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Hints for cooking and using food up (rather than wasting it)

17 January 2017

Not long ago we talked about the shocking levels of food that goes to waste, as reported by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, together with some steps to take to cut down on it, especially when it comes to buying, stocking up on and storing food.

Now we’ve got some more steps to take in the kitchen to carry on the good work. Because there’s no point in shopping sensibly if we end up throwing food away, right? Take note.

Calculate portions carefully and only cook as much as you need

It’s always worth making an extra portion to eat the next day or freeze, but don’t overdo it. There’s no point in cooking enough to feed an army if there’s only two of you: you’ll end up throwing food away, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. Calculate numbers carefully and decide whether it’s worth cooking a little bit extra or not.

If you can’t decide what to cook, have a look in the fridge

You haven’t planned the week’s cooking and now you can’t decide what to cook… Before dashing off to the supermarket or ordering a pizza, go through the fresh produce in the fridge and decide whether you can whip something up. Any ideas? Make a list of anything else you need for the recipe and now you can pop out to the shops to get anything you’re missing. The idea is to use up the fresh produce you’ve already got before buying any more.

How to keep leftovers?

Keep any food you need to use up soon, as well as opened jars of sauces, preserves, etc. the first shelf in the fridge. Clearly label some decent freezer bags with the date, contents and number of portions for any food you plan to freeze.

Be imaginative with food to use up

You’ve got half a tin of chopped tomatoes left over from yesterday’s pasta and it needs using up… So how about some panini? Cut a loaf of bread in half lengthways and paste on some tomato. Get out some cheese, cut off any hard bits and cut it into slices. Fish out a tin of tuna or some turkey slices, sprinkle on some oregano and pop into the oven. If you’ve got any Bolognese sauce left over, you could make some pasties; leftover fish is great for making croquettes; and you can make a delicious quiche with leftover roast chicken.

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