Monday, 21 October 2013

Reducing Food Waste

First of all apologies for not being here for ages.  I’ve been having big technical issues with Blogger as it won’t work with the version of IE I’ve got.  I’m still looking for another blogging solution, but in the meantime I’ve just about managed to force this to post – apologies if it looks a bit odd.
I just felt I had to post today after reading this article in the Telegraph this morning.
I wasn’t surprised to hear how much food is wasted by the supermarkets – but think it’s crazy in an era where you hear about food poverty and increasing use of food banks that there aren’t better and more creative approaches to this problem.  I’m guessing that most of the food thrown away is perfectly good, and is only discarded due to artificial ‘use by’ or ‘sell by’ dates on it. 
We may not be able to directly control the Tesco’s of this world, but please do put pressure on them, and also consider using other non-supermarket shops where practical and feasible to do so.  I will be writing to Tesco’s about this, and pointing them to this blog, which I know only has a small UK readership, but to quote their own words ‘every little helps’.
What we can control directly however, is our own food waste at home.  We get a weekly veg box delivery, and over the years I’ve collected various recipes which are great for using up those odds and ends which get left over.  Indian veg curries, root veg crumbles, even just simple roasted veg – all are great uses for those slightly shrivelled objects in the bottom of the fridge drawer.  And yes, slightly shrivelled carrots are absolutely fine to useJ  just avoid green potatoes and you’ll be hunky dory.  The best way to keep carrots fresh by the way is to put them in a plastic bag – loose ones in the veg drawer go bendy very quickly.  No idea why – but it works.
But what about those 4 categories specifically mentioned in the article?
1)      Bread.  I can’t believe that anyone actually wastes bread.  So easy not to do so, assuming you have a freezer.  We don’t actually eat much bread, so as soon as we buy a new loaf, it goes straight into the freezer.  If it’s unsliced, we slice it first.  Then we just take out the amount we need when we need it.  Whatever you do, do not store bread or other bakery products in the fridge – all it does is make them hard and stale much quicker.  If you’re keeping them out of the freezer, make sure that they are properly wrapped, and if you can, store then in a bread bin.  Stale bread can easily be chopped or whizzed up into breadcrumbs – and again, store in the freezer.  Or what about a bread and butter pudding?
2)      My solution to the bagged salad problem is generally not to buy it.  Or only to buy it where I know I have a specific use in the next couple of days.  Buying lettuce whole, such as cos or little gems, means that they keep much better for longer.  And you can cook them if they are starting to look a little sad.  I also have various warm ‘main course’ salad recipes available where I have a bag of lettuce that needs eating – a recent hit included bacon, roast squash and croutons (helps with the bread problem as well!)
3)      Bananas – I kind of sympathise with this one as I happen to think ripe bananas are absolutely disgusting.  But I only buy loose bananas so I’m only buying a few at a time, and I also have some great recipes for banana muffins and banana bread which are so yummy and easy that I actively look forward to having some overripe bananas.  Apparently you can peel them and freeze for use in smoothies (or presumably banana bread!) but have never tried this.
4)      Grapes should always be kept in the fridge – they keep for a while like this.  No specific solutions on what to do with slightly too ripe ones as they never last that long in our house – but apparently you can make your own raisins!
What are your thoughts?  Any top tips on avoiding food waste?  Recipes for grapes?

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