Last year we posted a blog about Food Waste. Unfortunately a year on food waste is still a large concern in the United Kingdom, with the country as a whole wasting a considerable amount of food each day. Issues raised in our previous blog were that many people misunderstood the difference between as use by date and a sell by date, resulting in food being thrown away when it would still be okay to eat. Use by dates are on products which do tend to go off after the date shown whereas sell by dates are advisory dates, so that passed the date shown the product may not taste as good as it would of done before this date, and is still perfectly fine to eat. At Smart Restaurants our advice would be to check your food first before throwing it away, if it smells bad or looks like it may have gone off then that is when you can throw it away with your food recycling. If the date on your food is about to pass and you don’t think you will be able to eat it then the other option is to freeze your food so that you can eat it at a later date.
This year we have found that more awareness needs to be risen about eating leftovers. The UK is a country that doesn’t feel comfortable with taking leftover food home after going out to a restaurant. Even with food eaten at home either from a takeaway or from a cooked dinner, leftovers often go straight into the bin or into the food waste. Smart Restaurants are here to advise you on how to make the most of your leftovers and think twice before throwing them into the bin.
Leftover Food at Restaurants
In restaurants you are entitled to take whatever food you leave home with you as you must remember that you have paid for it. If you often leave part of your main course to save room for a dessert then why not ask to take what you have left home with you so that you can have it as another meal the next day. If you do not like to take food home then you can always ask for a smaller portion.
Many countries that you visit like you to take your leftovers with you, countries such as America will ask if you want to take away the food which you have left. Not all food is easy to take home for example food which may be liquid based such as pasta or a meal which is served with gravy, however food such as pizza can be taken home and eaten as another meal the next day.
If you have had meat for your meal then you should take it home and pop it in the fridge as you can use it on your sandwich the next day. This will help you make the most of the food which you have paid for an will eliminate food waste. Restaurants will not mind you taking food home and it is perfectly acceptable. It is such a shame to waste the food which you have paid good money for. You will always be able to use your leftovers, whether you reheat the food as a meal the next day or whether you use part of your meal such as the meat for lunch where you can add it to a salad or make it into a sandwich. The meat has already been cooked so it is fine to eat it cold the next day so long as you make sure that you put it into the fridge as soon as you get home from your meal.
Many of us over-order with takeaway meals especially when there are a number of people eating the takeaway, we feel it is better to have too much food rather than too little. The disadvantage of this is that as a result of ordering too much food, lots of food then gets thrown away. People need to be made aware that leftover takeaway should not just be thrown away and that it is perfect to keep for the next day and can be used for another meal.
Most takeaway meal leftovers can be saved from going into the bin and can be used as meals for the next day. If you have leftover pizza then this can left in the box and put into the fridge. Pizza can be either eaten cold or it can be reheated in the oven or the microwave. For the best results reheating your pizza in the oven tastes the best as it cooks the topping and slightly crisps the crusts. Other takeaway meals such as Chinese or Indian meals can be eaten the next day, so long as they are put into the fridge the night before. Many Chinese and Indian takeaways meals are given to the customer in microwavable tubs which makes reheating those meals even easier.
For advice on eating leftover takeaway you can read our blog on on how to recycle your takeaway.
Turn Your Leftovers into Sandwiches
If you have any meat left from your meal the night before whether it was from a restaurant meal, a takeaway or from a meal cooked at home then use it for your sandwich for the next day. Once you have made up your sandwich make sure that you put it in the fridge so that it stays nice and fresh for the next day. If you only have a little bit of meat left then why not add some salad to turn it into nice tasty sandwich for work the next day.
Reheat Your Leftovers in an Oven
Reheating your leftovers in the oven is a great way to bring out the flavours of the meal. Only some leftovers can be reheated this way as some meals may go a little dry as a result of being cooked in the oven. Pizza’s reheat well in the oven as the oven will slightly cook the topping whilst crisping up the crust.
Other leftover meals such as a pasta bake can be reheated in the oven for about 10 minutes. You can always add extra cheese so that it melts nicely on top.
Reheat Your Leftovers in an Microwave
Microwaves make reheating food even easier and leaves no excuse for throwing away your leftovers. The time it will take to microwave your food will depend on what type of food it is. Pizza and pasta will usually take about 2 minutes to reheat. Other meals such as a Chinese or Indian meal may take a little longer. Smart Restaurants suggests reheating food in the microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds and checking to see if it is heating through nicely and to also see if it needs any more time.