Best Before Dates - a Rant and a Good Idea

We have just been up-country, as we say in Cornwall, visiting family, having a belated Christmas dinner together (for the first time in about 20 years!) and seeing how grown and wonderful my great niece Amelia has become.  So that’s why I haven’t written for a bit.

leftover food, ideas, recipes, cookbook

Whilst there I picked up a leaflet from the East of England Co-op who have had a good idea. They will now sell products past their ‘Best Before’ date in their 125 food local stores for a nominal 10p.  I don’t know if they intend rolling this out to the rest of the country, but it is surely worth investigating. 

According to the leaflet …
food waste uk. food waste, zero waste, leftovers
I have read different but equally horrific figures elsewhere but however much food waste it is it’s too much!  This is something I have ranted on about for years.  In fact, at the end of my book Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers I wrote …


            I really don’t want to encourage anyone to take risks with their food but would nevertheless like to moan on a bit about ‘best before’ dates. 

         Whilst I am, of course, as delighted as the next person by a bargain I am also often irritated. Fruits and vegetables have sometimes not reached their ‘best after’ date when being offered as past their prime. I have bought out of date ‘ripen at home’ avocadoes that weren’t soft for weeks, I once lost a bargain white cabbage in the car when bringing in the shopping and it was still OK when I found it there ten days later (it was cold out) and I even snapped up a healthy growing basil plant with roots for 10p because it was ‘past its best before date’!

Cheese is another case in point. Bearing in mind that it was developed as a way to preserve milk and that many cheeses improve over time I was surprised last Christmas to see small gift cheddars, coated in wax, which were supposedly out of date by 9th January. Why? What would happen then? And don’t get me started on honey!

        ‘Are best before dates a cunning ruse to make nervous people throw food away and buy more?’ I ask myself cynically. According to Defra these dates indicate how long a food can be expected to retain its optimal condition and yet in my own experience many bargains have not even reached optimal condition by that date. May I therefore suggest that you rely on your own brain and your senses of smell and taste?

‘Use by’ dates are an entirely different matter as they concern food spoilage and safety and I don’t recommend you mess with them.

So, as I’ve said before …

Please, please, please learn to cook so you can use up all the food that you have available in utterly delicious ways. This is just one of my 7 Excellent Reasons to Learn to Cook. Go for it!!! 

Oh, and don't forget to pop down the Co-Op if you happen to be in the East of England!

delicious-ideas-for-leftovers, food waste, zero waste

In Other News …

A new edition of my book is to be released on 1st March.  It is now titled Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers and can be ordered here. 

I look forward to meeting it myself!

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