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Author: Lauren Howells
Around 730,000 tonnes of “good potatoes” are thrown out by UK households each year, costing us around £230 million, according to new figures.
We bin just under half of all the potatoes we buy
This equates to just under half of what we buy, putting potatoes as the UK’s second most wasted food, just behind bread.
Love Food Hate Waste, run by not-for-profit group WRAP, said that half of us throw potatoes in the bin simply because we don’t get round to using them in time. It added that every day in the UK, we throw out about 5.8 million potatoes.
Wrinkled potatoes are still safe to eat, say Love Food Hate Waste
As part of its new campaign, called Save Our Spuds, designed to raise awareness about potato wastage, Love Food Hate Waste is providing information to consumers about when a spud is still safe to eat and how to use up any leftover potatoes in order to avoid wasting them.
It says that potatoes with green patches are still fine to eat, as long as the green bits are cut off and chucked away. Equally, any sprouts on spuds just need to be chopped off before cooking.
Wrinkled potatoes are also still safe to eat, according to Love Food Hate Waste, although it admits that this does mean that they will have lost most of their nutrients.
Store potatoes in a cool, dark place
The campaign also provides advice on how to correctly store potatoes so that they last for longer and stresses the importance of keeping them in a cool, dark cupboard in a cloth bag or in their original packaging. They should also be kept away from smelly foods, such as garlic.
Potatoes that are kept in a warm place and exposed to sunlight will start to grow shoots much quicker than those stored as per the instructions above.
Recipes are given to inspire those with a potato glut
Anyone who has more spuds than they can eat before they start to go bad is advised to parboil and freeze them so that the potatoes can be kept to make roast potatoes with at a later date.
Love Food Hate Waste has also provided a number of recipes on its website, such as Potato Babka, to help people use up those leftover spuds.
Last year, Sainsbury’s launched new opaque packing for potatoes, in order to help prolong the shelf-life of spuds.
Household food waste may be on the increase
Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that it was estimated that 7.3 million tonnes of household food waste were binned in 2015, compared to 7 million tonnes in 2012. It said that on average, UK households were wasting £470 worth of food.