No one can deny that food waste is an unpalatable subject, even more so are the statistics. Here are some of the facts....
- We throw away 7.2 million tones of household food & drink waste each year
- 4.4 million tones of this total is food & drink which is avoidable!
- £12 billion a year is thrown to landfill. A staggering 60% of household food waste ends up there. This is equivalent to 9 Wembley Stadiums every year.
- This is £480 each year for the average household or £600 a year for families with children, equivalent to £50 per month.
- The food sent to landfill generates methane, a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide.
- This emission is equivalent to 20 million tones of carbon dioxide.
- If we stopped wasting food it would be equivalent to taking 20% of the cars off our roads.
It is sobering reading. These statistics are published by Love Food Hate Waste, the campaign which was launched 6 years ago to tackle the food waste in the UK by domestic households. This is not the industry sector, for which we have no influence.
This means you and me. We are in wholesale denial about our own part in throwing away food with 84% believing that they throw no food away or hardly any food away.
Hmmm, 7.2 million tonnes got there somehow......
Over the last year I have held cooking demonstrations for the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, showing how using the foods that are often thrown away can be delicious and very easy to prepare.
Love Food Hate Waste run an informative and resource packed website with excellent tips about storing food, using it up and portion control. Much of the avoidable waste is us cooking more than we eat. One of the top tips from LFHW is to have a well thought out store cupboard, giving you plenty of scope for using up the scraps.
So without further reason to feel incapacitated with the overwhelm of hopelessness in the face of mega tonnes of rotting food in the landfill, it is heartening to realise that changing this can start in your own kitchen. Simply deciding that left overs are worth using, eating up, re-hashing and fun. Some of the family's favourite meals are the left over creations.
Here are 5 recipes showing some simple rescue recipes.
I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to buying fruit that I don't always eat up. About a tenth of all food waste is fruit. This excellent rescue recipe can save a bowl of pears or apples from going into the bin with store cupboard stand-bys.
- 225g softened butter
- 225g caster sugar (reserve a tablespoon)
- About 400-500gms of apples or pears of any variety chopped up into small dice.
- The rind of 1 lemon finely grated and its juice
- 4 eggs
- 225g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground almonds (optional)
- Blend the butter and sugar until pale.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat until blended.
- Add the lemon and almonds
- Fold in the flour and baking powder.
- Gently add and fold in the fruit.
- Pile into a 22cm springform baking tin 22 cm, sprinkling the top with reserved tablespoon of sugar and bake at 170C for about 45 minutes or until it is golden and cooked in the middle.
- Release the mould when cool and serve.
Rocket and Walnut Pesto
Will keep for a least 2 weeks in a jar in the fridge
An instant ready meal
Virtually everyone admits to throwing away salad and herbs. Full of good intentions when out buying and no doubt seduced with 'buy one get one free' offers. This rocket and walnut pesto recipe can save that rocket just on the turn with ingredients we very often have in our store cupboard. The same remedy can be applied to any mixture of herbs or watercress.
- 50g rocket
- 1 clove of garlic
- 25g walnuts
- 25g finely grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
- 50ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Rocket, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan and walnuts (packet nuts work perfectly)
Simply blend all the ingredients in a food processor, adding finely grated hard cheese at the end.
Adding chili would be a welcome addition
Sometimes we buy special ingredients for a recipe and use what is needed and then leave the said ingredient languishing in the cupboard for months. Thrown out when we have exceeded the use by date. On my last Love Food cooking demo I was asked to feature some ingredients that may normally be left behind once we have made the recipe book dish just once. Polenta or cornmeal (the same thing by the way) is a something that may be such an ingredient. This is a great grain for making muffins or cornbread.
This cornbread can be made start to finish in 25 minutes maximum and is so heart warming and comforting that once you have tried it, will become a regular fixture. It makes a welcome change from bread to serve with soup.
150g polenta, or cornmeal
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
275ml buttermilk or sour milk or just milk
50g melted butter
Salt and pepper
Add any further ingredients
A baking tray about 30cm x 15cm lightly greased
Firstly select what needs using up. You can add cooked meat, grated cheese, tinned corn, red onion, any herbs, veg grated.
Combine all the ingredients together, adding all the 'use up' items.
Pour into a greased baking tin and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
Eat as soon as it comes out of the oven.....
The great British cauliflower is an unsung hero. I love cauliflower sauteed in spices until caramelised and served as a salad. Making fritters another great way to use it up along with other store cupboard items. One cauliflower and a few ingredients goes a long way. Serve with a raita or herby yogurt and a bit more cupboard combing and you will have a meal on your hands. I love how my fussy son who doesn't like cauliflower loves these.....
- 1 Cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 1 or 2 chilies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp coriander, salt & pepper
- 3 eggs
- Handful of coriander
- 100gms of plain flour
- Sunflower oil for shallow frying
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil until cooked, mash lightly
- Add all the other ingredients with beaten eggs and flours (I added some oatmeal)
- Fry in hot oil until golden and cooked all the way through
- Drain on kitchen paper
Serving idea, with herby yogurt dip and salad
Savoury Potato Skins
16% of our wasted food is vegetables and salad. Potatoes rank highly within this total.
This is a delicious snack and served with home made soup makes a nutritious and economical meal. The beauty of this potato skin dish is that you can put anything that needs using up in. Ham, bacon, tuna, left over meat, capers, feta, peppers, courgettes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms are some of the typical items that knock around my fridge. Often just a spoon of each, but with this rescue idea will end up as a dish in its own right.
The humble potato along with some scraps
Firstly forage in the fridge and comb your cupboards
Bake the potatoes until soft
Scoop out the potato flesh, leaving the skins intact