We’re lucky to live in a country with an abundance of fresh, local produce that’s affordable and accessible. But this often leads to food wastage – the statistics actually say that the average Australian household throws away over $1,000 of food every year. This equates to one in every five bags of groceries, and it doesn’t include produce that’s considered “imperfect”.
Here are a few alarming facts I came across drafting this post*
At Christmas it can be tempting to fill your shopping trolley – it’s a time of year when you buy things you never normally would (in case distant relatives make a surprise visit). With this annual extravagance looming it’s worth knowing a few ways you can plan ahead and avoid your excess festive food ending up in landfill.
Follow these 3 steps to reduce your food wastage:
1. Be smarter about food storage and using your freezer
You’re in danger of fresh produce spoiling if you don’t properly preserve it. Good storage involves glass containers, cling wrap, bags with seals and more. GLAD, famous for its plastic wrap, has recognised this problem and released a free digital guide called “Keep it Fresh” – it educates Australians on how to protect and preserve fresh produce to maximise nutrients and freshness and ultimately reduce food waste. Download the guide at glad.com.au/keepitfresh – it’s an easy way to learn how to protect and preserve fresh produce.
When it comes to food preservation your freezer is your biggest asset. Buy bags of frozen vegetables like peas and carrots and you won’t have to worry about using them quickly. You can also double or triple the ingredients for ‘freezable’ meals like soups and casseroles and store individual portions in the freezer portions for later use. What else can you freeze? Your can freeze all types of meat. So if you buy too much beef mince or too many sausages for your Boxing Day BBQ then freeze what you don’t need in a seal-able storage bag.
2. Cook only what you need
A quarter of school lunches go to waste and every night kilos of dinner leftovers go straight from the table to the bin. To avoid this excess turning into waste consider yours and your family’s likely appetites when planning Christmas meals. For example if you know your kids are likely to leave half of the sandwiches you make them, or you had a late lunch then plan smaller meals. Save yourself the guilt of throwing away leftovers and cook just a little bit less. A table of clean plates will also be a happier ending to a family dinner.
3. Support Australian initiatives aimed at reducing food wastage
OzHarvest: Over the last 10 years OzHarvest has saved over 10,000 tonnes of food that would have otherwise been wasted. That food has been re-distributed to provide over 30 million meals to Aussies in need. OzHarvest now operates as a perishable food rescue operation across all major Australian cities. You can support OzHarvest by making a donation, purchasing the OzHarvest cookbook and even through volunteering.
Imperfect picks from Harris Farm: According to Horticulture Australia 25% of fruit and vegetables never leave the farm gate simply because they’re a bit ugly and don’t meet strict requirements set by our supermarkets. Here Harris Farm is leading a change – with their ‘Imperfect Picks’ range – imperfect produce at as much as half the cost of standard produce. The colour, size or shape may be slightly unusual but it’s still tasty and fresh. Get on board and you’ll reduce food wastage and save money.
By Feast Wisely
* From OzHarvest and GLAD
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