With global food waste topping the charts at a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes last year, the blame is aimed at households as the main culprits. Scraping heaps of uneaten food into the bin, losing track of best-before dates, buying more than we need: it all adds up. This year, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is focusing on drastically reducing food waste at our residences and we want to encourage households to do the same. Follow these practical tips to eliminate food waste at home.
To get started, pull out your good, old-fashioned re-usable containers and a labelling kit to organise, date and store leftovers. Keeping track of everything that’s in the fridge and freezer ensures it will be used up. Adopt a ‘first in first out’ policy and keep everything well organised and easy to find.
Never go food shopping on an empty stomach. Get behind a trolley when feeling peckish, and it’s likely that all manner of impulse buys will end up in your shop. Write a list before hitting the supermarket and stick to it. A weekly meal-planning app is a helpful tool.
Picking vegetables that are slightly misshapen or odd-looking is a great way to eliminate food waste – these are often left on the shelves and, consequently, tossed out. There’s no difference in taste once they’ve been chopped up and cooked.
Instead of throwing away food that you don’t know what to do with, experiment with innovative new recipes. Stale bread can be given a new lease of life as bread and butter pudding or croutons. Need inspiration? Type in your spare ingredients to BBC Food, which will then generate a list of delicious recipe ideas to include them.
Think before you throw
Best-before dates should be treated as guidelines, not gospel. Trust your own senses of sight, smell and taste. Alternatively, buy fresh ingredients as and when you need them.
What to do with leftovers
Many avoid eating leftovers because of the risks of reheating. But any chef will agree that a hearty curry or rich casserole tastes even better the next day, once the flavours have had a chance to develop. As long as the leftovers are piping hot, they’re safe. Rice, however, is a notoriously problematic ingredient to reheat. Cook small batches of the grain to enjoy fresh with your leftovers.
At The Milestone Hotel & Residences, Head Bartender Angelo repurposes the orange peel from the oranges used for freshly squeezed orange juice to make the syrup for his Signature Old Fashioned Cocktail. He has kindly shared his recipe below.
1. Clean the oranges with hot water to remove the wax.
2. Dry out the oranges with a towel to ensure the wax has gone.
3. Peel the oranges.
4. Place 100g orange peels in a vacuum bag with 70g caster sugar. This ensures we get a liquid syrup that is ready to use.
5. Leave the mixture overnight.
6. Squeeze the vacuum bag to get all the syrup out.
7. If desired, later you can place the peel in the dehydrator, dry it out and then grind it into a powder that can be used as a cocktail garnish.
Store food in the right places
Storing fruit in a bowl is not always the best idea. Berries and grapes start to deteriorate if not placed in the fridge, while a little-known trick is freezing peeled and cut pineapple. Defrosted, the fruit tastes less tart and is softer to eat. By storing food in the correct ways, there’s less chance of it going off and ending up in the bin.
Join The Red Carnation Hotel Collection in working to eliminate food waste this year.
Image credits: lead image © iStock/KatarzynaBlalasiewicz. Food in re-usable containers © iStock/pitpila. Chopping vegetables © iStock/Mikos. .Women looking in fridge © iStock/gilaxia.