Corrigan’s City Farm shows you how to reduce your food waste.
The Facts about Ireland’s domestic food waste:
Every year Irish supermarkets throw out on average 67,500 tonnes of food waste a year. Much of this food is perfectly fresh and edible but as it may be too close to its sell by date to be sold at full price it is binned.
But we are the worst offenders. Irish homes waste a total of 288,000 tonnes of food waste every year that’s over approx four times the amount of food wasted by our supermarkets…….
More than 30 % of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions come from food production. Plus most of our food waste ends up in landfill sites, where it decomposes into toxic effluent and methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
The United Nations now estimates that the world’s agricultural land may decline in productivity by up to 25% this century, which could undermine our future ability to grow enough food at all.
A recent report on food waste in the UK stated that ‘One in every three bags of food bought ends up in the bin.’
There are nearly a billion undernourished people in the world but all of them could be fed on just a fraction of the food that rich countries currently throw away. By buying more food than we are going to eat we devour land and resources that could otherwise be used to feed the worlds poor.
A lot of money can be saved by following the tips below and reducing your food waste. Maura from the Mahon allotments kept a diary of the food her family wasted over a period of two weeks and calculated that she had wasted @ €71.45.That ads up to an incredible €1,857.70 a year! You can watch this story at 20:30 on Corrigan’s City Farm on RTÉ 1 on Wednesday the 21st October.
Martin from the Blackpool allotment has spent the last year and a half reducing his food waste. For tips on how you can do the same watch Corrigan’s City Farm at 20:30 on RTÉ 1 on Wednesday the 28th October.
Tips on how to reduce your food waste:
- Decide what meals you are going to eat for the week in advance. Do up a shopping list and stick to it.
- Don’t be seduced by the BOGOf’s (Buy one get one free).
- Do not stock up on too many perishable foods.
- Buy less more often.
- Pre packed fruit, vegetables and meat are rarely the exact amount you need. Some of it will go mouldy or untouched.
- You could get your weekly (monthly) basics delivered by an online supermarket and buy fresh produce when you need it locally.
- Buy less more often.
- Buy a few plastic boxes for your fridge. They will prevent cheese, butter, half a tomato etc from drying out.
- Use empty plastic bottles or ice cream tubs to store excess soup, sauces and stocks. It’s finicky but once you get into the habit of not throwing out food it’s hard to go back.
- Use an old metal bread bin for storing root vegetables. Always take off the plastic wrapping or they will sprout.
- If you have a load of fruit that is about to go off and you have the time and inclination make a load of jam.
- Fridge should be set at 5degrees; cooked food should be cool before you store it in the fridge. Raw and cooked should be kept on separate shelves. All leftover food should be well covered. Wrapped in clingfilm or in an airtight box.
- Things to remember cooked meat keeps in the fridge for 3 – 5 days, keep it well wrapped to stop it drying out. Cooked vegetables will keep for 3 – 5 days.
- One of the best ways to save time and money in the long run is to plan to make larger quantities than you know you will need for one meal, so you can freeze and eat later. Stews freeze well in small amounts as do soups, casseroles and bakes. Meatballs, lasagne, fish pie, cottage and shepherds pie are all great freezer fodder. Whatever you freeze wrap it well to avoid freezer ‘burn’, which toughens and dries out the food. Remember that liquid expands as it freezes so don’t overfill containers.
- You can batch freeze most vegetables by blanching first, that way it lasts much longer.
- You can freeze anything form leftover cooked meat, whole tomatoes
(Remove stalks first and then use in sauces when defrosted… as they will be mushy).
- The best way to defrost is to stick it on a plate in the fridge and thaw slowly.
- Once thawed do not refreeze! However you can cook it up in a casserole or soup or whatever when thawed and then refreeze.
How much to cook:
- Have you ever found yourself cooking too much pasta or rice? It never looks enough in its raw state. We throw away huge amounts of pasta every year.
- Get yourself a weighing scales and use these general measures as a rule of thumb.
Pasta 100g per adult @60g for primary school age child.
Rice 80g per adult, 50gr per child (or 2 ½ tablespoons per child).
Mashed potato @200g per adult and 100g per child (peeled weight of raw potatoes).
Vegetables: the recommended single portion amount for a five a day diet is 80 g per adult and 50g per child or 3 heaped tablespoons per adult and 1 – 2 per child.
Best Before dates:
- We need to start using our commonsense again when it comes to judging if food has gone off. If food is clearly rotten throw it out or compost it. If it smells odd, has turned a funny colour, has mould on it or is slimy then bin it! You should never take chances but you can trust yourself to make your own careful decisions. Cut mould off cheese and fruit and eat. Fruit are often at their best as they reach the end of their lives.
- Most food is fine to eat beyond its best before date. Best before dates refer to quality rather than food safety. We do not advise eating eggs beyond their best by date. However one way of finding out if an egg is off is: fresh eggs will sink in a bowl of water and rotten eggs will float, anything in between is suspect. Use by dates are the ones you need to adhere to. They indicate when food should absolutely not be eaten beyond that date. Sell by dates are for shop staff only to help them with stock control.