LFHW blog logo

The top 3 wasted foods and what to do with them instead

Category:

Tips and Tricks

Date:

Friday, August 11, 2017 10:00 AM

Love heart eggs 

If you’re like most people, you don’t actually want to waste food.

But somehow it still seems to end up in the bin – forgotten at the back of the fridge, left in a schoolbag or your plans changed and you didn’t get around to cooking it. Sound familiar?

Food waste doesn’t just cost us money ($2,200 for the average family in fact!)

It also wastes a valuable resource that we all depend on to live, as well as the water, energy and fuel and greenhouse gas emissions that went into producing it.

So to keep more of the good stuff out of the rubbish bin, a good place to start is to look at the top 3 food items wasted by Victorian households.

1. Bread, pastry and biscuits 

Wasted bread 
 
Bread usually gets thrown away because it goes stale or mouldy before we can eat it. The simplest way to avoid wasting it then, is to buy only the amount you need by buying smaller loaves or rolls. 
 
If you have a large loaf that you won’t get through, freeze half to use for toast and keep the fresh slices for sandwiches. 
 
Keep bread in the pantry or on the benchtop, as it will actually go stale faster in the fridge. 
 
And if you need to use up bread quickly, there’s plenty you can do. Dice into cubes and bake or freeze for croutons, blitz stale bread into breadcrumbs and freeze, or slather rolls with butter and garlic and freeze for a quick weeknight garlic bread. 
 
For biscuits, keep open packets in an airtight container to stop them going stale. Stale sweet biscuits can be crushed and used as crumble topping, bases for a slice or mixed into icecream. 

Stale savoury biscuits can be crushed up to use instead of breadcrumbs on cheesy bakes or meatballs. 
 
It also pays to know that Best Before dates, which you’ll find on most bread and biscuits, actually indicate optimum quality not safety. If an item is past its Best Before date, it just means it might not be as crispy anymore, but it is still perfectly safe to eat.
 
Now wasting pastries is truly something that boggles the mind but if you do happen to have an excess of delicious pastries that you just can’t get through, most pastries can be frozen. Or no doubt your work colleagues, friends and family would probably get through them soon enough.

 

2. Leftovers 

Wasted leftovers 
 
Wasting leftover, pre-cooked meals not only wastes money, but also the time and effort spent making something delicious in the first place.
 
A little bit of pre-planning can go a long way with leftovers. If you want leftovers for tomorrow, be sure to make enough so you don’t have an awkward amount that you don’t end up eating. 
 
Despite the old wives’ tale, leftovers should go back in the fridge as soon as possible after they’ve stopped steaming. It will make them last longer as it limits the time they’re in the ‘temperature danger zone’ of 5-60 degrees Celcius when bacteria spreads quickly.
 
Put hot leftovers in shallow containers and leave space around them in the fridge for air to circulate – they’ll cool down faster which will avoid them warming up other food in the fridge. 
 
Labelling a leftovers shelf in the fridge will stop those containers getting lost behind other items.
 
If you regularly have leftovers that don’t get used up, start a weekly leftovers night to make using up odds and ends part of your routine.
 
If you still have something left over, freeze in individual portions for quick single lunches or dinners. 
 
Need more ideas? Check out our blog the Top 20 leftover ideas from the Love Food Hate Waste community.

 

3. Dairy and eggs

Wasted dairy 
 
Milk, cheese, cream, butter, eggs, yoghurt… these are some of our favourite ingredients.
They’re usually wasted due to concerns about food safety, and fair enough! No one wants to risk a bout of food poisoning or a funny stomach. 
 
So the important thing with dairy and eggs is (repeat after me): Don't let them get to the point of going off.
 
With milk, the first step is of course to buy only what you need. Won’t be home much during the week? Buy a half bottle of milk instead. And if you know it’ll take you a while to get through, pick the milk with the longest expiry date. 
 
Milk, particularly low-fat milk, can be frozen. It may sometimes separate depending on the fat content but even if it does separate, just shake the bottle when it's defrosted. 
 
Cheeses are often cheaper in large blocks so you've really got two choices. Buy the big block and cut it into smaller blocks, wrap in greaseproof paper or foil and freeze it for up to six months (defrost in the fridge).

Or buy smaller amounts - it may cost more per 100 grams but if half of that bargain block of cheese goes mouldy and ends up in the bin, you’ve just thrown that money away anyway. 

 

Storing dairy and eggs correctly is key to getting the longest shelf-life. 
 
Eggs will last longest when stored at a constant temperature below 20°C, so keep them in their carton in the fridge. The carton stops their porous shell from drying out and from taking up any strong flavours nearby.  
 
You can also freeze eggs for up to ten months. Lightly beat whole eggs and add either one teaspoon of salt or one tablespoon of sugar for every six eggs. Label your eggs savoury or sweet and you can use them later in cooking.
 
Hot tip! Not sure if an egg is still ok to eat? Put it in a bowl or glass of water. Stale eggs float while fresh eggs will remain at the bottom of the bowl.
 
Hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan should be stored in airtight containers or wrap (try beeswax wraps instead of disposable cling wrap.) This will stop them drying out.
 
Soft cheeses should be stored in baking paper or waxed cheese paper. Wrap blue cheese in foil but change after a couple of days. 
 
You might be surprised how much can be frozen as well. 
  
