We’re constantly hearing statistics about how much food is wasted in this country. It’s shocking really but I think we’ve become somewhat desensitised to it because it’s been happening so long. Making more of what we buy is such an important thing, not only to save ourselves money, or infact to get more out of the money we do spend, but also to not waste food, fill our bins with perfectly edible stuff and essentially stick two fingers up at the starving people of this world. We sponsor a child in Burundi (we did sponsor 2 but one of them has gone missing) and we’re trying to show our youngsters how some people in the world don’t have much to eat, so wasting the food we do have, isn’t good.
The day after Christmas, I made six portions of bubble and squeak with leftover veg, roasties and pigs in blankets. The only addition was eggs for people who wanted them. We then boiled up the carcass and made soup, again, 6 portions. So suddenly our Christmas dinner turns into more meals, not including the turkey sandwiches!
This is true of any Sunday roast. Don’t buy chicken breast portions, buy a chicken! They’re pretty much the same price! Use the meat you want for the meal, then get the rest off for sandwiches and the boil up some soup. The Sunday roast turns into Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes. Don’t forget to make and freeze your gravy too!
We do, as a nation, get hung up on best before dates and such. Someone people will throw things out because they are a day over the best before date. At midnight, the strawberries don’t suddenly become mush or the bread turn green. If you wouldn’t eat it as it is, put it in a smoothie, make some toast, or create breadcrumbs to use in cooking. I’d rather you went and had some family fun feeding the ducks than just chucked a loaf in the bin. (Of course, if it is off, don’t eat it! I don’t want you drinking lumpy milk & then blaming me when you’re ill!)
Use your freezer. We had a bit of time before Christmas with a couple of the family members ending up in hospital. Someone from church brought a meal round, amazing, we were so thankful. But we couldn’t eat it all. There are now 4 decent sized portions of lasagne in our freezer. Pair with a cheaper and cheerful garlic bread and we’ve got another tea sorted! (one day i’ll tell you about my super tasty italian style pitta bread sticks which go amazingly with pasta dishes – even better when you pick up reduced priced pitta bread & stick it straight in the freezer! I batch cooked a load of meals before we had our second baby, so eating good food was easy, rather than ordering takeaways. I made a chilli last night and after having a big lunch, we weren’t overly hungry, so there’s now two portions of chilli sat in the freezer waiting to make life easy one evening. If you see bargains or reduced items in the shops that you’ll make use of & they’ll freeze, get them! Get creative with your cooking and make use of your freezer.
(Side note – I’ve worked with a foodbank. I’ve seen first hand the issues people have who are hungry right here in the UK. Some situations people find themselves in are unavoidable but making the most of what we have, rather than binning and rebuying is essential. Also, don’t think that those who need foodbanks are below you in society, so many people I met were once well paid individuals who got made redundant and then life spirals out of control. I hope to create a future blog post based around getting savvy with the standard foodbank parcel which is supposed to last 3 days – look out for this in the future!)
Head to Love Food Hate Waste for more info on meal planning, getting to grips with date labels and much more. The average family could ave £700 a year by throwing away less food. Sounds good to me!