Zero Waste Week
It’s Zero Waste Week, which is a grassroots campaign raising awareness of the environmental impact of waste, whatever type that may be.
In our case, predictably, we are focusing on food waste.
Firstly, let’s start with some facts.
Do you know that over a third of all the food produced globally goes go waste?
Do you also know that the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the UK, UK and Europe?
And, astonishingly, are you aware that an area larger than China is used to grow food that is never eaten?
We are sure you will agree these are startling figures and one of the reasons why Zero Waste Week is so important when it comes to food.
One of the best ways you can reduce food waste is plan your menus in advance. How many times do you do a ‘big shop’ at your supermarket, only to have to throw things out a week or so later because things have passed their use by date (remember the sell by date is different and more of a guide for supermarkets than anything else)?
Nine times out of ten we would guess this waste comes from not planning what you are going to cook with the things you can buy, so before you set off for the supermarket, or prepare your online order, firstly decide what you want to eat during the week, then only buy what you need to make these dishes.
This will save you money as well.
Popular dishes such as curry, lasagne, bolagnese and cottage pie can be ‘batch’ cooked, which means, depending on how many people you are feeding, you could get two dinners out of them or, at the very least, have a few portions to put in the freezer for those times when you don’t have time to cook.
Storing food correctly is also important. For example, keep bananas away from other foods as they produce ethylene gas which promotes ripening, and don’t think everything has to be refrigerated, e.g. onions and potatoes should be kept in cupboards and not chilled.
Try not to overstock your fridge because chances are things you can’t see will quickly become spoiled. In our house we use the ‘first in, first out’ method, which means putting ‘older’ items at the front of the fridge so you can see when they need to be used.
Another good tip is to make better use of your freezer. So, rather than binning those fruit and vegetables which are no longer fresh, put them in bags and containers and freeze them for later use in smoothies.
So, there’s lots you can be doing to avoid food waste and to do your own bit during zero waste week.
Here’s a recipe using leftovers from a chicken used in a Sunday roast
- Leftover chicken (use your fingers to pull out as much remaining meat as you can)
- 5g/2oz butter
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 25g/2oz plain flour
- 1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and gently fry the onions, celery and carrots until they start to soften.
2. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring as you do so. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the cooked chicken and cook until heated through. Adjust the seasoning, stir and serve.