How to reduce food waste: the best eco-friendly kitchen gadgets for prolonging the life of your food
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The FoodCycler from Sage is one beast of a machine that, remarkably, that reduces 2 litres of food waste by 80%, turning it into odourless EcoChips in as little as 4 hours which is a remarkable improvement on months on a compost heap, and let’s not think how long in landfill.
Plus, it is so simple to use. Put all cooked and uncooked food waste except hard bones into the small, unassuming, lidded black bucket which sits handily on your worktop without drawing too much attention. Once full, slot it into the FoodCycler, close the lid, press start, and away it goes.
The machine uses very little energy to heat, dehydrate and grind the waste into EcoChips. In addition, it is remarkably quiet, so you can switch it on at bedtime, and carbon filtration ensures there are no odours.
Dig the chips into the soil if you have a garden, or toss them into the compost, and even if they hit the waste bin, you know all that food waste is taking up so little room. Fantastic food waste management.
Waste in the kitchen is inevitable, no matter how hard you try. Though much can go into a garden compost bin, huge no-no’s are anything cooked, meat and fish scraps, citrus, onions, and many other foodstuffs. With the Bokashi system, you can add anything to their bin, including even bones.
Put layers of waste into the bin, sprinkle with Bokashi bran, press down and pop on the lid. Keep adding layers and bran until the bin is full, leave for two weeks, and voila, the food ferments down, leaving reduced waste matter and a nutrient-rich liquid.
The liquid is then diluted to feed indoor and outdoor plants or undiluted as a drain cleaner for use even with a sceptic tank. You can then dig the waste matter into the soil to feed the garden further. There’s no smell, and the stylish buckets look fantastic in any kitchen. The Bokashi is composting for the 21st century.
Zwilling’s automatic handheld vacuum is a neat and convenient piece of equipment, smart enough to sit on the worktop, taking up less space than a large pepper mill and, once charged up, is wireless.
Use the pump to extract air from either the Borosilicate glass containers - which are also ovenproof up to 180°C without the lid - or the zipper bags included.
The benefits of reducing food waste become apparent very quickly. Fresh food or leftovers last five times longer with the air removed. Foods take up less space in the fridge or freezer, and food prep can be done in advance and safely stored until needed.
There’s also an app for this system that sets the Zwilling apart from the pack. Scan the QR code on each bag or box with your phone.
Choose the contents of your container, and you will get an estimate of the best-by date and a reminder when you are getting close to it. This is vacuuming taken to another level.
The handy rechargeable FoodSaver mini vacuum sealer is invaluable when it comes to reducing food waste.
The pump is small, so it can live easily in a drawer, but despite its size, it is powerful and can whip the air out of the enclosed bags or storage containers in no time, keeping food fresher, nutritious and tastier for up to fives times longer.
Uniquely, the FoodSaver also has a small hard plastic, removable reservoir to trap any droplets out of the bag or box that you’re sealing as liquid sucked into a vacuum pump can damage it. The plastic bags are reusable; we used them five times, and they were still sealing well.
This little gadget will save food well beyond its initial cost.
If finding a use for fruits and veggies when the temptation is to bin them feels easier, consider a juicer. Extracting all that goodness, vitamins, and nutrients into a tasty juice is a far better way to go.
The stylish, easy to assemble Braun spin juicer is a powerful machine with a wide opening that takes whole fruits and veg, so no more faffing around chopping.
Braun has thought through the annoying bits of juicing around assembling and dismantling as it clicks together easily.
The annoying cleaning is also sorted by including a handy multi-purpose brush that gets into those nooks and crannies. All the parts (except the motor housing) love the dishwasher.
But what of the leftover pulp? Some bake with it but far simpler is pop it into the compost bin or make energy balls for hungry birds.
Using a soup maker to reduce food waste is brilliant. Any vegetables, including those on the turn, can be transformed into a hearty, nutritious soup in just twenty minutes.
This Morphy Richards soup maker can weigh, sear the vegetables, cook and blend into either a smooth soup or not if you prefer a chunky one. You choose; the machine does the rest.
With a 1.6 litre capacity, the soup maker makes batch cooking and freezing when there’s a glut of veg easy. And, the nifty blending process can also make refreshing milkshakes and smoothies, so there are any fruits also taken care of.
These containers from OXO are not only great to look at, but they are also stackable and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to cover most storage needs.
They also have a super easy button on the top, press, and the container becomes airtight, which helps keep the food inside fresher for longer, thus reducing waste.
And, in case you lose track of what went in when there’s a handy date dial (sold separately) that fixes under the lid to remind you.
Bread can be notoriously tricky to keep fresh and one of the most thrown out of foods after bagged salad.
This simple yet effective breadsaver from Kitchencraft is a clever and easy way to keep bread springy, fresh and in the proper condition to prevent mould.
There are two adjustable vents so that the airflow can be adjusted for different types of bread. The breadkeeper is also expandable for the smallest to family-sized loaves and also works well with croissants, baked and rolls.,
The benefits and ease of using beeswax wraps are not new; they have been around some time and have made significant inroads to lessening plastic wrap while still keeping foods fresh. In some cases, foods such as cheese will benefit from being wrapped this way.
The pre-cut wrap packs can be limiting for odd shaped or larger pieces of food, so say hello to WaxWrap, beeswax on a roll so you can cut as little or as much as you need or want to make this already excellent food waste reducer even better to use.
Sometimes the simplest (and cheapest) can be one of the best. These lovely, colourful silicone pods work and keep the contents fresher for longer than left in the air or wrapped in clingfilm.
There’s one for tomato, lemon and even for the pesky hard-to-keep cut avocado. If you only save a couple of fruits from the bin, you have made your money back, so an uncomplicated, cheap investment that doesn’t cost the earth.