With the earth now facing ‘unchecked global heating‘ as the reality, rather than a possibility, it’s imperative that we all wake up to the climate impact of wasting food, and take steps to do all we can to curb it.
Did you know wasting food feeds climate change and that 70% of all food waste in the uK comes from households? Thats why I am taking part in Food Waste Action Week this year, and showing you how your freezer can help reduce your food waste.
It’s the perfect time to make a positive change, and help reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving global food waste by 2030. This year it takes place from the 7th – 13th March 2022.
This is a sponsored post, in collaboration with Food Waste Action Week.
Food Waste – What’s The Issue?
You probably know a few people who’ve considered going vegan, or giving up flights, to help the planet. But did you know that wasted food accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions globally than all of the (pre-pandemic) commercial flights we take each year?
Whether lacking the skills or knowledge to know what to do with what we have left, choosing a no-fuss takeaway, or making last minute plans, there are lots of reasons for food ending up in the bin. And whilst no-one wants to say no to an impromptu dinner with friends, there are simple ways to stop our social lives from creating an unnecessary carbon cost.
My Secret Weapon – The Humble Freezer
My freezer is the first place I go when I can’t be arsed to cook, and it’s not because I spent all weekend batch cooking. I’m not into spending hours in the kitchen, and I get tired of eating the same things over and over again. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that wasting less food means eating boring food!
In reality, I love my freezer because it’s full of simple staples which I can always use to create something quick and tasty with minimal effort.
By stocking up on foods like this (and not on short-lived fresh foods), I know that changing my dinner plans at the last minute won’t lead to waste. Shopping and eating this way also works out a lot cheaper than always buying fresh. Most frozen food products offer better value than their fresh counterparts – for example, frozen spinach can be up to 71% cheaper than bagged, fresh leaves.
But despite the humble freezer being an amazing tool for saving food, 35% of UK citizens say theirs is a total disaster of miscellaneous food stuffs. To avoid playing ‘freezer roulette’ at home, label your boxes and freezer bags, and don’t forget to include the date they were frozen.
It’s also worth getting into the habit of checking the freezer before heading to buy more food (and the same goes for the fridge). Essentially it’s about making an effort to defrost and eat up what’s already there, instead of filling the freezer with miscellaneous items that may never get used.
Five of my favourite freezer-fillers:
- Frozen puff pastry: I use this to top homemade pies, as a base for quick tarts (like this leek & onion one), or to wrap around spears of asparagus or green olives if I’m making snacks for a party.
- Frozen berries: I chuck these straight from frozen into smoothies, onto porridge or into cereal. I eat them defrosted with yoghurt or ice cream, and never have to worry that they’ve gone smushy before I had a chance to eat them. If you do have fresh berries in the fridge that you won’t eat up in time – try freezing them in a reusable container to use up in exactly the same ways.
- Frozen edamame: You’ve probably had these freshly steamed in their pods at a restaurant before, but you can also buy them podded, frozen, and ready to be chucked into boiling salted water. I add these to stir fries, or snack on them sprinkled with soy sauce, Japanese 7 spice, and sesame oil. Much cheaper than ordering them in!
- Frozen cooked potatoes: Freeze boiled or roasted potatoes when you have too many to use up in one go. You can defrost them in batches to make my go-to hangover brunch: curried potato hash topped with a poached egg.
- Frozen spinach: We throw away staggering amounts of bagged salad in the UK, but we don’t always need to use fresh leaves. For instance, spinach comes frozen into handy blocks which can be dropped into a curry, soup or pasta dish to defrost. Due to its density, frozen spinach also has more than four times the amount of nutrients (such as fibre, folate, iron and calcium) per serving. Use it to make this quick saag aloo – which also uses up some more of those previously frozen potatoes.
My Fave Food Waste Fighting Recipe
To view the full step-by-step recipe for smashed peas & feta on toast, click here.