FREEZE FOOD TO REDUCEWASTE
CHRISTMAS is often a busy and stressful time.
Cooking for more people than normal can mean having to handle different defrosting and cooking times for food, making sure that large amounts of food are stored safely, and ensuring that any leftovers don’t go to waste.
In the UK we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, most of which could have been eaten. Wasting food costs the average household £470 a year and households are particularly wasteful over the festive season.
In research conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), over twothirds (68%) of people surveyed admitted to having thrown food away in the past month. The most common reason that it is past its ‘use by’ date, cited by over a third (36%) of respondents; 30% admit to throwing food away as they had bought too much. However, the reasons given can be avoided by making better use of the freezer.
The study also identified a number of freez- ing ‘myths’ – 43% of those interviewed thought food should only be frozen on the day of purchase; 38% incorrectly said it is dangerous to refreeze meat after it has been cooked; and 36% wrongly believed food can become unsafe to eat while in the freezer.
To tackle these misconceptions and reduce food waste over the festive period, the ‘FSA Freezer Fairy’ is providing advice and tips on freezing foods.
Dr Kevin Hargin, at the FSA, said: “By planning ahead, you could get the bulk of your Christmas cooking done weeks in advance and store it in the freezer.
“The freezer is like a pause button, you can freeze foods right up to the ‘use by’ date. While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so we recommend eating it within three to six months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging.
Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”
For more information on how to reduce waste and freeze food safely at Christmas, visit www. food.gov.uk/freezerfairy or follow @foodgov #FreezerFairy on Twitter for tips and advice.
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