Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I don't waste food because I want to. No-one does.

Naturally, as it's Zero Waste Week, I've been thinking a lot about food waste and yesterday delved into my cupboards and fridge-freezer to see what I needed to rescue from being chucked away this week.

Not that we waste a lot of food these days,  However, I know that I can still be a tad careless.

After all, I don't buy things thinking, 'Oh, that'll end up in the bin.'  I don't like wasting food and I've never met anyone who does.

For me, food waste is mainly an accidental consequence of my busy and chaotic life.

And with four different appetites in the house with their different routines and culinary dislikes, it can be tricky to find a balance to provide a healthy diet and reduce the amount of stuff that ends up in the bins.

The trick that I've begun to use when shopping for perishable produce is to actually ask myself about the likelihood of that item going to waste.  If I can't categorically say there's less than a 10% chance, I won't buy it.  This is so different to the way I used to shop, when I never actually gave it a single thought.

Consequently, I've avoided hundreds of BOGOFs, hundreds of wasted yoghurts and countless slices of unused ham

And although I still use it in emergencies, I try not to depend on the freezer as a back-up, because I am never that organised to benefit from it - except for storing sliced bread before it goes on the turn as well as unusual flavoured ice-cubes (more on that later).

My technique to fresh produce is normally to have a back-up plan, knowing for example that any fruit that ends up looking worse for wear can be brought back to life as a smoothie, just like the one I made yesterday from a dodgy looking banana, some veteran melon, squishy strawberries, blackberries & last week's apple juice. 

It's a five minute job that requires no faff.  I'm far too busy for faff - and if I dare confess, I can sometimes be a total lazy-arse too.

But to think I just used to bung that stuff in the compost. 

It's a far cry from how I now look at a banana and almost egg it on towards the dark side so I can bash it up in the blender.  Until you've tried it, you won't know how satisfying such fruity alchemy can be.

Now back to my chaotic side - which is my normal setting.  You can see what my perishables are up against.  Even with the best laid plans to use up the open pot of greek yoghurt with some dollops of mango chutney and tomato puree, to create a base source for a sweet and sour Balti Chicken, I totally forgot to set free the coriander from the fridge to add to it.

I only made it so I could use the bloody coriander!

So to avoid it becoming fodder for the compost, I'd now better freeze it with some water in the ice-cube tray to create what Jamie Oliver has turned to calling a 'Flavour Bomb'!

It can sit alongside the juice that I squeezed from an aging rock-hard lime.

One day, I may become a zero food waste genius.

I hope so.

I don't waste food because I want to.  No-one does.


More information about Zero Waste Week, can be found at www.zerowasteweek.co.uk.  There are also lots of tips on shopping, storage and cooking at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.


Anna Pitt said...

I'd never thought of freezer 'flavour bombs'.

Nice idea I plan to try!

Almost Mrs Average said...

It's got so much potential, hasn't it. Do let me know what works. :)

Small Footprints said...

I love the idea of shopping and asking yourself about the probability of an item going to waste. I've found that the whole zero waste thing is really about planning and thinking ahead. I try not to buy unless I have an actual use and meal plan for the item. Even if something comes up and means we don't eat at home, I'm still closer to using the item and can make plans for working it in sooner rather than later. My hubz tends to shop because something looks good but, after our audit last week, he's realized that it doesn't work. Thanks for sharing such great tips! Oh ... and those food bombs are great ... I make both cilantro and basil "bombs" since they don't last fresh at all. The benefit is that in the winter, I have that fresh flavor in my dishes.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Small Footprints, you are absolutely right. I used to only shop on the basis of things looking good, often hungry while being nagged by you kids, but am glad to now be over it. And talking of planning, I really must harvest my mint this year. Would be shame to let it all die down without some mint bombs at the ready. :)

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