According to Love Food Hate Waste around 6.5 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in the UK and even more shockingly, 4.5 million tonnes of this is edible! Not only is this a costly exercise but it also has an impact on our environment. We are delighted to have our home economist, Cesar Fernandez offer his advice on how you can minimise your food waste, along with three of the best appliances to help prolong your produce.
It’s all in the planning
“Get into a good routine of creating a meal plan and stick to it. It might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but a little structure goes a long way. Be creative and think of alternatives in case you can’t find an ingredient.
Check the best before and use by dates of anything that you’ve got in the fridge and remember to move these ingredients to the front when you go shopping and move any newer products to the back.
Search for local farmers markets and shops. Not only they will have fresh seasonal produce, but you are more likely to stick to your plan by not being tempted by multiple buy offers.
Don’t let food go to waste
Try to keep the evening before you go shopping as your ‘fridge foraging’ meal. Check what needs to be used and get creative. Just a few vegetables can be turned into a delicious and creamy vegetable bake when topped with breadcrumbs, garlic and herbs.
The way I prevent bread from going to waste, without eating it all at once (!) is to freeze it sliced. You can then take out slices, as and when is needed and toast straight from the freezer.
Make your own snacks at home using the skins of vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes. Brush with a little oil, salt and pepper and bake in the oven. Or perhaps, roast the seeds from a butternut squash or pumpkin that you’re about to cook with. This can be done easily in our gourmet warming drawer, simply select 85C and dehydrate for 2 -3 hours or until ready.
Pesto is great way to use up any herbs that are starting to go a bit limp, and if you are buying bunched carrots, use can also use the tops in the pesto. Salsa verde is another great one for wilted herbs, simply blend with some vinegar, lemon juice and oil to brighten up grilled meats easily.
Make the most of all of the ingredient. Cauliflower leaves are great shredded through a bubble and squeak or roasted in the oven, while broccoli stalks are delicious shredded in a stir fry, or slow cooked with a little garlic, oil and chili. There is also the same nutritional value in the stalks as there is in the florets!”.
Prolong the life of your produce Refrigeration
Fresh food is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet but not everyone has the time to shop frequently. Fridges with Miele’s innovative PerfectFresh Pro compartments will help keep your fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and dairy fresh for considerably longer than a conventional refrigerator while retaining all the essential flavour and vitamins.
The temperature in a Miele PerfectFresh Pro zone is maintained automatically between 0° and 3°C. Lower than a standard refrigerator, this is the optimum temperature range for storing fresh food which is not sensitive to cold such as pineapples and avocados, as the deterioration process is decelerated. The humidity level in the PerfectFresh Pro zone can also be regulated to suit the food you are storing symbolised by one, two or three drops on the compartment lids. Food retains its own moisture if stored at a higher humidity and so does not dry out as quickly. This allows it to stay crisp and fresh for longer.
There are two compartments for you to choose from. The top dry compartment is ideal for storing wrapped fish, meat and dairy produce thanks to a temperature range of 0°- 3°C with the humidity level not increased. The bottom compartment is great for fruits and vegetables with the humidity increased to ensure that they remain fresh. Always take food out of the PerfectFresh Pro zone around 30 to 60 minutes before you use it, as the aroma and taste do not fully develop until food has reached room temperature.
Extend the shelf life of your food Vacuum sealing drawer
Depending on the initial condition of your food, vacuum sealing can extend its shelf life between three and five times, which is great when preparing dishes in advance or batch cooking. Portion control is essential for reducing food waste and the Miele Sous Vide Vacuum Sealing Drawer allows you to purchase in bulk but separate produce so nothing is wasted.
When it comes to freezing food, vacuum sealing can help to eliminate freezer burn and increase storage space by removing bulky original packaging. Never go to the larder again and throw away a soggy packet of biscuits or half eaten bag of crisps, simply reseal them in their original packaging or tip them into a vacuum bag with the air removed to preserve the essential crunch. Jars can also be placed in the drawer to replace the pop so there is no need to throw them away after a couple of days’ use.
Preserve fruits and vegetables Steam ovens
You might think steam ovens are just great for delicately cooking dishes to perfection and you wouldn’t be wrong, but did you know that they can also be used for preserving fruits and vegetables as well as blanching food before freezing to help retain the quality and nutrients? And that’s not all! Miele Steam Ovens can also be used to gently defrost frozen food, prove dough, extract juice, melt chocolate, reheat cooked food, make yoghurt, sterilise baby bottles and, thanks to a dedicated Sous Vide programme, slow cook food in vacuum packaging without the need for a water bath, perfect for succulent 24-hour pulled pork.