My ten step guide to reducing food wastage at home.

By Amy Crawford

How to reduce food wastage

I got a bit cross this week reading about the TONNES of mangoes that were tossed in Queensland* over summer, because they weren't perfect. I got cross reading about the rejected vegetables** that weren't even bloody wonky - 20 tonnes of slightly imperfect parsnips were tossed in the UK "because they didn't look pretty enough." As the article went on to say, they would've fed 100,000 people some mighty good roast parsnips!

It also says that one third of the UK's produce in a year is never eaten. My question to you: 

Would you purchase a carrot if it wasn't perfectly straight? Yes. Of course you would.

Has the world gone completely mad?

Whilst the issue here is very much around strict supermarket regulations and (ridiculous) cosmetic guidelines, we as consumers must and can take responsibility for reducing food wastage, and we can start by doing so within the confines of our own homes. 

Here's some interesting facts from OzHarvest about food wastage in Australia:

  • We throw out one in six shopping bags of food, that equates to $1036 in groceries each year
  • We produce enough food to feed approximately 60 million, yet two million rely on food relief each year
  • Nearly one million Aussie kids go without breakfast or dinner each day
  • Around 4 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill every single year

So this got me thinking about what I, no WE can do, as a very first step to help reduce food waste. It got me to thinking that there must be loads of us combined who would love to make a difference, starting right now. So I decided to start a list and with your help, I'd love for it to grow! 

That's all it takes, loads of us combined to create a ripple effect. Change one small thing and everything changes. 

My ten step guide to reducing food waste at home.

1. Give your perishables away. When you're off for your holidays, bag up your perishables and drop them off to a neighbour. I did this recently and my neighbours were SO appreciative. My bag included half a cucumber and lettuce and other bits and pieces, but they didn't care - they've a family of 4 to feed and it'll all get eaten.

2. Use up your perishables before you buy more. Find creative ways to use what's in your fridge or freezer before you head back to the shops.

3. Try and shop more frequently, if time allows, so that you are buying only for a few days at a time, therefore reducing perishable waste. As a tip, I use my afternoon/evening walk to pop into my local village and get what I need. It means that I rarely use my car and my walk always has a purpose (other than the obvious benefits of exercise of course). I'm also supporting local in the process and that always feels good.

4. Freeze produce. Last minute invites to dinners this week? Freeze produce that you know you're not going to get through. Chop up your broccoli, slice up your carrots. Whack them in zip lock bags and into the freezer. Fresh frozen veg are still full of nutrients.

"Wasting food is like stealing from the poor". Pope Francis

5. Repurpose your offcuts. Keep a bag or container in the freezer for all the veggie and herb offcuts you don't use whilst preparing. When it's time to make some soup, you've got chopped bits and pieces raring to go to make a stock.

5. Use it all! Further to the above point, you could just use it all. Chop up the broccoli stalks, don't peel your cucumber, don't remove the ends of your beans (why do we do that anyway - oh I know, because it looks pretty #itsacrazyworldwelivein). 

6. Start a backyard compost heap! And if you're a renter or apartment dweller, I just did a quick search and discovered this urban composter!

7. Create recipes that use the ingredients you have in your fridge or pantry most of the time. This is a big one for me. I create loads of recipes to suit all sorts of people however the downside is I now have a pantry full to the brim with stuff I don't use. My mission this year is to go through all of these jars and find ways to turn them into something edible for my specific diet requirements. Alternatively I'll make stuff to give away to friends and loved ones.

8. Eat left overs! In fact, go nuts with them! They are the very best kind. My green pizza omelette that you see below came about as a result of some leftover roast veg. As did my quinoa frittatas. If you can't bare the thought of eating the same food the next day, freeze them. Personally, I'm of the "could eat the same thing for lunch every day if it was ready to go camp". 

Reducing food wastage

9. Store stuff better in the fridge and freezer. Learn how to store stuff in the fridge so it lasts longer. Here's a good article to show you how.

10. Store stuff better full stop. Make sure you store food in airtight containers (better yet, store them in recycled glass containers like I do). I can never understand it when I see people putting an open packet of biscuits or nuts etc back in the pantry. The large clip top jars you see below are Niugini coconut oil jars (it's THE main reason I buy that coconut oil).

Reducing food wastage 3

I know if I really thought about it that I could create a list of 30, but instead I'd love to hear from you. What else do you do that we could add to this list? Share with us all in the comments below and combined let's make a difference.

And please, share this article with any of your friends and family who you know would love to make a difference too. You may also like to pin it for easy access.

*  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34647454
** http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-28/dumped-mareeba-mangoes-prompts-consumer-outrage-at-food-waste/6052036

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February 02 2016

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