10 Tips For Achieving A Zero-Waste Kitchen

Appliance City - Food & Home

If you love food as much as I do then you’ll be surprised to know that around 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in the UK. Nearly 50% of that comes from our homes and most likely our kitchens. That’s a lot of food! And that’s not the worst of it – the majority of the food we throw away could be eaten.

To help reduce the amount of waste you create in your kitchen take a look at our list of useful tips.

1.) Don’t Peel Vegetables


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Peeling vegetables such as potatoes carrots and parsnips, is not necessary. They are perfectly edible and it just so happens that the most nutritional part of a vegetable is just under its skin.

For peels that are not so tasty and rather tough, such as lemon peel or ginger, try using them in other ways. Lemon peel can be used to sanitize work surfaces and ginger peel can be used to brew ginger teas. Just remember to use them for compost after!

2.) Reuse Coffee Grounds


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Believe it or not, coffee grounds can be used for more than just making a yummy cup of coffee. Once you’ve used them keep them, there’s no need to throw them away. Use them to fertilize your plants and keep pests and ants away, or even use them for homemade beauty treatments such as face masks or exfoliators.

3.) Use Fruit and Veg No Matter What


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If you have any fruits or vegetables that have been damaged or are overripe, don’t discard them straight away, they can still be used to whip up some delicious treats! Take bananas for example; when brown and overripe they are at their best to make banana cake.

There are so many recipes online that will help you use up your fruit and veg, so there’s no excuse for them to end up in the bin!  Check out these ‘Top Ten Ways to Use Up Overripe Fruit‘ from The Kitchn.

4.) Make The Most Out Of Your Bread


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Nearly 11% of the food we throw away is some form of bread or pastry, most likely because we deem it as inedible due to it turning stale or even mouldy. However this does not need to be the case. You can easily eliminate the risk of mouldy bread by only buying what you need; there are plenty of small loaves available in supermarkets these days!

Stale bread can also easily be whipped up into something delicious or incorporated into a recipe. Take a look at this post from First We Feast for ten fantastic ways to use up your stale bread.

5.) Plan Your Meals


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Planning your meals may sound pretty simple but it’s one of the most effective ways to reduce your food wastage. Be sure to check your cupboards and write a list before you go food shopping to ensure you don’t buy things you already have or you don’t need. The number one rule is to stick to the list – if it’s not essential, don’t buy it!

6.) Store Your Food Correctly


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Not storing food the right way is one of the most likely reasons for items perishing quickly and in turn causing you to throw them away. Be sure to store each of your food items in the conditions best suited to them. If you didn’t see our post on items you can freeze and those you can’t, take a look at it here and be sure you keep what needs to be cold – cold , what needs to be dry- dry and so on.

7.) Take Your Lunch To Work

 
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Although we throw away tons and tons of edible food in our kitchens every year we still, for some reason, go and buy even more food when we’re at work for lunch! On average, workers in the UK spend £5.5 billion a year buying additional food on their lunch breaks. Make more use out of your left over foods at home and save yourself money by taking it to work for lunch. I bet you’d save a pretty penny in a year if you did that!

8.) Buy Condiments and Spices Wisely

 

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You may not think you waste a lot of condiments or spices but even wasting the smallest amount adds to the overall food wastage in the UK a year. 140, 000 tonnes of condiments and spices are collaboratively wasted ever years costing around £650 million!

To minimise your spice wastage make sure you don’t buy a particular spice just for one recipe as only a small amount is usually needed and  it is likely you won’t use it again before its past its best.

Whether you throw away a few spoonfuls of jam or half a jar of left over tomato sauce, everything adds up. The motto here is to use everything and stores all condiments carefully to ensure they are kept fresh and edible.

9.) Cook Just Enough


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Cooking the right amount can be a tricky task. I for one, am renowned for cooking far too much rice or pasta. But being extra careful when it comes to portions is a great way to cut your wastage down and save you money. Check out this portion calculator by Love Food Hate Waste, you can calculate anything from how much rice to cook for 2 to how many potatoes to cook for 15!

10.) Best Before and Display Until Dates


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To put it simply, ignore these! Best before and display until labels on food are for shop staff not for shoppers. Best before labels do not refer to food safety so do not through away food just because it has exceeded its best before date. The likelihood is it is still absolutely fine to consume!

Use by dates are the only ones you should take caution to as they do refer to the safety of produce but to extend the life of food you can freeze it before its used by date to keep it fresh and ready to eat. When defrosted just be sure to consume it within 24 hours.