Making food last longer

Peter Maddox; Director WRAP UK

We’re all in this together and, in the Maddox household, that’s me, my wife, our 23-year-old son and our 20-year-old daughter – plus Molly the puppy who is a challenge worth a blog on her own.

The other day, my daughter and I were peering into the fridge, wondering what to have for lunch, when she held back from grabbing an apple and said, ‘Actually, I think I’ll have the yoghurt as that’s going to go off.’

This was a first. I was quietly pleased at her effort to make sure our food lasts as a long as possible, therefore reducing our number of essential trips to the shop. She’s not alone in wanting to make food last.

There are two overarching principles that help keep food fresher for longer – temperature and storage, both of which are extensively covered by our consumer website Love Food Hate Waste.

Full of simple advice to make food last longer, it has been in high demand over recent days. We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people looking at our Chill the Fridge Out page to check their fridge is at the right temperature – below 5°C.

The average UK fridge temperature is set at a way too hot 7°C, so one simple thing many of us could do to extend the life of milk and other perishable items is check it’s at the right temperature.

Where and how you store your food is essential to making food last and tens of thousands of people are checking our website for information on how best to keep key ingredients like milk and potatoes.

(While we’re here, milk should be stored in the fridge, below 5°C and can be frozen. Potatoes like cool, dark, dry places away from strong smelling foods like onions. Cooked potatoes can be frozen, and you can use the skins to make delicious home-made crisps.)

From bananas to broccoli and shellfish to salad, our A-Z of Food Storage tells you exactly where and how to store your fresh produce. It tells you if you can freeze it and has lots of great tips to make food last longer, including recipe ideas for food that’s past its best.

From freezing herbs to bringing wilted broccoli stalks back to life, the website has plenty of practical advice. I find it particularly useful for tips on salad. Did you know just by putting a sheet of kitchen roll in a container or bag with lettuce or spinach leaves can keep it fresh for up to three days longer? Or that you can freeze whole cherry tomatoes, or pickle a cucumber in 15 minutes?

Our A-Z has been viewed nearly 50,000 times in the last ten days. That’s over 75 times as many page views as a month ago! Views to our ‘Be a Freezer Hero’ page, explaining how best to freeze commonly wasted foods, have quadrupled since last month. Our Flung Together Food page also helps the weekly shop last longer by giving tips on how to rustle up good healthy and tasty food with what you have.

The practical advice will help you make the most out of our precious food and could even give you some new recipe ideas.  We’re in unprecedented times. Keeping your food fresher for longer is more important now than it has ever been. Our Love Food Hate Waste website will help you and your family to stay at home as much as you can, in line with the Government’s advice, by reducing the number of times you need to go food shopping and we are continuing to help feed demand by posting new recipes, and advice every week.