In the UK a family of four will spend on average between £70-£80 a week on food. However, recent reports show that on average each household is throwing away around £60 worth of food a month! So with many of us trying to save money, reducing the amount of food that we waste could be a much needed and drastic change that can help us to do this.
Many people are scared to eat food that is past its sell by date, but should we feel this way? I have always been taught that the best way to know if food has gone off is to use our senses. By this I mean our sense of smell and how it looks. Here are a few ideas of how to make the most of the food that we buy that is near the end of its life, and also how not to throw good food away just because it is past its sell by date.
As a mum of two young boys, I know from daily experience just how true the saying ‘They’ll eat you out of house and home’ can be. They are non-stop eating machines. Because of this, I like to make sure that I am in control of our food shopping. I try my best to give my boys good healthy snacks and meals (although we do have a lovely area in our kitchen called the treat cupboard), but healthy food usually means a bigger bill. So how can we make sure that we are making the most of the food we buy?
Here are a few tips that my mum taught me that might help you to save money by not throwing away perfectly good food.
I don’t think that I am wrong in saying that meat is probably the most feared of all the food types. The thought of eating off meat is enough to turn your stomach. However, meat is also one of our most expensive foods. So we really don’t want to just throw it in the bin if it is at all possible.
My mum taught me that the best way to know if meat is edible or not is to smell it. For me there is nothing more disgusting than the smell of off chicken! So don’t throw away meat that looks good and smells good just because the date on the packet has passed.
Eggs are a staple item in most of our kitchens. We love them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even pudding. But sometimes we do find eggs that have gone past their sell by date. So should we just throw them straight in the bin? No. The best way to know if eggs are off is to put them in a pan of cold water. If the eggs sink to the bottom then they are perfectly good to eat (even if their stamp tells you otherwise) and if they float then they are ready for the bin. Simple!
Have you ever reached for the cheese to make a delicious cheese toastie, only to find that whoever used it last didn’t wrap it up properly? Because of this, a big chunk of it has gone rock hard. But do you need to throw the whole block away? No, you can save money by just cutting off the stale part. This way you can still have your cheese toastie and keep your pennies in your purse.
You probably think that bananas are a bit of a funny thing to mention, but who really wants to eat a black banana? Well, even though they aren’t very appealing as they are, over ripe bananas are just what you need to make a tasty banana loaf. So rather than look upon them as food that is ready for the bin. Why not turn them into something really delicious that the kids will love to make with you.
Bread is another one of those ingredients that we eat most days, yet somehow we can sometimes come across the odd stale slice (apparently I don’t wrap it up properly, but I’ll leave that conversation for another time). But is there anything that we can do with stale bread? Well, depending on where you come from there is a great dish called ‘french toast’ or ‘eggy bread’ and this is the perfect meal to use up those last few slices of bread that are just that little bit too hard to use for a sandwich.
So there we have it. A few simple tips on how to make the most of the food we buy so that we stop throwing our hard earned money in the bin.
Do you have any tips or recipes that can help us reduce the amount of food we waste?