Reduce Food Waste and Save Money

Market vegetables CollageAre you throwing money away? The Love Food Hate Waste website reports that over 3 million tonnes of edible food is thrown away from private homes each year in the UK alone, costing the average household nearly £50 per month. Statistics from other countries are equally shocking.

Food waste is a global issue that affects us all. Not only does it harm the environment, it costs us money in our grocery budgets and our taxes. It’s also ethically disturbing as while we throw food away, others in the wider world – even in our own local areas – may go hungry.

Here are  some great ways to avoid food waste and save money.

Keep a tidy fridge
A clean fridge makes sense from a hygiene point of view, but it also helps you to know what you have. Keep an eye on meat and fish products and if you feel you won’t be able to use them by the use by date, pop them in the freezer. I like to keep ‘cook from frozen’ vegetarian meals and fish on hand so that I always have the wherewithal to cook a meal or two from the freezer and store cupboard. This way I’m not tempted to overbuy fresh items and then have to throw them away if I don’t use them.

Use your freezer
You can freeze so many things!

Leftover lemons, oranges and limes can be sliced and frozen for use in drinks. Use the frozen slices to flavour chilled water, fruit juice or even your favourite tipple. I always have frozen lemon slices on hand for gin and tonic. Simply slice citrus fruit and freeze flat. Once frozen, transfer to sealed containers.

Most hard cheeses can be grated and frozen. I often use them from frozen as a garnish on pasta, pasta bakes and baked potatoes. The cheese melts into the hot main dish and tastes just the same as fresh.

Roast vegetables can be frozen. Cool and freeze in serving size portions. There are always little bags of eggplant (aubergine) in my freezer. Simply chop the eggplant in cubes, toss it in olive oil, season with salt and roast until golden. Cool and freeze. I add it to pasta sauces still frozen and it cooks in beautifully.

IMG_4574Bread
Freeze half a loaf of bread so  that you have one half to eat now and the other to toast for later. If fresh bread begins to go dry or stale, grate or process it (before it goes mouldy) to make bread crumbs which can then be frozen. You can also make croutons.

Stale bread also makes wonderful bread and butter pudding, summer pudding, stratas and breakfast casseroles.

Follow food safety rules but don’t believe everything the supermarkets tell you.
‘Use by’ dates are based on food hygiene rules and should be followed. ‘Best before’ dates on the other hand don’t mean ‘rotten after’. It just means the product should be at its best if used before that date. Best before dates on fruit, vegetables and bread are rather pointless. You can tell when these things are past their best!

I’m disturbed when I see ‘freeze on day of purchase, use within one month’ on the packaging of many fresh products. This misleads a lot of people. Provided you freeze a product before the use by date, it’s fine in the freezer for a lot longer than a month. The quality of the product may deteriorate if you keep it for longer than 3 months in the freezer, but it is still perfectly safe.

Keep long life (UHT) milk in Tetra Pak cartons on hand

Long Life Milk in Tetra Paks

While it should be refrigerated before drinking and after opening, long life milk in Tetra Pak cartons keeps for extended periods of time without refrigeration. No different from chilled milk, long life milk is simply heated to a higher temperature during pasturization to extend its life; a process which does not affect the goodness of the milk. If you have a carton or two in your store cupboard, there’s no need to over-buy fresh milk ‘just in case’, and then have to discard it as it has spoiled before it can be used. You can buy fruit juices in Tetra Pak cartons too.

If milk does go sour, there are many recipes that call for sour milk. These include scones, cakes and muffins.

You can also freeze fresh milk.

Make cake from leftover fruit and vegetables

Cakes with Leftover Fruit and Veg Collage

All of these delicious cakes were made from vegetables that were either leftover or nearly past their best. Even if carrots, zucchini, apples or other fruit and vegetables have gone a little soft, they are still fine for cakes and muffins.

Butternut Pecan Loaf Cake

Banana Rum Raisin Cake

Sweet Potato Quick Bread

Chocolate Banana Bundt Cake

There are lots more ways to avoid food waste and save yourself a lot of money in the process. You can find more helpful hints, tips and recipes on

Love Food Hate Waste

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Zero Waste Week

Feel free to share your tips on how you avoid food waste in the comments.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1286 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.


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