10 frugal, food waste busting New Year's Resolutions
Today we learned a two-minute trick that really puts food waste in perspective:
Next time you sit down to eat, take a minute to estimate how much the meal cost you. Then take another minute to think about the giant system that brought all of these wonderful ingredients to your plate:
>> the months of ploughing, sowing and irrigation in the fields,
>> the farmers out at all hours and in all weathers tending to their cattle,
>> the extremely real dangers of heading offshore on a fishing boat,
>> the grindingly hard work of picking, packing and processing,
>> not to mention the cost to our planet in land use, fresh water and transport fuel.
Put that way, our meal suddenly seems very, very cheap at the price. And can you imagine throwing any of this laboriously produced food away? Wasting food that cost so much in time, effort and resources? Wow, that would be crazy! Finish the two minutes with a moment of gratitude and get eating. Tastes amazing, right?
Minds duly boggled, we’ve put our heads together to come up with ten pledges for cutting our food waste in 2019. Will you join us and add one or more to your New Year’s resolutions list?
1. We resolve to eat what’s in stock first
This January, the Greenredeem team are attempting the Back of the Cupboard Ingredient Challenge. To take part, all you need to do is dig out and start using up the older foodstuffs that have been hanging around the back of the kitchen cupboard for far too long. You know the ones! Checking the cupboards, fridge and freezer and eating what’s in stock before buying more food hopefully means no more unfortunate sour, rotten or stale surprises! Lower grocery bills won’t hurt either!
2. We resolve to stack clever
Organise your food firstly according to its 'Use By' dates (these are mandatory, no eating afterwards) and secondly according to its Best Before dates (a suggestion for better eating). Put longer dates at the back, shorter dates at the front. Stacked this way, nothing gets ‘lost’ and meal planning starts with a quick glance. We plan to keep eating our way from front to back and, cross fingers, never encountering unexpectedly expired food again.
3. We resolve to start with a smaller portion
It’s far easier to use up leftovers that haven’t been mixed up and pushed round on a plate, so this year we’re resolving to begin our meals with smaller portions. We’ll not starve – we can grab seconds if we’re still hungry afterwards. No more piled-high platefuls!
4. We resolve to scrub, not peel
Much of the nutrition of carrots, potatoes, parsnips, ginger and the like is found in and just beneath their thin skins. We’re going to make the most of these root veggies by switching the faff of peeling for a quick scrub instead.
5. We resolve to make friends with our freezers
Leftovers? Freeze ‘em for another meal! Veggies about to turn? Freeze ‘em for next week’s curry! Bread slices getting stale? Freeze ‘em for toasting! Not going to finish the milk, cheese and butter before you go on holiday? Freeze ‘em for when you get back!
With a very few exceptions, most of the foods we eat day-to-day can be frozen for later. We’re going to befriend our freezers this year and see how much further our food shopping can go.
6. We resolve to enjoy ‘ugly’ produce
In 2019 we’ve decided not to let the look of our fruit and veg get in the way of enjoying its freshness. Wonky produce deserves love too, especially as it’s often cheaper than (boring!) standard sized.
7. We resolve to buy loose and only buy the amount that we need
So many of our Back of the Cupboard Ingredient Challenge foodstuffs are leftover from a one-off recipe. When cooking something special and need less or more than the standard pack size of an uncommon ingredient, we’ve decided that in the first place we’ll try to get the exact amount from a scoop-and-weigh store, zero waste shop or the supermarket’s loose produce aisle.
8. We resolve to learn more leftovers recipes
9. We resolve to share the extra
Whether it’s dropping off those tins at the food bank collection at the supermarket, popping some excess salad leaves in our local community fridge, advertising a few unwanted bits and bobs on OLIO’s food sharing app or leaving a box of windfallen apples outside the front gate, we’ve made a mental note to share extra food whenever we can.
10. We resolve to stay grateful
We’re thankful for all the people who work hard to put food on our plates. We appreciate this amazing planet for the resources that feed billions of us every day. And we feel very lucky that we and our families have enough to eat. Let’s resolve to make the most of all of our food in 2019, cut out unnecessary food waste and stay grateful!