Food waste is a hot topic both for those trying to save lots of cash and also the planet. And nevertheless, the quantity of edible food chucked out in the UK each year has risen to 7.3million tonnes. New figures published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) show that the quantity of waste has spiked by 4.4 percent since 2012, despite efforts from campaigners and a few supermarkets to change public attitudes.
Among those leading the charge to prevent produce ending up in the bin is Danu Gunders, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council in the US who recently released a book on the topic: the Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook. She argues that waste isn't solely harmful to our bank accounts but is ecologically unfriendly and even immoral.
“When food goes to waste, so does everything it takes to induce it to our plates – water, land, energy, and money,” she tells The Independent. A thumping 24 percent of global agricultural freshwater is used to grow food that's ne'er devoured. In fact, if world garbage was a country, it might have the most important carbon footprint when the U.S.A. and China. And a minimum of within the U.S.A., food is additionally the quantity one product being tossed into landfills. It’s tragic to see this waste alongside the fact that once over 800 million individuals are hungry.”
As well as shocking stats, Gunders is armed with the knowledge of high-tech solutions and simple hacks to help people minimize what they throw out in their homes.
"Did you know strawberries last longer when they don’t touch? put them on a single layer on a tray or aerated container with an artifact or towel in between layers to buy for you some further days," she says. . "I was also really surprised to learn that eggs are good for three to five weeks after their expiration date. To test if they're still good, put them in a bowl of water, and if the eggs sink, they're still good to eat. But if they float, they're not good to eat.
"Another trick is to use nearly sour milk as buttermilk to cook up soft and delicious sour milk pancakes.” Planning is also a key. “And I'd grasp. I’m a terrible planner!” admits Gunders. This starts at the food market, wherever you must take some seconds to look back at your basket to check you actually would like the contents.
At home, Gunders acknowledges what she dubs"lazy nights": “nights that inevitably you're not getting to cook, and have learned to create some ‘catch all’ recipes to use ingredients that the first arrange didn't return to fruition.”
Her cupboard is, of course, equipped lots of Tupperware to keep food, and she incorporates a massive soup place for cooking up leftovers and vegetable scraps. In the spirit of life hacking, a number of her favorite tools for saving grub, she adds, are things for different functions. She uses, as an example, to portion leftover soup or chili to freeze.
Gunders also urges people to take confidence in the kitchen. Olive oil, high heat oil, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, mayo, mustard, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, honey, crushed chilies and bay leaves are generally all that's needed to turn near-wilting veg in the back of the fridge into a delicious meal.
And for people nervous of poisoning themselves or their loved ones with produce past the sell-by or use by date on the packet, she urges: “Use your nose. For the most part, you can trust your senses to know when food has gone bad. Milk, yogurt, pasteurized juice, sauces—they can all be subject to the sniff or taste test.
"Expiration dates aren’t always related to whether or not food is safe to consume. In the UK, those that say 'best before' are used to indicate the 'peak quality' or freshness of a product, while those that say 'use by' really mean not to consume after the date. Another main criterion for evaluating food safety, regardless of the date on the package, is the amount of time food spends in the temperature 'danger zone': 4 to 48 °C”
"The products to be careful with are those they tell pregnant women to avoid - like deli meats and unpasteurized dairy products - and anything with mold."
While cutting waste is low tech, stresses Gunders, tech junkies can have their fun too. "Ethylene absorbers, which sit in your produce drawer help extend the life of fruits and vegetables, as do apps that help you manage your food and purchases. Smart fridges are starting to appear, offering limited capabilities now, but in the future could include a variety of features to help you manage your food and extend its life.”
But Gunders has set her sights outside the kitchen. She is taking the fight even wider and is currently testing how cities can measure food waste in order to prevent it, to lessen landfill burdens, hunger, and hit climate goals.
Also Read: Check Out The Top 10 Best Food Waste Apps