It’s time for more of us to reduce food waste at home. Did you know that we throw away 7.3 million tonnes of food each year in the UK? That’s around £13 billion worth in total or around £60 per household each month.
That means that on average each person wastes the equivalent of two and a half main meals a week.
Now I don’t know about you but with Christmas looming on the horizon and the cheerful news that interest rates have increased for the first time in a decade, saving as much money as possible is a bit of a focal point in the Hobbis household.
According to the people at Love Food Hate Waste, a campaign aimed at helping people to reduce food waste at home, this means that we waste enough food and drink to cover an area the size of Wales which, given that I live in this beautiful country, is a very sobering thought indeed.
Here’s another thought – if we could prevent this level of food waste, it would have the same environmental benefit as taking one in four cars off the road.
If you, like us, bought diesel cars because you were told they were more environmentally friendly only to find this was completely incorrect, then you might find your car off the road anyway …. but I digress.
Although this is a global issue, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do our bit to help. Small changes can make a big difference.
Saving food saves money and helps to slow down global warming and deforestation, and reducing the amount of food that ends up in the bin also means you can say goodbye to unnecessary packaging waste.
Now that the potato season has started, it’s time to Save Our Spuds and support Love Food Hate Waste’s latest campaign.
Yes, save the humble potato. We buy 1.7 million tonnes of them every year but waste 730,000 tonnes – 46% of all potatoes bought. I don’t know about you but given the amount of poverty in this country alone, that is a criminal amount of waste.
But we’re all guilty of it, aren’t we? The main reason so many spuds are chucked is that we don’t use them in time (50%).
Most are thrown away unpackaged (89%) and in a weight greater than 800g – that’s 25% of all potato waste.
Part of the problem, I think, is that we all tend to overbuy. Supermarkets seem to either offer 4 packs of baking potatoes or jumbo bags of white potatoes. And, hands up, buying them prepackaged is often far easier when you have two squabbling tweens at either end of your trolley.
Another problem is that many of us don’t plan our meals so buy our fruit and veg on a just-in-case basis.
The road to food waste hell is truly paved with good intentions – I am forever planning to cook a shepherds pie or sausage and mash and will cave in and dish up pizza or something ready made.
Storage is another problem. Our spuds are kept in a cupboard with things like garlic and lemons and usually appear slightly green and sprouty when the Husband finally rescues them to bulk out a curry or make a soup.
In case you’re wondering – here’s how to store spuds properly:-
- Store them in a cool, dark, airy place
- Keep them in their own packaging or put them into a cloth or natural fibre bag if you prefer
- Store them away from strong-smelling foods like onions
- DON’T throw out the sprouting ones – when exposed to artificial or natural light, they can develop a green colour due to chemical changes. But you can just cut off the green bits and still eat the rest of the potato
How many of us lob the green and sprouty ones away!
The humble spud is a brilliant standby for a quick meal, whether you just microwave and fill them or bake them for an hour in the oven with their skin rubbed with olive oil and sea salt.
If you are particularly inventive you could try making potato vodka although if you struggle to find the time to microwave a jacket potato you might struggle a bit with that one, although it might make school holidays slightly more bearable.
You can also use spuds in your beauty routine to soften skin and hair and even treat sunburn.
Or around the house, potatoes and baking soda are apparently effective at treating rust.
If all else fails, there’s always chips. You can save yourself a small fortune by creating your own fake-away fish and chips which will be less calorific and better for you and you won’t have to go out in the cold and risk ‘accidentally’ purchasing 3 bread rolls, several litres of diet coke, gravy and a Clarks Pie.
We can all do our bit to Save Our Spuds and reduce food waste at home with a simple shopping list and meal plan. Given that food prices continue to rise endlessly, saving money, as well as our spuds can only be a win-win situation.