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How to Plan, Prep and Store Your Food to Reduce Food Waste

The Dairy Diary have done it once again – produced an awesome cookbook chock full of recipes to help you cook up some culinary wonders for Christmas and beyond. Not only that, this lovely book contains heaps of clever tips to help you minimise your food waste on the way to becoming a master chef. Make sure you get your copy in time for Christmas!


Each week, plan five day’s meals and leave two days for using up any leftovers, or dishes already made and stored in the freezer. Write your chosen meals down and list all the ingredients needed, in the required quantities. Shop from this list, avoiding the temptation to buy other foods, unless you plan to freeze them straight away.

Most importantly, only buy what you like, not what a recipe dictates. Recipes can be tweaked to your taste. For example, if the recipe suggests broad beans and you despise them, use peas instead; if you prefer French mustard to wholegrain, buy that instead. You’re more likely to use something again if you love it.


Ensure that your fridge is set to below 5 degrees and the freezer is set to around -18 degrees. If you have them, read the instructions for your fridge. There are usually cooler/warmer sections that lend themselves to particular products. For example, it makes sense to keep salad and veg in the salad drawer and cheeses in the dairy compartment. Always store raw meat and fish at the bottom of your fridge and cooked meats on a higher shelf to avoid cross-contamination.

Use-by and best-before dates: stick to use-by dates as the food may not be suitable for consumption after this date. Best-before is just a guide to when food is at its freshest. Check these dates and arrange foods in your fridge with the shortest date on the top, so that you use it first. If something has a date before you’re likely to use it, consider freezing it.

Vegetables (except potatoes) keep for longer if they’re stored in the fridge. Also keep fruit (except bananas) in the fridge, with a few in a fruit bowl to ripen, if required. Once open, keep jars and bottles in the fridge. Check the label first though, as some products, such as honey, oils and vinegars, should remain in the cupboard.

Keep dry ingredients in a cupboard away from sunlight, which can shorten their shelf life. If they are pre-packed, keep products in their original packaging. Some use clever technology to keep the food fresh for longer. For part-used products, use lidded containers, or wrap in foil or in beeswax wraps and refrigerate. Food should be completely cool before wrapping or covering. Foil and beeswax wraps can be washed and used again. Leftover meals may be stored in Pyrex (or similar) dishes that can be kept in the fridge or freezer and can also be used in the oven.

There is plenty more useful information within the highly anticipated and brand-new cookbook, More Taste & Less Waste, to help you make food waste a thing of the past! Order your copy now from your milkman or woman, and by using up every edible bit of your food, you’re doing your bit look after the environment.