With the cost of food rising, the last thing you want is to have to clear your fridge of wasted, spoiled food.
We’ve all been there. A bag of wilted spinach that was never opened, or a sad bowl of mushy fruit – food is easy to forget or mismatch and let go to waste. But this waste can be avoided with mindful preparation and planning.
In 2018 (the most recent available official data), food wastage cost the UK £19 billion, with households alone responsible for £13.8 billion. Each UK household could be saving hundreds a year by lessening food wastage.
Making fewer trips to the supermarket and cutting down on wasted groceries is one of the easiest ways to save on unnecessary snack splurges and make sure you’re using up everything you bought.
But the good food practices don’t end there, and with the cost-of-living crisis biting, what are some of the best ways to make the most of every shop?
Cutting your own food waste can save you some much-needed cash at a time when money might be tight.
Top tips to make your food last longer
From the best ways to store greens, to what foods to separate, these tips have got you and your groceries covered.
1. Store cut or peeled raw veg in water to keep it fresh and crisp. One of the best ways to slow your freshly cut veggies drying out between meals is to cover them with water in a jar or Tupperware and store them in the fridge. If you chop them up first, they’ll be ready for you to use whenever you need and you’ll be less likely to forget about them
2. If you’re only using half an avocado at a time, eat the side without the pip first. Leaving the pip in slows the avocado browning, giving you more time between uses. This can also be fully submerged in water for best results, as it’s the oxygen exposure that causes the flesh to brown!
3. Keep your milk at the back of the fridge! The best place in the fridge for milk actually isn’t the door. While it may be more accessible, the door is one of the warmest places in the fridge, so keep it further back to lengthen its lifespan.
4. Store a paper towel with your leafy greens in an airtight container to absorb any excess moisture, and keep them crisp. Wash and dry them first (easiest with a salad spinner).
5. Potatoes are the most wasted single food in the UK according to The Eco Experts – Store your potatoes with apples, it will slow the sprouting process! The gas that apples produce help to keep your potatoes sprout-free and firmer for longer.
6. Save crystalised honey with heat. Place your jar of hardened honey into a pot of hot water for 30 minutes, or microwave it (not in a plastic container) or a minute, and it will melt back to its original state.
7. No more slimy mushrooms! Storing mushrooms in paper bags, rather than plastic packaging, allows them to stay dry for longer.
8. If you forgot the paper towel trick, gently dunk your wilted greens in ice cold water for half an hour to crunch them up again! Use them as soon as possible after, as this trick rarely works more than once.
9. Freeze your bread! Especially if you live alone, bread is one of the most commonly wasted foods – store it in the freezer and defrost/toast when needed to never be greeted with a mouldy slice ever again.
10. Keep bananas away from your fruit bowl to stop the other fruits from going brown quickly. Ripening bananas release a gas that speeds up decay for others around it!
11. Ginger lasts longest in the freezer. It also makes it much easier to peel.
12. Let cheese breathe by double wrapping it in baking paper, rather than plastic, inside an airtight container at the top of the fridge. This will keep it fresh for weeks, while retaining its flavour.