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According to new data, 9.15 million tonnes of food waste is thrown away and not recycled in the UK every year. The average British household throws away 28.1kg of food waste each month – 70 percent of which is still fully edible. In a bid to reduce food waste, which also saves you money, premium appliance brand AEG and an expert chef have revealed the many items that can be frozen.
AEG revealed one of the most effective ways to reduce wastage is to cut back on the amount bought.
While shoppers might pick up the odd impromptu item, taking a shopping list (70 percent) and planning meals (64 percent) are among the most common methods people are taking to reduce food bills– and subsequently, waste.
For 62 percent of Brits, freezing fresh food is helping them reduce food waste.
Freezing on the day of purchase can increase shelf-life considerably and many might be surprised to know that mushrooms, avocados, spinach, and many other fresh foods can be frozen without sacrificing quality.
Google searches show there is a sharp increase of people searching for “Can you freeze” queries, with an average increase of 51 percent from 2021-22.
The top 10 items people want to know if they can freeze are cheese, milk, mushrooms, eggs, potatoes, bananas, rice, courgette, avocado and coconut milk.
AEG spoke to expert chef Anna Williams for her guidance in freezing these items. She said: “Food waste is something we should all start to be creative with – it’s a skill. We all should be creative with our cooking and while doing the food shop be mindful of what’s in the cupboards at home.”
“Hard cheeses are the best to freeze since they hold less moisture,” Anna explained. “The best way to freeze the cheese is in a food storage bag tightly sealed so that as little moisture gets in or out. Make sure to squeeze before fully sealing, so all the air is sucked out.”
“It is important to freeze milk before its best before date,” she noted. “You can freeze in its original plastic container but not glass or cardboard as it does expand. Ice cube trays and freezer bags can also be used to store milk but ensure these are tilted appropriately to avoid any leaks.”
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“You can freeze these raw but be mindful, as they contain a lot of moisture their texture can be affected,” the chef said. “It’s important not to wash mushrooms before freezing otherwise they will go soggy. To save space you can also slice them down without any issues.”
“Eggs can be frozen, but I do not recommend doing so whole in their shells,” Anna commented. “You can crack the eggs and store them in a container as a whole egg or freeze beaten.
“I also would not advice freezing soft- or hard-boiled eggs as they tend not to recover from the process.”
“Potatoes can be frozen in many ways, but I do not advise freezing straight from raw due to their water content,” she continued. “Mashed potatoes can be easily frozen in any freezer bag as well as roast potatoes and homemade wedges. Boiled potatoes can also be frozen and easily reheated in boiling water.”
“You can place bananas in the freezer whole with their peel on, just note that they will need to thaw a little afterwards otherwise they won’t peel,” the chef recommended. “Chopped banana can also be easily stored in freezer bags, perfect for adding to smoothies or popping onto your morning toast.”
“Cooked rice can be frozen but, it must be cooled down quickly,” Anna explained. “The best way is to spread cooked rice over a flat tray and place it in the fridge beforehand. When reheating, it’s best to do so in the microwave and make sure that it is piping hot throughout before consuming.”
“Like mushrooms, these can be sautéed off before freezing to remove the excess water or frozen whole,” the chef continued. Just be mindful that when they are defrosted, they will be very squishy as such a high percentage of them is water.”
“The best ones to freeze are ones that are still a little firm,” Anna added. “First, remove all skin and the stone and then place on a silicone-lined tray.
“I always squeeze a little lemon or lime juice on before freezing to prevent them from browning. After a few hours remove and place in an airtight freezer bag and remove all air before placing into the freezer.”
“Similarly to ordinary milk, this can be frozen using ice cube trays and freezer bags that are tilted appropriately to avoid any leaks,” the expert revealed. “Once the ice cubes are frozen you can remove these and place them into a freezer bag to free up some space.”
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