In this section we will look at tricks to help keep food fresh and edible after shopping.
Money saving tips
Waste per household
The average household wastes about £500 of food a year. There are many ways to prevent this terrible waste and in this section we will look at just a few of them.
If you have made too much food for one meal, don’t throw it away, bag it / box it and freeze it. For ease of use, freeze in portions, then label and date the bags.
Store food in the right place
Many of us don’t store food in the best place to keep it fresh. Store bread in a cupboard / bread bin / storage bag, keep fruit (except bananas) and vegetables in the fridge, and always store potatoes in a cool dark place.
Freeze left over wine
A centimetre or two of wine left in the bottle? Freeze it and use later to add depth to a Bolognese or other sauce.
Open jar of pesto?
To save an open jar of pesto from going off, freeze it into cubes (in an old ice tray) for later use.
Fold cereal packets
Always fold the inside bag of packets of cereal, then close the pack flaps, to prevent spoiling.
If strawberries or raspberries are going off
Add some sugar and lemon juice to aging soft fruit, place in the fridge and they will last another 2 days.
Simple check to test if eggs have gone off
If you are worried about eggs going off, an easy check is drop them into a bowl of water, if they sink they are fine, if they float don’t eat them.
Eggs have a shelf life of 28 days (from date laid to best before date). By law, eggs must reach the final consumer within 21 days from the date they have been laid. This date is known as the ‘Sell-by date’.
After this date, the quality of the egg will deteriorate and if any salmonella bacteria are present, they could multiply to high levels and could make a person ill. This means that eggs need to be delivered to the consumer at least 7 days before the ‘Best before’ date. The consumer then has seven days to use the eggs at home.
To kill any bacteria, eggs should be cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid. Alternatively they can be used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake.
Can eggs be frozen?
Eggs can be frozen, but not in their shells. Break the egg into a bowl and beat until the yolk and egg white is blended. Put them in an airtight container, label with the date, and pop in the freezer.
Can you freeze cheese?
Most hard cheeses can be frozen. Stilton should be crumbled and stored in a container. Cheddar can be grated into a sandwich bag or container and used direct from frozen. Soft cheeses do not freeze well.
When bananas go brown
When bananas start to go brown, peel and pop them in the freezer in a bag or container. They are great if you blast them in a blender, especially with cream or ice-cream for a delicious banana pudding.
Keep salad leaves fresh
Take them out of their bag and pop them into a sealable container. Add a piece of kitchen roll, click the lid shut and store in the fridge.
Reuse or recycle packaging
Try and reuse whatever packaging you can, such as glass jars or bottles. Anything that is recyclable, put it in the appropriate bin or take it to your local re-cycling centre.
Compost inedible leftovers
If you have inedible leftovers, peelings, food scraps or even cardboard they can all be composted either at home or you can give them to local organisations who will gladly accept them to turn them into compost.
Recycle used cooking oil
Used cooking oil, when cool, should be poured into a sealed plastic bottle and taken to your nearest household waste centre for recycling. Check with your local council for details. Do NOT pour it down the sink.