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War on

WASTE

Millions of tonnes of food are wasted in the UK each year. Here are some suggestions to help keep your food waste to a minimum

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, around one in nine people around the world don't have enough to eat. And yet every year around 15 million tones of food are wasted in the UK alone.

  

Food is wasted during production and by supermarkets. But almost half of the UK's food waste happens in the home – which can easily be avoided.

  

Love Food Hate Waste is a nationwide campaign that is helping to raise awareness of our need to reduce food waste, and offers suggestions on how to achieve this.


Planning ahead is essential if you want to make sure that all the food you buy actually gets eaten. Check to see what's already lurking at the back of the cupboard, fridge or freezer – then plan out the week's meals, incorporating ingredients you already have and need to use up.

  

Write a shopping list for everything else that's needed – and try to stick to the list, as overbuying is one of the main reasons that food gets thrown away.

  

Once you get your food home, keep an eye on the dates stamped on packaging, and make sure that food approaching its 'use-by' date is eaten first or popped in the freezer to be used later.

  

Reducing portion size is better for your wallet – and your waistline. Uneaten food left on a plate is likely to go in the bin – but if it's untouched and still in the pan, it can be stored in the fridge or frozen for another day. Mashed potato, cooked vegetables, pasta sauces and curries all freeze well for later use. And you can always serve up second helpings to hungry family members once they've cleared what's on their plates!

  

There are lots of ideas for avoiding food waste on the Love Food Hate Waste website,

including some brilliant recipes for using up leftovers. Let's win the war on waste!


Get creative in the kitchen

The average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week. With a value of around £60 a month, this means that many of us are wasting money by binning perfectly edible food.

  

However, the good news is that it's quite easy to reduce this waste through careful planning and a bit of creativity in the kitchen.

  

Fresh fruit and vegetables make up a large percentage of discarded food. Check the state of your fruit and veg regularly, to see which items are going past their best and need to be eaten first. Making soup is a great way to use up less than perfect veg – and can be made from almost any vegetables, so see what you've got lurking in the fridge.

A basic soup recipe involves frying an onion and some garlic, then adding peeled, cubed vegetables and a litre of vegetable stock. Simmer until soft – around 20 to 30 minutes – then blend until smooth, adding more stock if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

  

Good soup combinations include root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes, or broccoli and cheese. You can even make soup out of limp lettuce leaves, pea pods, or the outer leaves of a cauliflower!


Smoothies are another great way to use up fresh produce and are easy to make. All you need is a blender, some fruit and some apple juice. A good thing about smoothies is that almost any combination of fruits (and even some vegetables) will work, and you can have fun experimenting with different flavours. Try adding strawberries, blueberries and a ripe banana to a blender, along with around 300ml apple juice, and blend until smooth. If you prefer a thinner consistency, just add more juice.

  

Or for something really healthy, try apple juice blended with a handful or two of fresh spinach leaves, a couple of sticks of celery, and a peeled kiwi fruit.

  

Soups and smoothies can be frozen for enjoying later – and frozen smoothies make fantastic, healthy lollies – perfect when the kids want a treat!

Bread is another frequently thrown away food – around 24 million slices of bread are thrown out by UK households every day. If you find yourself with too much bread, there are several handy tricks to use it up. Large loaves can be divided – half to eat now and half to freeze for another day. Any bread that's about to go stale can be turned into breadcrumbs in a food processor and frozen for future use. Breadcrumbs are useful in stuffings, fishcakes, or mixed with cheese to make a topping for savoury dishes.

  

Make French toast by dunking bread slices in egg, then frying in sunflower oil. Or use stale slices to make bread and butter pudding. For the classic version of this economical dessert, use dried fruits such as sultanas – or ring the changes by using marmalade, jam or mincemeat.

Mincemeat bread and butter pudding

(serves 4)

4 slices slightly stale bread, brown or white

30g soft butter

3 tablespoons mincemeat

1 tablespoon brandy or orange juice

2 eggs

100ml double cream

200ml milk

1 tablespoon toasted almonds

a little icing sugar, to finish


Mix the mincemeat with the brandy or orange juice to make it more spreadable, then make mincemeat sandwiches by generously buttering the bread, spreading on a layer of mincemeat and topping with a second slice. Cut the sandwiches into triangles and arrange in a single layer in a greased, ovenproof dish. Whisk together the eggs, milk and cream and pour this over the bread in the dish. Bake at 170° for 30-40 minutes, until set. To serve, sprinkle toasted almonds over the pudding and dust with a little icing sugar. Delicious warm with ice cream.

Little Green Space September 2016