Households waste binfulls of food every month, which adds up to pursefulls of money – £50 a month to be precise! But there’s plenty you can do to make use of your leftovers. Here are my top ten tips for saving money while clearing out the odd bits of food lurking in your fridge and cupboards.
1.Make a list
If you’re spring cleaning the kitchen, make a list of the food that you forgot you had, and see if you can save money on the food bills over the next few weeks.
2.Know your dates
If you have tins, jars and packets lurking at the back of the store cupboard which are past their best before date, it doesn’t mean they are not safe to use. Best before dates refer to quality rather than food safety. Foods with a best before date should be safe to eat after this date but they may no longer be at their best.
3. Leftover biscuits
If biscuits have gone a bit soft, mix them with melted butter and use as a cheesecake base or crumble over fruit and ice cream.
4. Puddings from leftovers
If you have a cake or muffin that has passed its best before date and seems a bit dry, why not make a trifle or stick it in the microwave for a few seconds with a dash of water and pour custard over it for a quick pudding for the kids.
5. Find an alternative ingredient
Be creative – try substituting your usual ingredient with something you need to use up, for example a different type of tinned beans in chilli, or use couscous where you would normally use rice.
6. Label your opened jars
Those opened jars that are stored in the fridge… Keep an eye on the storage instructions and write on the lid or a label the date they were opened.
7. Freeze easy
If you know you won’t use up the last of the pesto, for example, pop it in the freezer – works a treat! Simply defrost overnight in the fridge and use as normal for a great pasta salad for lunch one day.
8. Salsa seconds
If you buy a tub of salsa for chilli and tortillas but can’t use a whole jar without it going off, try using it as the base layer of pizza toppings or as a delicious chilli layer in a gratin.
9. Jammy trick for gravy
The last drops of jam in the jar can add a lovely sweet complement to your gravy – rinse the remnants with warm water and add to the gravy pan.
10. Marinade mix from leftovers
Add some paprika, Worcestershire sauce, chilli or anything you like to that almost empty marmalade jar, put the lid on and shake the jar to create a marinade to add to meat before cooking.
Emma Marsh heads up Love Food Hate Waste, which aims to raise awareness of the issue of food waste and offer simple everyday tips and support to help consumers save money and waste less. Emma is also a keen grower of fruit and veg in her garden and allotment at home.