This week Tesco announced that they are scrapping ‘best before’ labels on nearly 70 of their fruit and vegetable products in a bid to reduce unnecessary food waste. Among the items that will no longer have a ‘best before’ date are apples, lemons, tomatoes, potatoes and onions.
A ‘best before’ date is different to a ‘use by’ date but many of us confuse the two. According to the NHS when a ‘best before’ date is passed ‘it doesn’t mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture’. However over-cautious consumers are throwing away edible food because of the misunderstandings around food labels.
The result, according to charity Love Food Hate Waste, is that the average family of four is chucking up to £70 worth of perfectly good food into the bin every month. Over a year that’s over £800 wasted.
A change in supermarket labelling could help reduce food waste, but there are simple tricks you can do at home to waste less, save money and make your weekly shop go further.
Eggs Unsure if an egg is still alright to eat? Pop it in a glass of water. Stale eggs float; fresh eggs sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Bananas If you’ve got a rapidly browning bunch in the fruit bowl, peel, slice and freeze. Bag up in a ziplock, then throw them straight into your morning smoothie.
Potatoes Can be frozen – just boil for five minutes beforehand. Thaw the night before you want to use them. Mash freezes well, too.
Bread Goes stale FASTER in the fridge. A bread bin or kitchen cupboard is where your loaf belongs. Frozen bread can be toasted straight from the freezer. Don’t add to the 20 million slices of bread that are thrown away every day in the UK.
Herbs When a recipe demands fresh herbs it’s often tricky to use up a whole packet. ‘Hard’ herbs like rosemary or thyme can be frozen in an ice cube tray with a little olive oil to cover them. Pop your herb cubes straight from the freezer into your cooking.
Sugar If it’s formed into a hard lump, reheat in the microwave in a bowl covered with kitchen paper to absorb the moisture.
Biscuits If you’ve managed to keep them long enough to go soft, you can bring them back to life by popping in a low oven to firm up again.
Portion control Have a habit of overloading your trolley? Use this genius portion calculator to get a more accurate idea of how much you actually need.
Find more tips on Love Food Hate Waste.