How to save on your food bill

Herald on Sunday - - BUSINESS - Diana Cle­ment @DianaCle­ment

Iwould rather swim with jel­ly­fish than waste food. Ac­cord­ing to a Rabobank report, Ki­wis throw away a stag­ger­ing $1.8 bil­lion worth of food each year. This is very bad for our wal­lets.

I have de­vel­oped some strate­gies to keep my hard-earned cash in my pocket and out of the su­per­mar­kets’ cof­fers.

Those strate­gies have been added to in re­cent months thanks to the use­ful Love Food Hate Waste ad­verts that seem to stalk me on Face­book.

So here are some of the best strate­gies to spend less and eat bet­ter:

1 Google it

Many a meal in our house is crafted around what­ever in­gre­di­ents are in the fridge. On Mon­day I Googled “aubergine” and “creme fraiche”, which re­sulted in a very nice aubergine and white bean curry for din­ner.

The Gene Now Fi­nan­cial Lit­er­acy Trust, which works with Love

Food Hate Waste, teaches Auck­lan­ders clever ways to cook and use up the hun­dreds of dol­lars of food most al­ready have in their fridges and pantries.

Many of the at­ten­dees at its mo­bile work­shops could take a leaf out of com­mer­cial kitchens where food waste is kept to the min­i­mum, says trust founder Jes­sica Niemack.

2 Lunch it

I have a bunch of take­away con­tain­ers for stor­ing left­overs in lunch­sized por­tions. Ev­ery­one is en­cour­aged to take a con­tainer for lunch the next day.

Meals that aren’t taken to school go straight into the freezer and are heated up when I don’t have time to cook.

3 Freeze it

In­gre­di­ents such as sour cream, fresh herbs, tomato paste or left-over fresh pasta dough get thrown in the freezer un­til I can fig­ure out how to use them.

Many go into ice-cube trays. It turns out I’m al­ready fol­low­ing Love Food Hate Waste’s “if in doubt, freeze it” strat­egy.

Make sure you store your bread in the freezer, adds Jenny Mar­shall, of WasteMINZ, which is be­hind the cam­paign. Have periodic deep dives into your freezer to use up this stuff.

4 Shelve it

Friends joked that I should rent out a teenager or four to readers who need food eaten.

Sadly, as well as be­ing vo­ra­cious eaters, teenagers are also in­clined to open new pack­ets or nab the fresh ba­nanas in­stead of the older ones and would never think about what needs eat­ing first. The an­swer to this, says Mar­shall, is to have an ”eat me first” shelf in the fridge.

5 Store it

We all have fruit bowls. But fruit goes off fast and some veg­eta­bles last longer out of the fridge.

As a re­sult, says Mar­shall, it would make a lot more sense to store our ap­ples, or­anges and most other fruit in the fridge and our cap­sicums, car­rots, aubergines, and oth­ers in our “fruit bowl”.

6 Date it

Love Food Hate Waste rec­om­mends stick­ing re­us­able dated la­bels on food con­tain­ers.

When you are look­ing for a meal for the fam­ily choose one that has been in there longer.

A few years back we had a pantry chal­lenge, buy­ing only milk, and fruit un­til we had eaten down all the food in our kitchen, which took a stag­ger­ing five weeks and a lot of lat­eral think­ing.

7 Grate it

This is a re­cent ploy of mine to use up age­ing veg­eta­bles. It’s quick to grate veg­eta­bles such as car­rots, mush­room, cour­gette, pep­pers, and many oth­ers and they dis­ap­pear into pasta, casseroles, soup or other dishes with­out the need to pre-cook them.

8 Bake it

Milk is one of the foods we waste most of, says Niemack. Slightly sour milk isn’t bad for you — it’s just part way on its jour­ney to be­com­ing yo­ghurt, cheese, but­ter­milk and other com­mon dairy prod­ucts.

Sour milk can be used to make omelettes or cus­tard, or baked into cakes, scones, pan­cakes, and more. If I have a litre or more of sour milk I make ri­cotta or pa­neer cheese, which is an un­be­liev­ably sim­ple process.

Fruit goes off fast and some veg­eta­bles last longer out of the fridge.

9 Share it

This ar­ti­cle re­minded me to mes­sage my neigh­bours that my pars­ley is out of con­trol and they can help them­selves. You can also do­nate un­opened canned or dried foods di­rect to lo­cal food banks or leave it in the City Mis­sion’s su­per­mar­ket bins.

Niemack points out that the re­cip­i­ents don’t al­ways know what to do with ob­scure items. So per­haps google other ways to get rid of your un­used tinned sauer­kraut.

10 Cre­ate it

Some of the things we think of as waste are ed­i­ble. Love Food Hate Waste has a recipe for a ba­nana skin cake. You can chop and cook your broc­coli, cau­li­flower, and cel­ery leaves. In our house we freeze aquafaba (the liq­uid from chick pea and bean cans) in ice-cube trays and use it as egg re­placer in cakes, meringues and much more. Whey from cheese­mak­ing can be used in soup.

Don’t throw out those ba­nana peels. Love Food Hate Waste has a recipe for a ba­nana skin cake.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.