For December I am guest hosting the No Waste Food Challenge for Elizabeth. The challenge has been running for a few years now with the aim of creating recipes using food that might otherwise end up being thrown away. This could include using up stale bread, tired looking vegetables, blemished fruits, leftovers from a previous meal, odds and ends of packets from the back of the cupboard, slightly out of date cheese or anything else that is still edible and shouldn’t end up in the bin. Food waste has been a hot topic lately with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recent series on the huge amounts of food waste associated with the food industry and supermarkets. I don’t know about you, but it had me shouting at my TV more than once in anger at the amount of perfectly good fresh food that was being wasted just because it didn’t fit in with the uniform size requirements or cosmetic standards set by the major supermarket chains.
Since Hugh’s TV show was aired, I’ve spoken to customers at work who watched it and agreed that there is nothing wrong with eating slightly misshapen carrots, parsnips or any other fruit and veg. After the TV show we did end up with some fabulously wonky parsnips such as this one that I purposefully picked out for our Sunday roast.
On a related note, the dominance of prepacked vegetables sold in supermarkets means that sometimes it’s not possible to get to the end of the packet before the veg begins to spoil in some cases. Many of the older customers I serve prefer the fact that we are able to sell vegetables loose and in different sizes so that they can buy just what they need to minimise wastage. However not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to shop in a greengrocers and choose exactly what they want so the only choice is to buy packet sizes offered by supermarkets and hope that all the food is eaten before it becomes inedible.
There are however plenty of ways to use up fruit and veg before it needs to be binned. Soups and stews are great for using up root veg and even cabbages and kale, chuck a few leaves in towards the end of the cooking time. Bruised apples and pears can also still be good for making a delicious pie or crumble.
I’ve mentioned fruit and veg a lot here just because that’s what I deal with everyday at work and much of my cooking is now influenced by veg that I don’t want to see get thrown away. One example is beetroot tops, at work we sell beetroot by the bunch, whenever anybody asks for the leaves to be taken off, providing the leaves are still fresh enough, I will take them home to eat instead of throwing them away. Incidentally, instead of going to landfill, any fruit and veg waste at work (there is always some just because damage inevitably happens to some of the stock) ends up going to a local pig farmer who has agreed to take the stock that can’t be sold to keep his pigs happy.
To join in with the No Waste Food Challenge this month just link up a recipe and follow the guidelines below. I posted a recipe for a goats cheese, pesto and cherry tomato pizza a couple of days ago using up out of date very ripe goats cheese and no doubt I’ll think of something else by the end of the month too.
1. Please link up your url using the linky included in this post.
2. Feel free to republish old posts just make sure you add a link to the current challenge and add the challenge badge, if you fancy (the blue badge at the bottom of this post). Use of the badge is optional.
3. Make sure you link up before the end of the month!
4. Posts will be added to the No Waste Food Challenge Pinterest Board to help spread the food waste prevention love! I will also Stumble and Tweet all entries, as well as including them all in a full round up.
6. Tweet @TangoRaindrop and @JensFood with the tag #NoWasteFoodChallenge and I will retweet when I see it!