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How to reduce food waste in 5 steps

BY READERS DIGEST

1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

How to reduce food waste in 5 steps
Find yourself spending too much on household groceries and wasting food? Check out these top 5 ways to reducing food waste.

Think before you shop


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Before you can know what you need (note: need not fancy), you have to know what you already have, right? If you didn’t use that bag of rice last week, don’t charge yourself for another. Make your shopping list based on what meals you are likely to cook with what you already have in the cupboards. Your shopping list should contain all your weekly basics and all the extras to make the meals you’re likely to have that week. And DON’T go shopping when you’re hungry.

Know your fridge


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Its well worth taking stock of what is in your fridge on a regular basis so you don’t waste any tasty treats. If things are passed their sell by date, make an educated guess based on the product and throw the rest out i.e. ketchup that dies in June 2015, won’t be toxic after midnight on May 31st. Top tip: clean and keep your jars for future storage.

Recipe for leftovers


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Old time cooking, farm-style living etc. Learning to economise with your leftover food is not the stuff of world wars. Jamie has incredible leftover recipes. The easiest start is chicken stock after you’ve tucked into your Sunday lunch. Bung the carcass in a pan with a carrot, an onion and a stick of celery; cover with water and boil. Strain the solids out and either make a Monday night chicken soup or bottle the stock and keep for later.

Compost your kitchen


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All your peels, shells and tea bags need not make your bin bag juicier than it needs to be. If you are keen on not being a wasteful human, then it is a good idea to gather all your rotable material for a compost pile. Some local councils provide small bins for this with compostable food waste bags, or you can buy them yourself from a local garden centre. But just because it's natural doesn’t mean it’s degradable—an avocado stone will go nowhere. Or you might end up with a tree...

Food preserving


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You don’t need to spend a lot of money on storage containers from the supermarket to get you started on reducing your waste. Margarine tubs, clean and dry glass jars and old take away trays should get you off to a good start in your home (but you’ll need something sturdier for taking lunches to work). If you can get into the habit of freezing the remaining pasta sauce and buying your chick pea dry then you’ll be reducing waste and saving money in no time—but check your freezer as much as you check your fridge. If you are unsure of safe times and temperatures for food storage go to foodsafety.gov.