How can you make less waste? Here are some tips and tricks.
According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), every French person throws away 29 kg of consumable food each year. This is of course bad for the planet and it also has a significant impact on the family budget. So how can you make less waste? Here are some tips and tricks.
Less waste means buying less.
• Think about your weekly menu in advance. Which days will you be at home, will the children be eating with you or at the school canteen etc. This way, you can cook the right amount. Also, why not try the new trend of batch cooking at the weekend?
• Write a shopping list: Look in the fridge and cupboards before going to the supermarket or the market, and write down what you need. Don’t deviate from your list.
• Buy fruit and vegetables in small quantities (less and more often) and resist special offers. It may seem like a good deal at first, but it’s not if you have to throw away half of it because it’s going off. Choose fruit and veg according to how ripe it is and what you actually need.
• Check expiry dates for fresh produce. Always look at the packaging and the best before dates. Choose items with the longest dates.
• If you buy frozen food, make sure that you rotate your stock and empty freezer drawers and compartments regularly.
Less waste means optimising the way you store food:
• Invest in good quality, hermetically sealed storage boxes so you can keep the leftovers of your cooked dishes. Write on an adhesive label what is inside the box, along with the date you prepared it. Let it cool before storing it in the fridge.
• Organise your fridge according to the areas that are very cold and not so cold. Don’t overfill it. This lets you see what you have at the back and allows air to circulate inside.
• When storing your food, always put the products that need to be consumed quickly at the front of the fridge.
• Keep fruit and vegetables either in the fridge or in a cellar. In the latter case, invest in a food storage cupboard so they’ll be protected from flies and other little beasties while they continue to ripen.
• Don’t wait to invest in a vacuum storage device. They are now available at very affordable prices.
Less waste means being smart when you cook.
You find yourself with fruit and vegetables that are going off, stale bread, yoghurt that’s about to go out of date and there’s some meat left, what do you do?
→ Leftover fruit: Is it a bit over ripe and you don’t fancy eating it anymore? Don’t panic, you can use it to make jam or compotes. It's very easy and you can mix up the flavours (apple and pear, peach and apricot). If you don’t want to eat them right away, freeze them or put them in jars. You’ll be glad of them later. You can add little pieces to a simple yoghurt cake or literally add zest to a dessert. It's easy, practical and nothing gets thrown away but is transformed instead. Another tasty option is making smoothies: just put the fruit in the blender, add milk or ice cubes, mix it together and voila, you’ve got yourself a delicious, velvety drink.
→ Leftover vegetables: First solution: cut them into pieces, blanch them and put them in the freezer once they’ve cooled. Second possibility: cook them immediately. For the easiest options, think soups and velouté sauces. You can also freeze them or put them in jars, for days when you’ve got nothing in.
→ Leftover meat: Careful, this is a particularly tricky product. Don’t wait until the last day to freeze it raw (remove it from its packaging and put it in a special plastic freezer bag). Or, if you have some cooked meat that is about to go out of date, why not put it in a quiche or savoury pie? It’s delicious. Think leek + bacon or cherry tomatoes + ham.
→ Leftover bread: THE go-to recipe is French toast, a tasty old-school treat. Just beat 2 eggs, add ½ litre of milk and 150 g of sugar and mix it together. Dip the slices of stale bread into the mixture and fry them in a pan with a little butter until brown. Just before serving, sprinkle a tablespoon of vanilla sugar on top.
Finally, if you need any more ideas for using up your leftovers, just jump onto the internet. You’ll find lots of blogs and YouTube channels with plenty of suggestions to help you on a daily basis.
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