As well as milk, yoghurt can be frozen - just give it a good stir when it's thawed. Or make flavoured frozen yoghurt by mixing with over-ripe fruit.
 
Leftover cream can be frozen but should be whipped first to prevent it from becoming grainy when defrosted.
  
Parmesan rinds can be frozen and then dropped into soups to add another depth of flavour. Remove before serving however. 
 
 
So now you know how to avoid the most common wasted foods, set yourself a challenge - why not try a week or a month without waste?
 

Get more saving tips in your newsfeed by following us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/LoveFoodHateWasteVictoria/  

 

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping lis


Top 20 leftover ideas from the community

Category:

Tips and Tricks

Date:

Thursday, July 20, 2017 4:21 PM

woman eating soup

 

Some of the best ideas we’ve come across to reduce food waste haven’t come from cooks and chefs – they’ve come from you!

When we asked you what tricks and tips you used to get the most from your food and use up leftovers we were overwhelmed by the response – and we learnt a few new things as well!

So we wanted to share your wisdom with the world.

Here are the Top 20 tips from the Love Food Hate Waste community to use up leftovers and cut down food waste!

 

1.  Chop up leftover tomato salad or sliced tomatoes and freeze in a container to add to pasta sauce. The fresh tomatoes give it that extra sweet taste. – Franca L

2.  Never waste an avocado again. Lightly mash leftover avocado with a squeeze of lemon and freeze. It defrosts perfectly and tastes delicious! – Michelle F

3.  Mash leftover steamed veggies and add to bolognaise sauce for spaghetti or shepherd’s pie with extra hidden veggies. – Rebekah J

spaghetti bolognese

Chop or mash leftover cooked vegies and add to pasta sauce.

4.  I turn leftover corned beef into smokey beef and baked beans. Shred up the meat, add a can of white beans, can of diced tomatoes, pinch of smoked paprika, onion, garlic and serve it with crusty bread. – Cassy K

5.  Shred leftover roast meat and veg and mix it all up with cooked quinoa, pureed cauliflower and leftover gravy. Into little baking dishes topped with breadcrumbs made from stale bread & a sprinkling of cheese. Best gratins ever! – Nadine H

6.  Turn leftover Aussie barbecue chicken into: Indian biryani using the breast, silky smooth French crepes using the thigh with parsley, cream and mushrooms and the carcass can make a healthy English chicken and vegetable soup. – Jill A

7.  Pestos aren't all about basil - you can make great green pesto pastes using the green tops of vegetables like fennel, or carrot.  Super yummy in salads, soups and on homemade pizza!  - Helen K

8.  I turn my leftovers into a MasterChef mystery box challenge! The rules are simple you can only use your leftovers and some basic pantry staples to create a new meal. It’s so much fun to see what you can create! – Kathryn R

food on a chopping board

Make it a challenge to get creative with odds and ends. 

9.  My brother and I often have a leftovers cook-off to see who can make the best dish. Pasta or Asian style noodles often have the best results. – Marika H

10.  Freeze steamed veggies in a large container to be made into bubble ‘n squeak and freeze leftover citrus in ice-cubes for fancy cold water – Jessica C

11.  Leftover roasted pumpkin is a beautiful thing because it can go in almost everything. Veggie lasagna, pumpkin muffins, warm pumpkin scones or pumpkin pie! – Dave B

12.  Turn leftover roast chicken into risotto, using the chicken carcass to make the stock and including any meat and leftover roast pumpkin or sweet potato, plus some fresh spinach and grated parmesan to finish off. – Lucy R

13.  After a roast chicken dinner, make curry with leftovers and chicken noodle soup with the bones. – Corinna H

Roast chicken

Everyone loves a roast chook - especially when you can get a second meal from it!

14.  Roast chicken and eggplant always gets turned into Malaysian Curry Laksa the next day. All you need is laksa paste, coconut milk, stock and then add the cooked chicken, eggplant, some tofu and noodles. – Gabriela T

15.  Make a batch of Spiced Pumpkin Popsicles. I use milk that I've evaporated then frozen when it got close to its Use By date, and leftover roast pumpkin that was mashed and frozen too. – Tessa H

16.  Leftover carrot cake becomes an amazing trifle with homemade custard, orange-flavoured jelly and whipped cream with shaved dark chocolate. – Melissa M

17.  Make leftover curries and lentils into pilaf or make a dough and cook parathas. If the leftover is a dry curry then I fill them in puff pastries or grilled sandwiches. – Ruchika M

18.  Roasted vegetables and meats are combined and used as the filling of delicious deep fried empanadas! – Francisco C

19.
  At the moment whenever we have leftovers, I package them up for my friend who's just had her first baby. – Fiona D

20.  After Taco Tuesday, round two for any leftover soft tortillas can be quesadillas, pizza base, baked corn chips, deep fried in strips sprinkled with salt or icing sugar for savoury or sweet croutons, pan-fried cannoli, wraps or baked cannelloni. – Yasmin N

 

Got an even better idea for your leftovers?

Let us know on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LoveFoodHateWasteVictoria/ 

 
 

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping list!

notepad

Keep a notepad in the kitchen to jot down items as you run out.

2. Put a pen and pad in your kitchen to write down items you run out of as you go.

Why? No more accidentally doubling up on items at the supermarket and you’ve already started your shopping lis

Love your food

Victoria throws out $4 billion worth of food each year.