The average UK family wastes eight meals every week. And it's costing the earth in more ways than one.
Every bit of wasted food has an environmental impact...Transport, fuel, water, energy - it all adds up. And while governments and businesses have an important part to play, food waste in UK households produces nearly 25 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
For the planet and for future generations - we need to save food from the bin by changing the way we buy, store, and use it.
Hitting the freeze button
Freezing our food buys us a bit more time before it goes off, but many of us lack confidence when it comes to defrosting, and those good intentions can go out the window because we forget to take food back out of the freezer. In fact, 19% of us have binned something frozen in the last fortnight because it's been in our freezers too long.
As a nation, we're scratching our heads when it comes to freezing and defrosting:
69% of us believe it is safe to defrost meat at room temperature - this is a big no-no and could put you at risk of illness!
40% of us believe that you can't use the microwave to defrost meat. We're here to tell you, yes you can!
When you take your food out of the freezer, it's important to defrost it safely before cooking or eating it.
Don't defrost food at room temperature. Ideally, food should be defrosted fully in the fridge. Check the guidance on food packaging and allow enough time for your food to defrost properly. Make sure your food is fully defrosted before cooking. Partially defrosted food may not cook evenly, meaning that harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process. Once food has been defrosted, eat it within 24 hours.
If it isn't possible to defrost in the fridge, use a microwave directly before cooking.
Micro-Wave goodbye to wasted food
That's right. We've shared our love for the freezer, now we're here to reacquaint you with the humble microwave.
In an ideal world we'd all remember to defrost our food in the fridge, but that takes time and a little forward planning (something we're all a bit short of!). So, when your best laid plans go awry - that lovely, shiny box could be your kitchen hero! All it takes is a little know how.
Follow these handy tips to ensure your food is defrosted and ready to cook:
- If you froze your food in the original packaging, remove it first.
- Put the food on a microwave-safe plate and cover it.
- Microwave using the defrost setting or a specific defrosting programme e.g. for meat.
- Always check the microwave manual and food packaging for any defrosting instructions. There may be guidance on turning, stirring, or standing times.
- Once food has been defrosted in the microwave, it should be cooked straight away
For more hacks on freezing and defrosting check out these handy guides
Share your fab freezer meals!
Inspire others by sharing your leftover creations on social media.
Tag your pics with #FoodWasteActionWeek on Instagram and Twitter: @lfhw_uk
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