How not to throw away food

You feel guilty when you throw away food? That's completely normal. After all, 12 million tons of food end up in the trash in Germany every year, and more than half of it is thrown away by households. But more important than a guilty conscience is the next step – doing something about it.

In fact, the throwing away itself is not even the main problem. After all, you only throw things away if you have too much of them. Or if they are wrong. The real problem is the shopping. Stores present their goods in such an appetizing way that you want to take everything with you – and that’s alright, it’s why shopping is so much fun! However, if you go to get your groceries in a hurry, after work or with a growling stomach, you might fall prey to one or two special offers too many. A shopping list helps when you stick to it. And never go shopping when you’re starving!

But the best remedy against food waste is actually imagination. Imagine what you’d like to eat and how you’d like to eat it – today, tomorrow and maybe all week. And then make a plan. Think carefully about what you need and buy only that. If that seems too rigid and inflexible, don’t worry: plans always change and things will turn out differently anyway. If that happens, we have a few pointers for you:

1. Don’t be afraid of the best-before date

If you store fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products correctly, they often last longer than planned. Trust your nose and palate when you want to find out whether food is still fresh after the date printed on the package. For consumption on the same day, you can therefore buy yesterday’s products as well as products whose best-before date is about to expire. After all, the date means “best before” and not “will go bad on”!

2. Shrivelled is tasty, too

If you have bought too much, you can still make delicious fruit spreads, chutneys, curries or soups from shrivelled fruits or vegetables. Leftovers can also be stored in the freezer.

3. Correct food storage

Not all areas are equally cold in the refrigerator. The warmest place is in the door and the coldest above the fruit and vegetable compartment. For optimal shelf life, food should be sorted into the correct refrigeration zone.

4. Upcycling Food

When you have a lot of different leftovers, you can get creative and combine them into new meals. Also, if you search for “meal preps” on the Internet, you’ll find lots of inspiration on how to easily create new dishes from leftovers. Without any effort, vegetables can be made into curries or casseroles, rice or pasta can be turned into great dishes by adding egg, vegetables and herbs, and even stale bread can be fried in a pan with milk, flour and egg.

Did our tips for sustainable cooking make you hungry? Why don’t you try out one or two of them? Every apple, every carrot and especially every piece of meat that doesn’t end up in the trash helps the environment and protects the climate!