Reduce waste in the kitchen and you will definitely save money too.
Are you tempted to cook in a disorganised kitchen? What if you could create mini systems that would help you organise your kitchen better, so you are always aware of what’s in your cupboards, fridge and freezer?
The old saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail” is true in so many parts of your life, but very much so in the kitchen. Organising your kitchen can save you time and money. These are both very precious for busy people.
Here are some ideas to help you gain more control of your kitchen and give you time back to spend with loved ones and money back to have more fun in life.
Meal planning can save you money, as you only buy what you need. It saves you time, as you can make some meals ahead, or batch cook.
Know Your Dates
Best Before, Sell By and Use By dates are usually confusing for most people.
Best Before means the product is at its best before that date.
Sell By is really just for the seller to know the latest date when they can have it on their shelves.
Use By is the one you really need to take notice of. This is a date that you should use the product by, as it may go off after that date. Sometimes you can go over a couple of days, if it smells ok and has no mould on it. I wouldn’t recommend going over this date with meat, fish or eggs though.
Get to grips with food labelling terms and be a savvy shopper.
Organised Food Storage
You need to store your food at the right temperature to get the best out of it.
Different parts of your fridge are more suitable for storing some foods than other, due to difference in temperature. The door is usually the warmer area and the top shelf is the coldest.
Wiping inside your fridge with a cloth soaked in soapy water can help maintain freshness within it and help your fridge to perform better.
Food often gets lost at the back of a fridge or kitchen cupboard. Keep a list on your fridge or cupboard of what is in there and tick each item off as you use it. Doing this will help you know what you need to stock up on when you go shopping.
Put items with longer use by dates at the back of the cupboard and fridge.
Seasonal food is cheaper and fresher, especially if its source is local.
Don’t be tempted by items on special offer, unless you are going to use it anyway. It’s a false economy.
If you do feel you will use it, make sure you have the room in your cupboard, fridge or freezer to store it.
Root to Stem
There are leaves and stems on some herbs and vegetables that we throw away, without even thinking.
Often, they can be used in stocks, soups and even eaten raw.
If you really don’t fancy eating roots and stems, then at least throw them on a compost heap so you can create nutritious soil to grow more veg in.
Create Your Own Spice Blends
If you have spices which are close to their best before date, you could create a blend of your favourites.
Anything goes really. Experiment and see what you like.
If you really can’t find a use for your fruit, veg and other uncooked food, check what you can throw on your compost heap.
Never throw cooked food on a compost heap, as it will encourage vermin.
There is usually a lot of waste from kids’ plates. They have bigger appetites during growth spurts and regularly go off food that they have previously eaten quite happily.
Talk to your child about what they would like to eat, you can always find a way to give them a healthier option they will still eat. My son would never eat rice until I put turmeric in the cooking water and called it Sunshine Rice
My son loves it when I put lots of bowls with different food on the table, so he can create his own plate of food. I find he eats more of it.
Adults also often have eyes bigger than their bellies (I love that saying) when it comes to portion control. A thin slice of chocolate cake is never an option. Using a smaller plate helps to trick your mind into believing you have a large portion, as the food fills the plate.
Grow Your Own
You will be more inclined to eat it if you’ve invested time and love into growing it.
You don’t need a big space. Herbs can be grown on a windowsill and a lot of fruit and veg can be grown in buckets.
Old eggshells and fruit and vegetable peelings can be thrown on your compost heap to create nutritious soil for your produce.
It doesn’t take much to put these ideas into action. You can do them gradually, or just go for it. Either way, your kitchen head will be calmer and more creative, as it has the space to do so. Declutter your kitchen, declutter your mind.