Student living – a time of endless laughs and memories made with friends. However, it’s super important to think about how much food could potentially be wasted over those 3 years of living as a student. Anna, a Leeds University student, shares her experience with us on being a student and how she’s changed her habits to be more savvy and sustainable.
This year I have been trying to put into practice techniques for using up seemingly ‘out of date’ food and storing my food more efficiently to get the most of my weekly shop. Living in a house with other students means I have also tried to get them involved so they can gain a greater understanding that maybe one or two brown, mushy bananas don’t need to be thrown in the bin but can be made into an amazing banana bread in just minutes and enjoyed by all! Another great way to minimise the impact of food waste in a student home is to do a weekly food shop with planned meals in mind. This might be meal plans for just making one portion of food; as this an extremely important factor in reducing food waste, or for making a big meal in bulk to share with your housemates – this will mean less food is bought by each member of the household and that any leftovers, rather than going in the bin, can be placed in Tupperware and frozen for another day.
Whilst on the topic of freezing, (if you have space in your student fridge!), most foods are suitable for freezing and will stay fresher for longer if frozen. Rarely will this compromise on the flavour and texture of your food and will work for any fruit and vegetables that have a shorter shelf life, such as berries, apples, bananas or even chillies, garlic and ginger. These can be stored in the freezer and a bit chopped off when needed and will not behave any differently to fresh when cooked! Students also love bread (who doesn’t!?) as it is a cheap carbohydrate that can easily bulk out a meal. However, fresh bread will not last more than a few days if left out or will go stale and lose its desired qualities, only to be found in the bin. This does not need to be the case! Whatever the breads intended use, put it in the freezer immediately and it will last for weeks. Simply take out and defrost in the microwave for sandwiches or put straight into the toaster. If your bread has been left out and gone a bit crusty and stale, this is not a worry! This bread can be broken up and blended in a food processer to make bread crumbs – perfect for placing into Tupperware and freezing for topping pasta dishes with, for coating meat or vegetables in gratins. These techniques have all been employed in my student house this year and it just goes to show how little changes can make an impact on reducing food waste!