Did you know that Britons throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, costing families up to £700? That’s a lot of waste and a lot of wasted cash. As part of Food Safety Week 2016 (July 3-10), the FSA are encouraging people to cut back on wasted food by freezing better. In a FSA survey of 1,500 consumers, 68% of respondents said they had thrown away food in the past month, with 54% of people feeling guilty having done so. Bread, fruit and vegetables and leftovers were the foods most often binned.
With a better understanding of how to freeze food, a lot of the stuff that we throw away could instead be frozen and used at a later date. So let’s get down to it: what can be frozen, when and for how long?
The Golden Tips of Freezing
Love Food Hate Waste is a campaign set up by charity, WRAP, to raise food waste awareness and provide information on how we can cut back on the amount we throw away.
When it comes to freezing, Love Food Hate Waste suggests recommends sticking to these four golden tips:
Besides those golden tips, there are a few others things you should look to do to ensure your food, and freezer, stays in tip-top condition.
· Always cool foods before freezing. Hot food placed in the freezer could cause surrounding foods to defrost.
· Keeping the freezer full is more economical so look to fill space with everyday items.
· Defrost your freezer at least once a year or when there is 1cm of ice built-up across a large area. Don’t worry about your food thawing; it should remain frozen for 24 hours – plenty of time for a freezer to fully defrost.
· Freeze raw meat or fish right up to the use-by-date. Guidelines no longer state that food must be frozen on day of purchase.
· Never re-freeze raw fish or meat that has been defrosted.
· Cooked meat is perfectly safe to re-freeze once. Just remember to cool it first.
· Frozen food is best defrosted overnight in the fridge and used within 24 hours; however, it is perfectly safe to defrost using the microwave.
· When defrosting meat, stand it in a bowl or container to stop bacteria in the juice spreading to other foods.
· Freezer burn is not a food safety risk and foods not wrapped can be eaten safely. They may not taste as great, though. Any brown patches caused by food burn can easily be cut away.
· Food stored in the freezer for more than three months should be cooked slower and longer.
· Remove as much air as possible from meat packaging and trim off excess fat to avoid spoiling.
Cooking from frozen
Not all frozen foods have to be defrosted before cooking. The following foods can be cooked straight from the freezer without losing any of their great taste:
· Soup and stews
· Potato-topped pies and gratins
· Small fish and fish fillets
· Seafood (when added to a hot dish)
Never cook raw meat or poultry from frozen!
Re-freezing is a grey area. Many people are unsure about it, and if you’re unsure the best thing to do is play it safe and throw food in the bin. Here’s the lowdown on re-freezing from the NHS:
For more information on freezing food on preventing waste, check out the Love Food Hate Waste website.
Will freezing more help save you money? Do you have any great leftover food recipes? Let us know in the comments.
Did you know that Britons throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, costing families up to £700? With a better understanding of how to freeze food, a lot of the stuff that we bin could instead be frozen and used at a later date. So let’s get down to it: what can be frozen, when and for how long?