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How to reduce food waste at home

Box of 15 eggs displaying use by date

Food waste is a real problem. We see it through our work with The Crafty Pickle and also in our roles as volunteers with the food sharing App Olio. But did you know that 70% of all food waste that happens after food leaves the farm happens at home?!

Now we’re not saints and occasionally we forget about a ferment that goes mouldy and have to chuck it in the compost it, or we don’t get round to eating soft cheese before it goes bad. We’re not perfect! But we’ve learnt SO much since committing ourselves to keeping our food waste to the bare minimum. Our mission with The Crafty Pickle Co. isn't just about reducing food waste within our business, we want everyone to feel empowered to reduce their own food waste. That's why we've compiled 20 handy tips for how to reduce food waste in the home and, because of this, save a shit tonne of money!!

Meal planning sheet with the days of the week and space to plan meals


1. Create a weekly shopping list so you’re not buying stuff you don’t really need (this can make your shop cheaper too!).

2. Planning some meals and snacks for the week can also help you buy only what you need.

3. Have a wee look in your fridge and cupboards before you go to the shop so you’re not buying anything you already have.

4. Have a look on Olio before you head to the shop, someone else might have exactly what you’re looking for… for free!


5. Try not to shop when you’re hungry as this can mean you’re more tempted to buy food just because it looks good right now, but you don’t really want or need it!

6. Pay attention to best before and use by dates (more on these below!) – if you know you don’t need the item until the end of the week but the date is much earlier, find one with a longer date on it


7. Don’t peel veg - commonly peeled veg like potatoes, squash and carrots don’t actually need peeling. Leaving the skin on means you get more bang for your buck, it saves you time and gives an extra dose of nutrients like fibre and vitamins which are concentrated in skins. Even mango skin is edible so give it a go!

8. Practice food rotation with your cupboards, fridge and freezer – for example, if you have 2 trays of eggs use the one you bought earlier (and likely with a shorter use by date) first.

9. Get creative with ‘scraps’ – coffee and egg shells can be used in the garden to fend off beasties that are after your plants, cauliflower leaves can be stir-fried or fermented into Kimchi, steamed or roasted, onion and garlic skins can be used to make stock, pumpkin or squash seeds can be washed, dried and toasted to make a delicious snacks.

Raw cauliflower leaves for stir frying, fermenting, steaming or roasting
Cauliflower leaves

10. Ferment with unloved veggies – got some veg you’re not going to use? Turn it into a delicious, long-lasting sauerkraut or pickled veg. Check out of blog on how to make sauerkraut at home!

11. Want to save time in the future? Batch cook! When you’re making a meal make several servings of it and pop in the freezer for a speedy future meal or toss in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch


12. Ignore best before dates, this is just to do with quality and is often extremely conservative – we’ve eaten sauces that were a whole year past their best before and were still perfect!

13. Trust your smell and eyesight! On some food use by dates can also be somewhat ignored, for example if you have an unopened hard cheese it’ll likely be alright several days past its use by. Be in mind that some foods like meat and fish you don’t want to be messing around with too much though.

Pret a manger sandwiches, soup, fruit and salad rescued using the food sharing app olio
So much free food can be found on food sharing apps!

14. Take home leftovers at restaurants – please don’t be embarrassed to ask for a box when you’re eating out! You’ve paid for the food so don’t let it go in the bin, take it home to enjoy later.

15. Make use of your freezer – these are magical inventions that can extend the life of leftover meals, bread, eggs (cracked and whisked), milk, grated cheese, fruit and veg, herbs and so much more for months!

16. Want to eat out AND rescue food from the bin? Try out Too Good to Go the app where you can buy restaurant and café’s leftover meals for a fraction of the price. Plus their magic bag means it’s often a surprise as to what you’ll get – how exciting!


17. Get creative with bread – stale bread can be turned into crispy croutons, breadcrumbs, bread and butter pudding, Summer pudding, toast and even kvass for the ferment enthusiast!

Stale bread transformed into crunchy croutons with olive oil, rosemary and black pepper

18. Aqua faba – this is the liquid surrounding tinned peas, beans and lentils. It is packed with protein which makes it thick and so can be used in stews and soups rather than just thrown away or whisk chickpea aqua faba to make vegan meringue!

19. Shrivelled veg in your fridge? Make stews, casseroles, curries or soups with whatever you have lying around.

20. Milk – freeze milk before it goes past its use by, make sauces like a roux if you’ve got too much milk or make fluffy scones with slightly soured milk.

Got some suggestions of your own? Let us know on social media: @craftypickleco on Facebook and Instagram🙏

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