Season 9 Episode 3

Chefs’ Tips For Reducing Food Waste In The Home

Today we look into food waste specifically in our own homes. Why do we end up wasting so much food? How much does it cost us? Most importantly, how easy is it to fix? During the episode we answer your questions directly using the Sorted Chefs’ knowledge AND give you amazing tips for creating ‘Bestovers’.

Best soundbite:“If you want to be a weirdo, eat the whole apple. That’s all I’ve got.” – Mike Huttlestone

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Something to make you think...

It’s costing the average family in the UK £700 a year ($1500 in the USA) in home food waste… a whopping 40%!?! That’s like walking out of the supermarket with 5 bags of shopping and leaving 2 (that you’ve paid for) at the entrance. Just dumping it. Gone. Useless. Wasted.

Ebbers' Stats!

Here are the most wasted food items in UK homes according to River Cottage

#1 Bread
Over 240 million slices of bread are chucked away every year.

#2 Milk
Around 5.9 million glasses of milk are poured down the sink every year.

#3 Potatoes
We discard 5.8 million potatoes each year.

#4 Cheese
Cheese lasts a very long time, so there really is no excuse if you chuck it away!

#5 Apples
A staggering 1.3 million apples are thrown away each year.

Season 9 Improvements
We’ve made a few developments to Season 9 based on your valuable feedback. The main one being the decision to focus more on the audio quality of the podcast episodes as the vast majority of users are listening to them on-the-go. We know there have been some concerns with the sound volume in episodes. We’re now using a new studio and working towards improving this tenfold. Please continue to let us know if you’re experiencing issues by emailing in. This does, unfortunately, mean from this season onwards, we’re removing the video element of the podcasts in lieu of the above. We hate to disappoint, so if this does seriously affect your enjoyment of the podcasts please email us, where we can explain further. Don’t forget we’re available at
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  1. blencashire

    Love this topic, I can’t stand to waste food if I can possibly avoid it.

    I always do my food shop on Wednesday so on Monday or Tuesday I’ll sit down and work out exactly what meals I want for the next week, trying to use up what I already have in the house and also reuse the same ingredients in several meals a bit like in the packs. Then I’ll write out my shopping list knowing all of the ingredients will be used up.

    Living alone, I also make full use of my freezer. If I’m making something like a curry or chilli I’ll make a big batch which uses up any veg that’s past its best then freeze it in handy portions. Really useful particularly as a disabled living with chronic fatigue person to be able to grab a nutritious homecooked meal from the freezer. Any veggie scraps like carrot/potato peels, the ends of an onion etf get thrown in a box in the freezer and when it’s full I’ll make veggie stock.

    I also tend to buy the sadder looking overripe bananas that would probably be wasted and slice and freeze them. Perfect for throwing into a smoothie. With the skins I’ll chop them up and put them in a covered bowl overnight with any used coffee grounds or egg shells. Blend it up and it makes amazing free fertiliser for your garden!

    Lastly when it comes to spare egg whites, I’ll usually use them to make a batch of granola to have for breakfast over the next couple of weeks.

  2. Erinday

    My favorite thing to do with leftover egg whites is make baked meringue cookies!

  3. cncdickson

    One of the ways I have been able to limit my vegetable waste is with vacuum sealing. Did you know, you can wash and cut/tear lettuce, dry with paper towel and store in a vacuum sealed mason jar for two weeks. Most other veggies that hold their shape, I vacuum seal in bags. Removing the air really helps to keep them from deteriorating. DO NOT vacuum seal mushrooms or you will find out the mush part of that fungus. I have also started meal planning and doing a single shop for the week. I prep most stuff (cutting veggies, putting protein in marinades, etc.) on the weekend. Some items – things like bread and spinach, I may stop and pick up on the day I need them as I prefer them as fresh as possible. At a minimum, learn to composte and give it to the neighbor with a garden if you don’t have one.

  4. Barton711

    I am pretty good on food waste, although I do of course like everyone waste some things but generally I only buy what’s needed etc.
    My favourite little trick is banana peel and sweet potato curry and banana peel tacos. Definitely faves.
    I am actually currently writing a cookbook (I will be send you guys a copy) in memory of my late wife for the Brainstrust and those recipes are definitely going in as they are surprising crowd pleasers.

  5. Chazz Vegas

    For the past few months I’ve been purchasing Lidl’s fantastic “Too Good To Waste” fruit and veg boxes. For £1.50, they package up and sell these boxes full of up to 5kg of slightly damaged/past sell by date/misshapen fruit and veg which is still 100% perfect for consumption. Any boxes that aren’t sold by a certain time of day are donated to food banks and community outreach projects.

    Brilliant for the supermarket as they are reducing waste yet still making money by selling produce (that would otherwise be chucked) at a reduced price. AND they’re doing good for the community. As a consumer it represents great value for money and as the boxes are packed with all manner of different items it encourages you as a home cook to try ingredients you might not normally buy/cook with.

    And as the sell by dates on many fruits and vegetables are somewhat of a misnomer, I’ve had items in these boxes that have been perfectly fine to cook with a couple of weeks after purchase.

    Such a win win for all parties concerned. Wish other places would follow suit.

    • Sorted

      WOW we didn’t know that Lidl has that initiative, that is brilliant news, and like you say win, win all round. Other supermarkets should definitely follow suit. You could also batch cook and freeze if you have the time, and if some veg may be on the turn before you have the chance to eat it. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Annie1962

    Great topic – I’m notorious due to my memory problem and a 520 L fridge that I am responsible for wastage. I could alleviate this by buying less perishables, more often rather than one big bulk amount that risks going off whilst being unused

    Someone recently gave me a F and V box and I decided that I’d par-cook by steaming what I could
    This included broccoli, parsnip and carrot. Just cut into big chunks, steam until half cooked. Store in snaplock bags and wait until cooled before chucking them into the freezer.
    Make sure your containers and snaplock bags are good quality so they can be used again and again after washing.

    It’s cheap to buy bulk minced meat. I divide into 3 , season it and freeze.
    You could even quickly make a bolognaise sauce or curry using one third of the mince – with onions and flavourings …and then take out when needed. All you’d have to do is cook the pasta and rice (if it’s curry, then cook the meat in a curry paste,, add the frozen carrot, parsnip and then add some chunked raw potatoes and then a can of coconut cream. while you’re dong that cook the rice.

    This saves time . Time that apparently a lot of people are lacking.
    How about you do the above on a future ep?

    • Sorted

      I think we are all guilty to a certain extent of food waste, this is why we created the packs app. Buy your ingredients for the 3 recipes, and use everything you buy. You obviously need your store cupboard ingredients that have a long shelf life, however you use up all the fresh which is fantastic. Good idea on bulk buying the mince as a cheap and tasty meat source. Have you cooked anything from the Packs app yet?

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