Food and Wine

How to Make Your Food Last for Longer

We’re probably all guilty of throwing away too much food, but in these more frugal times you could save yourself some money by minimising waste. By following a few simple tips on buying and storing food correctly, you can help to reduce the amount that goes off.

Plan Ahead

It might seem simple, but if you plan your meals before you go shopping you’ll only buy what you need. Make sure you look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you’ve already got and try and incorporate anything that’s close to its use-by date. Once you get home use the most perishable items first and freeze any fresh food that’s not needed yet.>

Store Food Correctly

One of the biggest reasons food spoils is because it’s not stored correctly. There’s a lot of confusion about how food should be stored, how long it can be frozen for and what to do with leftovers. If you just stop and think you could save money and create less waste.

If you’re storing open packets or leftover food in the fridge it’s best to keep them in an airtight container, as this stops oxygen getting to the food, which can spoil it.

Partly used sauces or dips are also best transferred to a smaller container, as this minimises the air present and reduces the likelihood of bacteria growing. Any unused tinned food needs to be placed in an airtight container and kept in the fridge.

Most fresh food can be successfully frozen, as long as you store it correctly and it’s before the expiry date. Place the food in airtight bags or containers to prevent damage from freezer burn. Label items with the date they were frozen — that way you can use the older food first.

Cooking more is actually a great way of making food last longer. If you’re making a homemade dinner, such as bolognaise sauce, pies or lasagne, it’s a good idea to cook more than you actually need. The leftovers can then be cooled, stored in airtight boxes or freezer bags and frozen. When you want to use them, simply defrost and you’ve got your own ready meal.

Use the Fridge Effectively

Most people will just fill up their fridge after a shopping trip without any thought for what they’re placing where. The temperature of your fridge will go up when the door opens. Therefore it’s best to keep milk at the back rather than in the door. The bottom of the fridge will have the most stable temperature, so put more perishable items such as cheese here.

With just a bit of effort, it can be easy to make your food last longer. No longer will you have to reach for that mouldy piece of cheese or endure soggy vegetables.

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