Know what you have – and use it!

A huge amount of food waste occurs in the home, often because we’ve simply forgotten what’s hiding in our fridges, freezers and storage cupboards. Take a few simple steps to get more out of the food you already have.

Keep an eye on the use by dates on perishable items, and freeze items you can’t eat before the date shown. Meat, fish, cheese and ready meals are often the most expensive things we buy, so it’s worth freezing them to enjoy later.

Keep most fruit and veg in their original bag in the fridge or, if unpackaged, use the salad drawer to keep them fresher for longer. Some fruits, including bananas and citrus fruit, and vegetables such as potatoes and onions have special storage instructions; see the resources section for where to keep these.

Stock up on basics and essentials that have a long shelf-life. Tinned beans, tomatoes and lentils, frozen vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, pasta, noodles, rice and grains are all long-lasting ingredients. Mix them with items close to their use by date to make last-minute meals, or to bulk out leftovers to make each meal go further.

Before you nip to the shop, see what you can ‘buy’ from your own kitchen! What’s hiding on your top shelves or deep in the freezer? Use up the end of that bag of salad before you plan other meals, using the resources section for a bit of inspiration.

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