- The EPA’s Stop Food Waste Programme is encouraging everyone to start the New Year afresh by rethinking our food storage habits, sorting the freezer, and avoid throwing out up to €700 worth of food every year.
To help kick start this process, Odile Le Bolloch, spokesperson for Stop Food Waste at the EPA, suggests tackling the contents of your freezer.
“Freezers are a great friend to every kitchen but they can become a disorganised food black hole in no time. Food goes in there with best of intentions of future consumption but ends up coming out to go straight into the bin because we can’t remember how many weeks, months, even years it’s been in there! So this week why not go to your freezer –and make a list. Put the list on the side of your freezer and plan a series of meals around what is in it - this is food that will cost you nothing but if forgotten may become a waste.”
Once order has been restored, here are Stop Food Waste’s series of tips for great freezer management:
1. Try and keep your freezer organised - this will take a bit of regular maintenance but is always worth it.
2. Invest in a permanent marker and label's so you can label and date everything you put in the freezer, that ay you won't wonder how long its been there in a few months time.
3. Maintain the list on the side of your freezer (including the date the food went in) - this can be updated regularly or if you are a techno-chef check out some of the freezer apps for smartphones
4. Make sure your fridge and freezer are maintained properly - this will ensure food is cooled properly and saves on electricity costs too.
5. Use freezer bags - they take up less space than containers and can store most foods. Lay partially filled bags flat in the freezer and once they are frozen, stack them upright in rows, like books on a shelf!
6. Try and use the 'First In First Out' policy - this is what supermarket do for stock control and its worth following
7. Freezers run more efficiently when full so learning to flash freeze food that you might get on special offer is a good way to ensure a fully stocked freezer
8. When cooking casseroles and stews, why not cook double and freeze for convenient home-made ready meals!
9. Instead of wasting lemons, cut a lemon into slices and freeze on a tray - once they're frozen you can store in a bag - that way when you're fixing yourself a gin and tonic, after all that batch cooking for your freezer, you have a lemon and ice-cubes all in one!
So before going shopping, to buy more food, have a closer look at your freezer, and see if you can save yourself money and reduce food waste. Check out the External linkStopFoodWaste website for more information, tips and recipes.
About The STOP Food Waste Programme
The STOP Food Waste programme is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP). Waste Prevention is the preferred waste management option in Ireland. By not generating waste, we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste. We can also avoid having to pay for these services. In light of the significant issues arising from the disposal of food waste, and the realisation of the costs associated with this, the NWPP Prevention Plan 2009-2012 set out to promote food waste prevention and home composting. External linkwww.stopfoodwaste.ie