We waste huge amounts of food every year; in 2015, for example, we binned 7.3 tons of food – or £13 billion, to put it in financial perspective. So, what can we do to reduce food waste, apart from the obvious 'don't forget you already have lettuce in the fridge'?
Blinds Hut (opens in new tab) have teamed up with wholesale food industry experts and have some useful tips on storing food correctly and shopping wisely.
Ditch the supermarket for your local greengrocer
Shopping at your local greengrocer rather than the supermarket is a winner on multiple fronts. For one, fresh fruit and veg is stored correctly at the greengrocer, whereas supermarkets typically over-refrigerate fresh produce, which makes it go off quicker. This applies especially to imported fruit and veg that would've been refrigerated during transportation as well, so isn't at its best by the time it reaches the supermarket shelf. Local greengrocers tend to source their food more sustainably, and have more seasonal (and therefore fresher) produce.
Understand your fridge better
Did you know that the bottom shelves and drawers are the coldest part of your fridge? That's where your root veggies should go, apart from potatoes, which can handle warmer temperatures. And, contrary to a common misconception, not all your fruit and veggies need to go in the fridge – avocados and aubergines, for instance, will do much better in your fruit bowl (provided your kitchen is cool).
Be aware of the ripening effect of bananas
Bananas ripen any other fruit that's lying next to them by releasing a gas called ethene. Great for ripening those hard pears, but lethal to already ripe, soft fruit. So, depending on what you've got in your fruit bowl, either remove your bananas, or at least be aware that they will ripen the other fruit faster.
Some veggies shouldn't be stored together
Always store your onions separately from your potatoes, as the onions will make the potatoes sprout. Apples and cabbage will have the same effect. Kale and peppers, on the other hand, can safely be stored with all your other veggies. Avoid storing water-rich veggies such as cucumber in the coldest drawers, as they may freeze and spoil.
Get creative with leftovers
If stored correctly, root vegetables can keep as long as 26 weeks in the fridge, but if yours have started going a bit limp, don't discard them. Unless mouldy or brown inside, veg that's a little past its prime is perfectly fine to go in a stew – in fact, slightly soft veg will soak up the cooking juices better. The same goes for apples that have begun to soften and shrivel – your apple pie doesn't care if the apples aren't fresh, so long as they haven't begun rotting.
Need a better fridge? Check out our pick of the best fridges and freezers.