Reducing Food Waste for Earth Day
Go to your fridge and have a look at the bottom of your veg trays. Is there a questionable cucumber in there? Softer than you’d want a poached egg and not the same colour when you bought it? Or maybe a squishy strawberry or some lemons in the fruit bowl that seem to have turned blue and powdery?
In the UK we are guilty of throwing away 7 million tonnes of food and drink a year, mainly bread, fruit and veg - wasting nearly £500 per household. That’s 50,000 penny sweets, 250 lottery tickets or 2 last minute train tickets from London to Edinburgh (probably).
This Earth Day, A Very Nice Idea has some suggestions to help reduce our impact on the planet and help keep you in penny sweets and Lottery tickets for weeks to come....
Plan your shop
Simply, buy less food. If you take the time to plan your weekly eating and shop for fewer meal than you expect to have, it’s easy to top up your supplies with a few extra bits and pieces. Loose fruit and veg are likely to get used up rather than big bags.
Make it easier
Keeping your store cupboard and freezer well stocked means throwing a meal together in minutes is a lot simpler. Portioned pasta sauces, meat, fish and bags of veg in the freezer are a great time saver, as well as tins of tomatoes and pulses - it’s all really versatile and will keep for weeks. Write down what you’ve got and where, so you always know which meals are possible.
Make less rubbish
Before getting rid of anything you’ve made, ask if you can re-purpose for something else. Use your leftovers for a new dish - vegetables and mash or roast potatoes from your Sunday dinner make an excellent bubble and squeak or any left over meat would be amazing in a stir fry or pie. Alternatively freezing food in portions as soon as it’s cooled will help reduce how much you throw out.
Now, as I said earlier, bread, vegetables and fruit are the worst offenders when it comes to premature binning, and there’s plenty of easy, and tasty, ways to help stretch them further.
Make breadcrumbs from stale bread.
Bake in the oven for croutons in soups and salads
A great way to thicken sauces when blitzed up.
Stale bread is the best thing for bread and butter pudding - whether the traditional sweet or with veg and cheese as a kind of gratin.
Slightly old or ready-cooked veg can be combined with a little milk, cream or stock and made into a puree (it’s not just guys on masterchef that can do it, you could even do an arty smear on the plate!)
Roughly chopping any veg you need to use up (even if it’s seen better days) frying with a little oil, garlic and any herbs you have lying around, then add stock and blend will make a tasty and healthy soup.
Use to bulk out any slow-cooked stews, like a bolognese sauce or casserole.
Frozen bananas when blended make a creamy and healthy alternative to ice-cream, as well as smoothies or flavouring with other fruits or cocoa.
Frozen fruit can be blended with sugar to make an easy sorbet.
Soft or overripe fruit can be cooked down in a little water, with sugar (and spice if that’s your bag) and made into a compote - which can be enjoyed on porridge, granola, yoghurt, pancakes, waffles………… the possibilities are endless!
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