Do you know how to reduce your food waste?
If you took our fact or fiction test in the Surrey Matters July e-news, please see explanations to the answers below. But if you'd like to take it before you read the answers, test yourself here.
1. It's safe to eat food after the 'best before' date
Best Before dates refer to quality rather than food safety. Foods with a ‘best before' date should be safe to eat after the date, but they may no longer be at their best. With the exception of eggs which should be used by the date.
Use by dates refer to safety. Food can be eaten up to the end of this date but not after even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on the packaging. To extend the life of food beyond its date, freeze it before the date and defrost and use within 24 hours.
2. Chicken can only be reheated once
It can only be reheated once. If you have cooked chicken that you aren't going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as possible (ideally within one to two hours) and then store it in the fridge (for no longer than two days) or freeze. When you reheat it (only once) ensure it is piping hot throughout.
3. Bread is best kept in the fridge to retain freshness
A popular myth is to keep it in the fridge, but believe it or not, this means it will actually go stale faster than in your breadbin/cupboard. Storing bread in a cool dark place like a bread bin and re-sealing the pack will keep it at its freshest. You can also freeze bread to use a later date.
4. Soaking wilted greens in cold water makes them last longer
Soaking your greens in a bowl of water with a couple of ice cubes for at least 30 minutes shocks and revives them, perfect for a green salad or sandwich.
5. ‘Use by’ dates are there to make you buy more
A ‘use by’ date tells you how long food will stay safe – and they aren’t just guesswork, the dates are worked out by scientific testing.
Don’t be tempted to eat food after the ‘use by’ date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine –you could be putting your health at risk.
6. It is safe to reheat rice
Reheating rice is not a problem – however make sure the rice has been correctly stored before reheating to avoid any issues. These simple rice rules should help to ensure you don't have any problems:
- Never re-heat rice more than once.
- It's best to serve rice when it has just been cooked.
- If that isn't possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) and keep it in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating.
- Never leave cooked rice to cool on its own - always chill it quickly for example under running cold water. If cooked rice had been chilled or frozen ensure that it is thoroughly reheated and is piping hot throughout.
- Never keep rice chilled for longer than 1 day or frozen for longer than 1 month.
- Once cooked rice has been re-heated, throw away any leftovers.
How did you do?
1 or 2 correct = Good try. For advice on knowing your dates, portion control, recipe ideas and more, take a look through our site.
3 or 4 correct = Well done, keep on reducing your food waste take a look through our for more helpful tips to help you reduce more.
5 or 6 correct = Congratulations, you know your stuff. Why not sign up to our regular e-newsletter and keep up-to-date with our latest news.