Food waste … One of the few things that PISS me off. Yes that did deserve capitals because there is no need for it at all. Everyone who knows me also knows that I get on my soap box about this quite a lot and with it being in the news this week my goodness my soap box has been out quite a lot. I how ever put most of the blame onto us, the consumer. After all we govern what we buy, what we want to buy and I shall slap the people who won’t buy something as it looks odd… Although because of people like that who want ‘perfectly’ shaped veg the basic ranges in supermarkets are getting more varied. A mushroom is a mushroom no matter what it’s shape is … Who honestly cares about things like that? But fussy eaters are a whole different rant.
I can fully thank my grandparents for this trait too, that and coming from a family that’s always struggled with money so there for from an early age the combination of coming from a farming family and having to live off very little while feeding healthy food to my children & myself has meant that I am queen of the food shop. Now I have a slow cooker there is no actual stopping me.
Now lots of people will tell you to plan your meals before you go shopping … This is great if you have quite a bit of money but what I’ve found from listening to others who do this, is that at the end of the week they are left with lots of little bits and pieces. I have also noticed how many people think that their food is going to explode into something deadly as soon as its heading towards the date on the pack, whether its a best before date or a use by date there is something about these numbers that scar people.
Now you have to remember I’m quite ‘old fashioned’ and have found that I sound more and more like my grandparents but in our house we do the “if it’s fizzy and isn’t supposed to be then don’t eat it” mould gets cut off things rather than the whole thing thrown away, soft wobbly veg gets used in soup and only things that are way past it goes in our compost bins ready to help feed our veg etc that we grow.
Back to when we go shopping apart from our dry essentials such as pasta, rice, noodles, pulses and tinned essentials which in our house is mainly tomatoes & the odd Tin of tuna all of the rest of the veg & meat shop is done in the reduced section, or off the market. Then our meals are planned around what we have bought.
My shopping budget is £40 a week. we have no choice in this and I don’t follow recipes in the slightest. I also only buy what we are able to use, I don’t care if its on a BYGOF if I’m not going to use that extra bag of oranges or know someone who would then I won’t put them in my basket. All veg goes together and if your herb and spices are all stocked up you can turn it into anything.
I also have a couple of friends parents who send round out of date food that they have bought and think I could use it or for the compost. I do go through the bags and see what is actually edible and which is already on the way to compost. Veg after all can be blanched and frozen or if it is wobbly can get cooked, blended into smoosh (we love the word smoosh) the smoosh can then be turned into many things but mainly the three S’s … Stock, sauces, or soups.
Take for example our general smoosh. Usually made on a sunday or monday Using a mix of wobbly veg, tinned tomatoes and herbs in our large pan it jammer.
Meal 1: soup/stew
Meal 2: pasta sauce .. Maybe add more tinned tomatoes
Meal 3: add to meat and a few pulses, herbs and spices you have chilly or curries to serve with rice
Meal 4: add to mash and or meat turn it into a pie … I love pie
Meal 5: great for the little bits that are left over add cheese and use over jacket potatoes
You can of course add what ever you want and it can be easier if you do all similar coloured veg together.
If you’re having a little party or movie night you can turn it into posh dip too, using toasted bread (usually stale) for dipping, just coat the bread in garlic, oil and herbs, cut into finger size pieces and grill.
What I am going to do is for one week starting today is post our families meals.
Today is Friday which is the day that we use the left overs from the week if there are any.
Today’s left overs are from the chicken risotto and sausage casserole. Mixed together with a carton of chopped tomatoes & tomato purée
We have some left over fresh bread that’s going a little stale so that is going to be garlic bread.
Also I’m making a bread pudding using the stale left over breakfast loaf I made.
It is soaking in a mix of a couple of eggs, milk water and golden syrup until later when it shall be cooked and served with custard.
So what thing does you and your family do to cut down on food waste? Or are you like my other half who throws a lot of food away or just leaves it in the fridge until its compost?
Do you know the difference between best before and use by dates? Or do you ,very much like me, ignore both and use common sense instead?
Do you fall into the trap of the BOGOF’s or like me spend a little extra time reading the labels etc to make sure you get the better deal, money and food wise?