Tips to reduce food waste

Food waste has a devastating effect on the planet, our environment and our money. According to British charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) the UK alone throws away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste every year and almost three quarters of that (70%) is food that could have been eaten.  When food waste is disposed of in landfill, it rots and becomes a massive source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Even growing and transporting the food which goes to waste emits harmful carbon pollution, so it’s easy to see the problem. The lack of availability of certain produces (like flour, pasta, yeast) during the pandemic has raised our awareness to the importance of food waste and how we as parents need to encourage children to learn about this issue. Here are simple tips for families to reduce food waste. 

Batch Cooking

As an Italian, I cook from scratch every day with no exception and sometimes I cook in bulk especially if I like a dish which is particularly complicated such as lasagne alla romagnola or lentil soup. These and other nutritious meals such as stew, pie, casserole, pasta dish or anything big and bulky can be frozen and stored to eat another day. By getting into the habit of batch cooking, it’s easy to make up days’ worth of meals in one go, which can then be vacuum sealed and stored in the fridge or freezer ready for re-heating another day. As well as savoury meals, batch baking can also be used for puddings, desserts and even biscuits, cakes and traybakes.  I have to confess that I still have half a marzipan Stollen from last Christmas in my freezer. I don’t eat many desserts and when I buy one I like I freeze it in portions so that I can take one out when I fancy a sweet treat from time to time.

To keep it all fresh, I have recently started using the ZWILLING Fresh & Save wireless Vacuum Pump, which works by placing it on the valve of the Vacuum Box or Bag filled with batch cooked food then sucking out the air inside.  It can be recharged using the included USB and it starts at the touch of a button; automatically stopping once the correct vacuum is achieved.  It’s so simple to use, ultra-quiet and compact too.  Perfect for keeping contents fresh ready for another day. 

Leftovers

Sometimes I ‘inadvertently’ cook too much and when it comes to dishing up meals, there’s a decent sized portion or two left over.  I never throw it away and make use of that leftover the following day maybe creating a new recipe for it.  

The ZWILLING FRESH & SAVE Vacuum Box or Bag is very practical for that purpose. The Vacuum Pump sucks the air out and I can store it in the fridge or freezer for another day.  Vacuum sealing not only keeps food fresh for up to five times longer, but it will also help to preserve food’s flavour, vitamins and nutrients.  Perfect for pasta, soups and salads.

My favourite leftovers (click on the word for the recipe) that are preserved well in the freezers are:

Cakes

Lasagne

Pesto alla genovese 

pesto alla genovese sauce condiment italian

Pesto alla genovese is easy to make and perfect for freezing – Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Planning Meals 

I have recently tried to properly plan mealtimes to cut back on food waste.  Before a big food shop I make a list of meals I want to prepare. This helps cutting back on food that is not needed and gets thrown away. It also helps save money.

Where possible, I try to vary the meals and double up on some of the ingredients. For instance, minced beef can easily make ragout alla bolognese for lasagne or as condiment for pasta dishes as well as cottage pie and chilli, so that’s three meals already.

When shopping, I get a good balance of meat, fish, dairy, fresh vegetables and a selection of herbs and spices that can easily liven up mealtimes. Reducing food waste starts with careful planning so simply by only purchasing the goods needed to prepare meals on the list, it instantly reduces the possibility of having food hanging around that goes past its ‘best before’ date and ends up being thrown away. 

Vacuum Sealing


This is where ZWILLING’s new Fresh & Save vacuum food storage solution can really help. The Vacuum Pump, Vacuum Boxes, Vacuum Bags and Vacuum Wine Sealer are all designed to help reduce food waste by vacuum sealing produce, meals and leftovers to preserve flavours and vitamins while keeping food fresh for up to five times longer.  The vacuum sealed boxes and bags can be stored in the fridge, freezer or cupboard depending on their contents, and help make life easier and more convenient while reducing waste at the same time.  Pre-prepared dishes can be re-heated and even placed straight into the oven up to 180°C {with lid removed} if using one of the glass Vacuum Boxes; lunches can be made the day before and kept overnight in the Vacuum Lunchbox with its separate compartments for sweet and savoury snacks and leftovers can be kept fresh with the shallow and easily stackable Fridge Box.  Using the collection also helps reduce food packaging too, as loose items and ingredients can be purchased and stored in the Vacuum Boxes and Bags.  Food stays fresh, it’s sustainable, saves time and money and reduces food waste. It’s a win: win all round. A 7 piece starter kit includes the pump and a selection of bags as well as glass boxes. 
 

Getting Organised

Call me a bit obsessive but I love to regularly get my kitchen organised. It may sound obvious but one of the main reasons we waste food is because we double up on buying items we already have at home. I seasonally dedicate  a rainy weekend or afternoon to sorting out and organising the kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer. I take all the contents out, check the ‘use by’ dates and place anything near it’s ‘best before’ date near the front so I can use it ahead of anything else. Some people make a list of everything they currently have and then stick it to the fridge or the inside of the cabinet door so that next time they’re making a shopping list, they know if they’ve run out of anything.  I have never done it because my family is small enough. But those wit By keeping ahead of store cupboard essentials as well as chilled and frozen items, you can start to rotate things that need using up and avoid buying things you don’t need.

 

Use an App

Now that we live in a world where pretty much everything is available via an app, use this technology to your advantage and download apps that can help reduce food waste.  ZWILLING has developed its Culinary World app, which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.  Every FRESH & SAVE Vacuum Box and Bag features a QR code that scan be scanned with the Culinary World app.  Once activated and with a few simple details keyed in, the app will remind cooks of the food’s extended shelf life date when the time comes, reducing food waste even further.  The app also comes with additional features including shopping lists, interesting recipes and more, so there are plenty of ways to be more conscious of what we are buying and throwing away.

I hope my blog will help you plan ahead, shop with a list, reduce waste and have fun with kids.

Related features

Mamma Makes – Recipes & Stories from Multicultural Britain: Just Like Mamma Used To Make

Cookery book of the week: 21 Fun Recipes

Recipe: Granola

Recipe: Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

Recipe: Paella

Recipe: Thai green chicken curry

Castagnaccio Recipe: Tuscan Chestnut cake 

Facebook Comments