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How to reduce your food waste at home

In the kitchen: reducing food waste

1-7 March is Food Waste Action Week, and we’re committed to not only reducing our food waste in the restaurant, but also to help you at home.

For our part, we’ll be signing up to WRAP’s Guardians of Grub programme. We’re really excited to become a Guardian of Grub champion – not only to reduce our waste but to help our planet too. We’ll be tracking every piece of food we throw away and this allows us to see where we are wasting the most food, and give us a lot more insight to our menu content and portion sizes.

If you want to take up the challenge of reducing your food waste at home, Executive Chef Steve Wilson has given us some of his top tips. Plus, you can share your own tips on social media and win some pretty great prizes – take up the Love Food Hate Waste challenge here.

Steve’s top tips for reducing food waste

– Avoid buying too much at the supermarket – always make a shopping list as my mum says. Plan your meals and write down what you need – don’t be tempted by nice packaging on readymade meals or buy one get one free deals.

– Never shop on an empty stomach – you would be surprised what you can come back with. If you combine this with not having a shopping list, well, you’ll not only have a lot of food waste, but you’ll have a blow a big hole in your bank balance!

– Use local produce – try getting your vegetable from a farmers market, as they last two to three times longer than your average supermarket product.

– Store food like a chef: first in, first out. FIFO it is the first rule in organising a kitchen fridge and pantry. Place newly purchased items behind the old items and you’ll cut down on your spoilage drastically.

– Keep your fridge tidy – if you overload your fridge, your fridge temperature might not be correct. Invest in a small fridge thermometer that hangs on your shelf – this should always read between 2-5°C. Make sure you store raw food below cooked food, and ensure any leftovers are in sealed containers.

– Think twice before throw anything away – just because it’s one day past its best before date, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Best before dates can be misleading, so if a product looks (and smells) fine, often it will be fine to eat. If your greens are starting to wilt a little, they can make great soups, along with things like over-ripe tomatoes. Do some research on the difference between use-by and best before dates – up to 20% of food waste just comes from confusion of the dates.

– Freeze leftovers or make food in batches for use later. Most foods are fine to freeze for up to a month.

– You can also turn leftovers in snacks or lunches – jazz them up with a few condiments or fresh herbs. Just make sure you use leftovers stored in the fridge within two to three days.

– Try your hand at pickling and preserving – you’ll reduce your food waste, learn something new and get a delicious snack out of it. Turn old apples into apple purée and turn cucumbers into pickles.

– Use meat bones and vegetable scraps for stock and broths – don’t throw them out.

– Get green fingered about make some garden compost – spent coffee grounds and egg shells are particularly good.

– Start all of this buy just recording your food waste, write it down – over a month you’ll be shocked what you threw out and how much money you’ve wasted. The average person wastes around £200 per year where a family with children can waste an average of £700 – that’s a lot of money!