We know that food waste is a massive issue across Australia. The best way that we can tackle it is to waste less food – which sounds obvious, we know, but you’d be surprised how much fresh produce is left to go bad before we realise it. And don't feel bad, we all do it. Luckily there are some simple strategies and small changes that can help you to do your part and save money--all while making a meaningful contribution to Australia’s food waste problem.
- Organise and Label Food
Effective food storage begins with proper organisation and labelling. Keeping your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer organized allows you to see what you have readily available, reducing the chances of forgetting about perishable items that may spoil over time. Labelling containers and bags with the date of purchase or preparation can help you prioritise food items based on freshness and prevent items from going unnoticed until they are past their prime.
- Make use of the First In, First Out (FIFO) Principle
The FIFO principle is widely used in commercial kitchens and is equally beneficial at home. When restocking your pantry or refrigerator, place newly purchased or prepared items at the back, and move the older ones to the front. By using older items first, you ensure that nothing gets forgotten and expires before it is consumed.
- Utilise Better Storage Options
Good & Fugly works with Veggie Saver to help you store produce better. These bags really are magic, and are able to keep celery crunchy for two weeks! The more time that you have to use produce, the more likely it is that it will be used, and so treat yourself to a couple of these bags.
- Vacuum Seal Foods for a Really Long Life
For foods that need a longer shelf life, consider investing in a vacuum sealer. Vacuum-sealed packages remove air, slowing down the oxidation process and preserving the quality of the food for an extended period. This method is especially effective for meats, fish, and other items that are prone to spoilage.
- Watch the Temperature Control
Maintaining the appropriate temperature in your refrigerator and freezer is crucial for prolonging the freshness of your food. The refrigerator should be set to 1-4°C (34-40°F) to slow down bacterial growth, while the freezer should be kept at -18°C (0°F) or lower to preserve food quality for an extended period.
- Use Crisper Drawers Effectively
Most refrigerators come equipped with crisper drawers designed to maintain optimal humidity levels for fruits and vegetables. Store fruits and vegetables separately to avoid premature ripening or spoilage caused by ethylene production. Additionally, line the drawers with paper towels to absorb excess moisture, preventing mold growth. And if you want to make fruit and veg go a lot longer, give Vegesaver a try --it really is amazing. Read about our discovering just how good it is here.
- Freeze Excess Food
If you have perishable items that you cannot consume before they expire, freezing is an excellent solution. Be sure to store them in portions suitable for your needs, as this allows you to defrost only what you require, minimising waste. Remember to label the items with the date of freezing to keep track of their freshness.
- Blanch Before Freezing Vegetables
Before freezing vegetables, blanching is recommended to halt enzymatic activity and preserve their colour, texture, and nutrient content. To blanch, briefly immerse the vegetables in boiling water and then transfer them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once blanched, drain the vegetables and store them in freezer-safe containers.
- Preserve Foods Through Canning
Canning is an age-old method of food preservation that can extend the shelf life of various fruits, vegetables, and even meats. High-acid foods can be preserved through water bath canning, while low-acid foods require pressure canning. Follow proper canning procedures and safety guidelines to ensure the food is safely preserved. Pickling is another option, as one of our Good & Fugly superfans told us recently!
- Make Use of Leftovers
Leftovers are often a major source of food waste. Instead of discarding them, get creative and repurpose them into new dishes. For example, yesterday's roasted vegetables can be transformed into a tasty stir-fry or an omelet filling. The key is to use your imagination and experiment with different flavour combinations. That way, it doesn’t feel like you’re simply trying to make use of leftovers, but you’re creating yet more genuinely interesting and tasty meals for the family.
Together, by following these simple steps, we can all take steps toward a more sustainable future and ensure that precious resources are not squandered unnecessarily.