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How to save money on your winter food bill

Newshub logoNewshub 10/07/2018 Newshub staff

a vase of flowers on a table © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

1. Cook a number of meals at once

If you're cooking a pasta sauce, double the portions and freeze them. You will save on time and the power bill. Cool the meal down on the bench before you freeze it or put it in the fridge - putting warm stuff in the fridge makes it work harder, increasing the amount of power you use (and pay for.)

Another option is to cook one meal and have it last two or three. Love Food, Hate Waste recommends a roast chicken with vegetables for the first meal, turning the leftovers into chicken noodle soup and then a roast vegetable salad. Recipe here.

2. Keep your fridge and freezer full

It may seem counterintuitive, but the fridge and freezer work more efficiently when they're full.

3. Reheat food in the microwave - or cook in the microwave, slow-cooker or crock pot instead of the oven

The microwave is much faster, more efficient and cheaper to use than the oven. If you need to reheat something, put it in the microwave instead of the oven. The oven is very energy demanding, so if you do use it, make the most of it and cook a few things at once or double the portions.

You can even make some meals in the microwave, like this surprisingly yum 8-minute banana pudding. Someone on the Newshub team even fed this to guests and they did not complain.

4. Only fill the kettle with what you need

If you just want a cup of tea for yourself, fill the kettle to the minimum. It will boil faster, be cheaper and better for the environment.

5. Turn off the oven for the last few minutes of cooking

If you're cooking a roast or lasagne in an electric oven, switch it off and keep the door closed for the last few minutes. It will stay hot and your food will keep cooking   .

When you finish cooking, open the oven door wide to let some of the residual heat warm your house.

6. Eat seasonal vegetables

Love Food, Hate Waste recommends choosing vegetables like cabbage, leaks and parsnips, or to go for frozen vegetables. Seasonal vegetables might not be specifically marked as such, but you can tell which ones they are because they are the cheapest, most abundant and usually freshest at the supermarket.

7. Eat all the whole vegetable

You can eat much more of the vegetable than you may have realised. Use the stalks of herbs (as long as they're not too woody), stir fry or steam the stalk of cauliflower and broccoli and eat the stems of silverbeet and the green parts of leeks and spring onions. This is another Love Food, Hate Waste tip.


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