well before returning to the fridge. However if you have got some wilted salad, provided it has not already gone bad you can use it in cooking for anything that doesn’t require it to be at its most crisp – it’s great to bulk out pestos, soups or smoothies.

Mouldy bread

Bread is one of the most commonly wasted foods in the UK, and is especially prone to mould if left for too long. The best thing you can do on the day you buy your loaf is to have a quick think about how much you’re likely to eat in the first couple of days. Leave that amount aside, and freeze the remainder immediately to retain its freshness. Bread freezes so well, and defrosts quickly if already sliced or made into breadcrumbs.

Herbs and spices

Fresh herbs spices can be stored really well as pickles, oils or in the freezer. Here are some top tips to prevent that last bit of ginger, leftover chili or half bunch of fresh herbs going to waste:

  • Herb butter: any soft herbs can be used to make delicious flavoured butters to add instant zing to your food. Use soft butter and finely chopped herbs, mix together well and freeze in small portions ready to pop straight into your cooking.
  • Flavoured oils: Chili and garlic oil are delicious ways to add flavour to your meals. Ensure they are washed and completely coated in oil to maximise longevity.
  • Curry/spice paste: The most efficient way to use fresh herbs and spices such as ginger, chili, garlic and coriander is to make up a big batch of curry paste and freeze it in ice cubes. Not only does this use them at their freshest, but also saves you the effort of making the paste from scratch every time you want a curry!

How cold is your fridge?

The ideal fridge temperature is between 0-5°C. Adjusting the temperature of your fridge could help to keep your food fresh for three days longer than usual! Aside from ensuring the settings are correct, in warmer weather it can make a big difference to ensure you let cooked food cool down before you refrigerate it, and take a cool bag with you when you visit the supermarket to keep any chilled food cold on the way home. This will prevent your fridge temperature fluctuating, not to mention reducing energy needed to keep it cool!