What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Waste Not

Last week I went to a free talk held by the local council about food waste in the home.  They said that, on average, between 38-50% of a Sydney household’s waste is made up of food and drinks that have been thrown out.

Sometimes it’s things like uneaten Thai leftovers, milk that’s gone bad, bread that’s gone mouldy, veges that have gone soggy, biscuits gone stale, leftover cereal and milk from the bowl, flour that’s past it’s use by date, meat that has freezer burn, rice that’s been in the fridge too long, soft drink that’s gone flat – it all adds up pretty quickly.

This equates to around $1,000 per household in wasted food each year.   This is like throwing out 1 in every 5 bags of your groceries each time you shop.

There are plenty of ways to save money and reduce your impact on the environment, but the most important one is just being mindful of waste before it happens.

1. Plan your meals in advance – this is the single best way to avoid waste.  If you know what you are going to cook you can then avoid purchasing items ‘just in case’ you feel like using them.  You can also plan your meals to use up perishable foods such as herbs by using them in 2 dinners instead of 1. There are going to still be times when you decide to grab take away instead of cooking so why not just plan for 3 or 4 meals a week if that’s more realistic for you. I have personally noticed a lot less waste since I started planning meals in advance.  Honestly it only takes about 15 mins each week - try it!

2. Make a shopping list and stick to it.  This really ties in with the meal planning but is a good way to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the supermarket and buying random things you might not use.  And never shop when you’re hungry, or you will end up with chocolate milk and cheezels for dinner. 

3. Check your fridge, freezer and cupboards before you shop.  This is a good one that we often forget to do, but can save you ending up with 3 packets of frozen peas when you only needed one.  It also means you can see items that need to be used in the next day or so and put them to good use.  See some strawberries on the way out?  Cut off any bad bits and turn them into a smoothie, or even just cut them up and freeze them for another time.  See some bananas looking a bit sad?  Why not make some banana bread and then freeze it for whenever you feel like it.  Got 2 eggs left and you're about to go away for a week?  Have eggs on toast for breakfast.  

4. Store things correctly.  Use jars or containers to store perishable items like biscuits and rice.  Cover food before you put it in the fridge (my husband drives me crazy with this one). If your bread always goes stale before you can use it, why not put half of each loaf in the freezer and then pull it out when you need it.  Keep fresh herbs in a container wrapped in a damp tea towel. Take note of things that you regularly throw out and make an effort to do something about it next time.

5. Get your portions right.  If you always cook too much rice, try to use a little less next time until you get it right. Made too much dinner?  Put it into a plastic container and take it to work the next day for lunch.  If you always end up throwing out off milk, buy smaller bottles.  A 3L bottle may be better value for money, but it's not if you never get through it all in time.

6. Use your leftovers or items that are on their way out. Visit this great website Love Food Hate Waste where you can get ideas for using up specific foods and drinks.  For instance you can click on apples and it will come up with loads of ideas for using up apples. 

If we just make a little effort we can all save money and avoid filling up landfill with food that could have been eaten

Have you got any tips for reducing waste in the kitchen?

p.s yes that milk carton is crying

No comments:

Post a Comment