It all adds up!

It all adds up!

Lots of foods are wasted in relatively small amounts but together they have a big impact, financially and environmentally!

We waste 200,000 tonnes of condiments, sauces, herbs and spices every year in the UK, costing us £700 million [1]. They are usually added to other foods in small amounts in order to add flavour and as a result we often open the jar or packet for one recipe and then don’t get around to using the rest before it’s gone past its best!

Of all the sauces that we waste, cook-in sauces like pasta or curry sauce; and gravy, are the most commonly wasted - normally because we cook or serve too much of them, and then throw them away.

Whether it’s half a jar of tomato sauce or a couple of spoonful’s of leftover jam it all adds up! Love Food Hate Waste has plenty of hints and tips to help everyone make the most of their favourite sauces and condiments, waste less, and save more.

Have you ever wondered how to get the last scrapings of jam from the jar? For a quick sweet treat try adding milk to the jar, replacing the lid and giving it a good shake! Voila - a milkshake in seconds!

Savvy storage

The key to keeping food fresher for longer is getting the storage right. For leftover shop bought sauces it’s best to follow the storage guidance on the pack or jar - in particular open jars should be stored in the fridge. Did you know that most sauces can be frozen? Just decant them into plastic tubs or freezer bags and freeze within the length of time indicated on the pack e.g. ‘use within 3 days of opening’. Don’t forget to label them! When the time comes to use the sauce, defrost in the fridge, heat thoroughly and give it a good stir!

Ice cube trays are a great way to freeze small quantities of sauce, such as pesto, which can then be added to recipes straight from the freezer to add flavour - perfect to pop into a hot pan with cooked pasta, leftover veggies and any cooked meats that need using up.

It’s a good idea to mark open jars or packets with the date that they were opened, a permanent marker pen works well, or why not make use of clever “Count on it” labels? You simply scratch off the date on the label, and you’ll instantly know when you opened the jar or tin and when it needs to be eaten.

Dried herbs and spices last for years in an airtight jar or container, they’re perfectly safe to eat they just won’t be as potent as when they were fresh. Fresh herbs can be frozen and used in soups, sauces or curries. Crumble them and drop straight into whatever you are cooking before they defrost, it’s worth remembering that they will not be any good to use raw as once defrosted they go soggy.

Bag clips are great for sealing open bags of dry ingredients such as sugar and salt; alternatively keep them in an airtight container.

Cook once eat twice

Why not fill the freezer with cost cutting homemade ready meals? When opening a jar of cooking sauce e.g. sweet and sour or curry sauce try doubling up and make enough food for two meals. You can freeze half for another time – ensuring you have a hearty dinner at your fingertips when you’re in a rush. Most meals will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Leftover gravy is great for making a quick hotpot, put meat leftover from the Sunday roast into an oven proof dish and pour the gravy over the top; finish off with leftover sliced potatoes and you’ll have a quick meal at the ready. Store in the fridge for up to two days and simply reheat thoroughly in the oven.  Alternatively, gravy can be frozen in an airtight tub or bag and used at a later date as a tasty topping for sausages and mash.

Lovely leftovers

By making the most of the food that we buy, we can save up to £50 per month. Sauces and condiments are perfect for combining with wilting veg, or with meat and fish that is rapidly approaching its “use-by” date.

Lovefoodhatewaste.com is full of recipes to help everyone cook delicious meals from foods that might otherwise have gone to waste. Why not have a go at Thai fish cakes with spicy tomato sauce making use of tomato ketchup and sweet chilli sauce? Our West African Peanut Sauce uses peanut butter to make a tasty sauce to serve with vegetables, meat or rice. For a quick homemade Chinese inspired meal Sweet and sour leftover chicken stir fry is sure to be a winner.

As the weather improves and we start thinking about BBQs, a tasty marinade could be a winner to pep up a pork chop or chicken dinner. Save any nearly empty jars of jam add some paprika, Worcestershire sauce, chilli, garlic, soy sauce or anything you like, put the lid on and shake the jar to create a marinade to add to meat when cooking.

Get creative

If you’re struggling for inspiration when it comes to dinner, have a go at getting creative. Leftover sauces, herbs and spices often combine to make a tasty meal or accompaniment! Making use of what you already have will save you time and money too!Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make your own homemade guacamole – cut open a ripe avocado and scoop the contents of one half into a bowl. Finely chop a garlic clove and ¼ of a red onion and add them to the bowl, add a slug of sweet chilli sauce and blitz everything together with a handheld blender. Cut the flesh of the second half of the avocado into cubes and stir this into the guacamole. Perfect to serve with fajitas, enchiladas or use as a dip.
  • Make your own fajita sauce using whatever you have… things like soy sauce, tomato ketchup, BBQ sauce, cumin, ground coriander and a bit of chilli powder, all combine to make a delicious cooking sauce for meat and vegetables. Experiment! Start with a good squirt or dollop of sauces and a teaspoon of ground coriander and cumin. Add chilli powder to suit your own taste.
  • Add a dollop of pickle when you make cheese on toast! Spread it over the bread and then add cheese – grill until bubbling and starting to brown. A splash of Worcestershire Sauce on top of cheese on toast works well; or try spreading the bread with Marmite instead of pickle.
  • Coronation sauce – mix mayonnaise with a teaspoon of curry powder (or curry sauce), a spoonful of mango chutney and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, then add diced cooked chicken or Quorn fillets for Coronation Chicken to serve in sandwiches, baguettes or on jacket potatoes.  You could also add chopped nuts and sultanas if you have some leftover, and add a little natural yogurt or crème fraiche instead of just mayo.
  • Make your own quick pizzas using French sticks or ciabattas – spread with leftover pesto, sun dried tomato paste or salsa, top with sliced onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, any leftover cooked meat and sprinkle grated cheese on top, grill until bubbling and starting to brown.
  • Leftover sour cream dip makes a great sauce in pies and bakes! Just spoon on top of the filling, cover with pastry and pop in the oven.
  • Why not save money by making your own cook-in sauces! Bolognaise and chilli are cheap and easy to make from scratch. Start by frying an onion and some garlic, once soft add your seasoning (mixed dried or fresh herbs work well in bolognaise and half a teaspoon of cumin, coriander and chilli powder are good in a chilli), next add your meat, veg or meat alternative, cook for a few minutes and then add a tin of tomatoes, stir and then simmer. Adding a stock cube or a teaspoon of Marmite will add extra flavour and depth to the sauce, if you have red wine you could add a glug. A small amount of sugar added with the tomatoes will bring out the flavour.

For lots more ideas and money saving tips to make the most of your food, and save money visit lovefoodhatewaste.com

[1] WRAP, Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK, 2009

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