Millions of tons of food in the garbage every year - and often completely unnecessarily, because food waste can be easily avoided. We give you the best tips!
1. Well planned is half-eaten
The first and most important tip if you want to throw away less food is: buy less food. Sounds banal? But that's true because if you only buy the products that you will actually consume, you will no longer be in the situation of having to throw something away. Spontaneous shopping and hungry hamster purchases are therefore taboo. Instead, think about exactly what you want to cook this week, write a list, and stick to it when you shop. The professional variant of this planning method is the so-called meal prep, which solves many of your food problems in one fell swoop. To keep an overview of your meal plan and your purchases, we recommend the bullet journal method.
2. Correctly place the refrigerator
How you organize your refrigerator has a significant impact on how long your food will last. On the one hand, there are various climate zones to consider. Here, the professionals from the BRIGITTE test kitchen will explain how to properly arrange your refrigerator.
In addition, the visibility of individual products also plays an important role. Because also here applies: out of sight out of mind. The best way to avoid food waste is to place ingredients that need to be consumed quickly in the front and store new, freshly bought foods that can wait a little longer in the back. They will then continue to slide forward until you finally use them up.
The disgusting depots in the darkest corners of your fridge, where ever-expired food is waiting to be disposed of, have finally had their day.
3. Keep the arugula and lettuce fresh for a long time
No sooner have you bought fresh arugula and put it - still securely packaged - in the fridge, then the delicious green leaves the leaves hanging, becomes flabby and bland. The next day at the latest, it is no longer edible. You can do that: Take the freshly bought salad out of the package immediately, wrap it in a damp tea towel and put it in the vegetable compartment of your So it stays up to three days, stays fresh and crisp. Alternatively, you can wrap the salad in a paper towel. Because the cloth absorbs the excess moisture, the salad cannot become moldy.
By the way: If you are annoyed that your fresh basil always wilts after a few days, we will tell you here what you can do to keep basil fresh for longer.
4. Store fruit and vegetables correctly
Of course, it looks really nice if you keep fruits and vegetables mixed in a basket. Rural idyll on the kitchen table. But for the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables, this is the worst possible solution. Because many varieties - including apples, tomatoes, pears, apricots, and bananas - secrete the plant hormone ethylene, which triggers the natural ripening process of the fruits and thus ensures that they spoil faster. Therefore: it is best to store them separately and individually adapted to your needs!
The best way to store these varieties is in the fridge:
- fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, currants, ...), preferably side by side, so that they touch as little as possible
- Rhubarb wrapped in a kitchen towel
- Asparagus wrapped in a kitchen towel
These varieties are best kept outside the fridge:
- Store apples, preferably in a cool and moist place, separate from other fruits and vegetables, e.g. in the cellar
- Store bananas in a dry place. By the way, they hold up even better if you wrap the stem of the bananas with transparent film
- Tomatoes, keep in an airy, dry place
- Store zucchini in a cool, shady place
- Bulbs, ideally in an old nylon pantyhose, hang up and separate the individual bulbs with knots
- Store potatoes as dark as possible, preferably in the basement
- Spring onions, ideally in a glass with water, where they can continue to grow and remain crunchy
This little rule of thumb can help you with this: Professor Reinhold Carle from the Institute for Food Technology and Biotechnology at the University of Hohenheim advises in an interview with the pharmacy survey to always ask himself "in which climate zones the fruit or vegetables are native." There is little that can be done wrong by those who do so.
5. Store leftovers correctly
You know that from Mutti: If there is anything leftover from the food, it is quickly packed in a Tupper can and placed in the fridge. But the food will last even longer if you keep it in mason jars in the fridge instead.
In contrast to plastic cans, glass does not react chemically and has no effect on the content. In addition, glass is odorless and tasteless, cools more efficiently and is easier to clean. And at the same time, you are also doing something for the environment, because - unlike plastics - glass can be recycled as often as you like.
6. Simply freeze food
You don't believe how many foods can be frozen and kept for a long time that you would never have thought of. Of course, this starts with leftovers, but it also applies to bread, vegetables, meat, and Co. The prerequisite for this is, of course, a large freezer or a spacious freezer.
Then you can freeze milk, for example. So it lasts up to 3 months, although the consistency changes slightly, but the quality does not suffer. Also eggs you can freeze. It's best to use an ice cube mold for this. Each egg comes - freshly opened - in its own recess. If you add some salt or sugar, you prevent the egg from becoming grainy. If necessary, you can then simply thaw the egg. You can also use the containers for herbs and spices. Simply pour in a little olive oil, pour the liquid into the slots and freeze. So they last forever.
Also tomato sauce and minced meat you can freeze portioned individually. Put the whole mass in a freezer bag, let it freeze for about an hour and then separate individual portions with the back of your knife before you freeze the bag again. If you freeze vegetables, briefly blanch them beforehand. It preserves color and aroma and lasts much longer.
7. Detect if food is still stable
The best before date on your food is only meaningful to a limited extent. Many products can still be enjoyed very well after this date and are completely harmless. Therefore: do not just throw it away, but check exactly whether the food is still stable. Only with mold, you shouldn't do any experiments. Molds bread in one place, for example: throw it away completely!
If you are unsure about eggs, you can put them in cold water, for example. If you swim upstairs, you are bad. Fresh, durable eggs go under immediately. With raw meat, a slimy consistency and an unpleasant smell are clear signs that you can no longer eat it. The color alone says nothing about the freshness of the meat. Don't let that irritate you. With green vegetables, on the other hand, color plays a crucial role. When broccoli and Co. turn yellow, it's a signal that you shouldn't eat them anymore. Until then, you can enjoy them without hesitation.
For other foods, it's best to rely on your nose again: if fish smell too much of fish, throw it away if cheese smells of sour milk, it is very likely to have gone bad and as soon as olive oil stops smelling like olive oil you should you'd rather not use it anymore. But until then: Enjoy it!