Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY - freez­er­fairy

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.­er­fairy or fol­low @food­gov #Freez­er­Fairy on Twit­ter for tips and ad­vice.

buck­snews@ trin­i­ Paula Western took this fab­u­lous photograph in Che­sham last week – what a fab­u­lous shot. Do you have an eye for a photograph? Would you like to see your work in this col­umn? Send a high res­o­lu­tion jpeg file of a favourite snap to:

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