COLUMN: How to make a chicken last the week

Chicken dishes to last throughout the week
Chicken dishes to last throughout the week
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For more than 20 years, the FareShare UK charity has been rescuing unwanted food to help feed people who are in need.

I work on a successful new programme that connects community groups with supermarkets to collect surplus food free of charge.

In nine months, more than 1.5 million meals have been prepared from good food that would otherwise just have been wasted.

But it’s not all about supermarkets. The average family could save hundreds of pounds just by throwing out less food.

In our new column - Wanted, not Wasted we have has ideas a-plenty to help you save food and money, and allow you to do your bit for the planet too.

What could you do with an extra £700? It’s hard to believe that an average family could save this much money by throwing out less food.

It’s true that, like lots of people, when I first heard this, I decided it didn’t really apply to me.

As do many people, I like to think that I am pretty resourceful. I don’t do big shops, I avoid packaged foods, I can make a chicken last all week! Me? No, it’s not about not me.

Yes, actually, it is. It’s about me, you, us, them.

Why? Because 50 per cent of food that is thrown away in the UK comes from our homes, half of which could be eaten.

So how do we end up wasting food at home? It’s not just about limp lettuce at the bottom of the fridge, there’s loads of stuff we don’t think about. Here are my top three tips to get you started:

Know your labels. Best before, use by and sell by are not the same.

‘Best before’ is about quality – it’s fine to use beyond this date, it just might not taste as good.

‘Use by’ is about safety – guidance is to not use beyond this date as it could make you poorly, but you could freeze it. ‘Sell by’ is a date for store staff so you can ignore it.

Of course, some of us disregard dates completely and simply sniff, squeeze or slurp as our grandmas did.

Buy little, often and loose. Bagged up produce, 2-4-1 offers and mega-shopping trips all encourage us to buy more than we need. It’s a bargain, right? Not if half of it goes in the bin a week later.

Love your Leftovers. A chicken roasted on Sunday can be picked clean and added to curry or risottos, mash makes great croquettes, and the carcass will make the best stock you ever tasted – just pop in a pan of water with tops and tails from veg, season and simmer for 20 minutes to four hours. If you have heard the latest health speak about bone broth, this is pretty much it.