6 ways to make your food last longer than the best before date
Come on, fess up, how much food have you chucked in the bin this year instead of down your gullet? Too much we reckon.Hard-up student + wasted food = wasted money. Finances aside, it's also just not ethically great to throw food away frivolously when there are people unable to afford to feed themselves all over the world.
Yet while it's totally true that inedible food must be condemned to the land of the kitchen bin, all too often we'll chuck food away that's still perfectly a-ok to eat. In fact, experts reckon we chuck out nearly £700 of edible food every year.
So how can you save yourself the dollar and avoid wasting food? And what really is the deal with the best before date? Buckle up for our guide to wasting less food – you're in for a (fully edible) treat.
6 ways to make your food last longer
Don't obsess about ‘best before' dates
One of the biggest misconceptions of the food industry today is that you cannot eat food after the best before date has passed. Straight up: it's just a recommendation, you totally can.
A best before date (with the exception of eggs) just tells you how long the product will be in prime condition for, and it many cases it will taste just dandy after that anyway.
While it's generally a case of looking at the food and using your common sense to see if it's eatable, a general rule of thumb is that it'll still be ace 50% longer than the manufacturer says it will.
Just to reiterate; eating food after it's best before date is totally safe and fine. Just make sure it passes the visual and smell test and you'll be laughing.
Don't believe ‘use-bys' apply at midnight
It's totally fine to eat stuff after the ‘best-before' date, as that particular date just refers to when the manufacturer things the food is in its prime. But with ‘use-by' dates you should be a bit more careful.
The use-by date is more of a safety measure, to give you an idea of when food could be potentially dangerous to eat.
With ‘high-risk' foods such as meat, fish and dairy, it's always better to be on the safe side and throw it out if the use-by date has passed. Food poisoning isn't fun!
This said, use-by dates don't kick in the minute the clock strikes midnight. If your milk went out yesterday and it's just 7am, it's probably still okay. When in doubt…
Use your common sense
If you're a bit of a clever clogs you might have noticed there's a bit of a recurring theme going on so far – common sense!
When you're equally keen to eat something and still stay alive, give the food in question a good check over; does it smell ok? Is there nothing growing on it?
If the answer is ‘yes', and it hasn't been residing in your fridge for longer than you can remember, you'll probably be fine.
Freeze food that's close to going off
If your food is close to either its use-by or its best before and you won't have time to eat it before then – chuck it in the freezer.
Even the most unfreezeable things you can think of are probably totally freezable – so much so that we've written an entire guide on it!
Similarly, keeping tabs of the best ways to store different kinds of foods will keep them at their best for weeks longer than expected. Here's a few of our favourites.
Cook it all up
If your food is on it's way out and you don't want to waste it, cook it up into something that can then be stored for longer.
For example, if your mince is about to go off, make it into spag bol and it'll keep in the fridge for another week since the mince meat will be cooked. Equally, vegetables on the way out will make for a great soup.
Again, separating what you cook into single portions and freezing them will massively minimise wastage.
If you need some cooking ideas, be sure to check out our recipes section.
Revive it from the dead
If all else fails – never give up hope! Sometimes food that looks as though it's already dead and buried can be brought back to life!
A rescue mission isn't a false hope; you can easily revive crisps, pizza and much more by using a variety of cheeky tricks.
You can even save a packet by shopping online specifically for food that's past (or close to) its best before date, so get comfy with the idea and you'll save a mint.
Don't forget to share the love/knowledge if you've got some extra food-salvaging tricks up your sleeve!