Reducing food waste wherever possible is very important to us all. Here at Costa, we make it possible for all our store teams to donate food that’s leftover to charity. And we work hard to try and reduce food being leftover in the first place by having an efficient food ordering system.
We also partner with Too Good To Go, a free app that helps people to track down delicious unsold food at a reduced price to save it from going to waste. As experts on making the most of food, we asked Too Good To Go for their top tips on making food go further in the home.
Here are their top 8 ways to make your food work harder:
1. Know exactly what’s in your kitchen cupboards and fridge
Make it a habit to go through fridges and kitchen cupboards twice a week and note down any food that might go off soon. It’s a good idea to do this alongside other weekly chores so it’s easier to remember. Many of the things you find can be easily incorporated into meals you’ve already planned: the last few tablespoons of yoghurt can be whizzed into a smoothie, while a wilting pepper can be roasted, chopped and tossed into a salad.
2. Make a meal plan - but keep it flexible
Once you've audited your kitchen cupboards and made a note of what you have in stock, make a weekly meal plan and shopping lists will become much simpler. Remember to keep meal plans flexible as some products aren’t as readily available as normal. Why not get creative and choose recipes where it doesn’t matter if a few ingredients need to be swapped? Think curries, stews and hearty salads.
3. Embrace the opportunity to experiment
Right now, to satisfy demand, some shops have less variety on their shelves. This means that some ingredients for recipes might not be there for you when you shop, but that could lead to some great cooking! The best cuisines have always been born from using what’s available. Embrace this chance to explore new ways to work with ingredients.
4. Check fridge temperatures
The average UK fridge is set to seven degrees, at least two degrees warmer than it should be! Milk stored at this temperature can spoil after just a few hours, instead of the five days it can last. But it’s not just about adjusting settings. Fridges easily heat up because of things we do without even thinking, like adding food that hasn't completely cooled down from cooking or accidentally leaving the door open. Moving away from these small habits can make a big difference to how long food lasts.
5. But remember: there’s such a thing as TOO cold
Tropical and subtropical foods such as melons, aubergine, bananas and peppers should be kept at room temperature – they don’t keep well in a fridge.
6. Don’t treat best before dates as a fixed rule
Use by dates are about safety and should always be followed, especially on meat, fish and ready-to-eat salads. Best before dates are different – they’re indicators of quality. If an item is past its best before date but still looks and smells fine, it’s probably okay to eat. Most of the time senses can be trusted, but with harder-to-tell items (such as eggs) there are clever ways to make the call. Try popping eggs in a bowl of water - as long as they don’t float to the top, they’re safe to eat!
7. Use the whole thing
Too often, we throw away perfectly edible parts of produce just because it’s what we’ve always done. Broccoli stalks make a tasty addition to a stir fry and green stalks of strawberries are a great source of fibre.
8. Read up on what can be frozen
Dairy products can be frozen and defrosted, and still eaten. Just make it a bit easier by grating hard cheese before it is frozen, and be sure to give defrosted skimmed milk a good shake before using it. Eggs can also do surprisingly well in the freezer. Just beat them until blended, and pour them into freezer containers, labelling the containers with how many eggs are in each.