Seven Tips to Help You Minimise Food Waste and Save On Your Shopping Bill. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Holly Taylor. Holly Taylor is a chef and co-founder of Kindling Restaurant in Brighton, UK. She will be offering seven easy and creative ways to minimise food waste and save money.
Over 30% of all food produced globally ends up in the bin. We are the worst offenders in Europe in the UK, throwing away 9.5 million tonnes of food each year. Household food waste accounts for 60% of all food waste, so even small changes in the amount each family throws away can make a big difference.
Seven Tips to Help You Minimise Food Waste and Save On Your Shopping Bill
At Kindling restaurant in Brighton, we design our whole menu using excellent local produce and minimising food waste. This is very important because over 30% of all food produced globally ends up in the bin. We are the worst offenders in Europe in the UK, throwing away 9.5 million tonnes of food each year. This is an enormous problem because food degrades in landfill sites releases methane gas, contributing to global warming. Household food waste accounts for 60% of all food waste, so even the minor changes you can make to the amount you throw away can make a big difference.
Here are seven tips and tricks to help you.
Get Creative With Your Green Trim
Many green vegetables are often thrown away simply because we don’t think it is edible or don’t know what to do. The green part of a leek still tastes fantastic, and it merely needs to be well washed and cooked for a bit longer than the paler part. The outer leaves of cauliflower are gorgeous roasted in the oven for 5 minutes at 220C with a bit of oil and salt, but they’re equally good shredded in a stir fry or added into a cauliflower cheese. The broccoli stalk is deliciously sliced and pickled in a salad.
In the restaurant, all our green trim is saved, thinly sliced, and then turned into a beautiful vivid green soup which we offer to our evening diners as an amuse-bouche. The finely chopped greens are sauteed in butter, then cooked in milk before blended into a silky-smooth soup chilled over ice. Everything from the outer leaves of cabbage to the trim from broccoli can feature in the soup. It simply depends on what’s on the menu at the time.
Keep The Peel
You can use garlic and shallots to make an amazingly fragrant oil for dressing and cooking with the peel from onions. Save all your trimmings in a bag in the freezer until you have enough to fill a large saucepan. To make the oil, cover all the peelings with a neutral-tasting oil such as rapeseed oil and heat over shallow heat for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool, then strain and decant into bottles. This oil is lovely for cooking with or as a base for a salad dressing or a dip for bread.
Keep Fresh Spices and Citrus In The Freezer
Some of the most commonly thrown away food items are wrinkled chillis, pieces of mouldy root ginger and citrus fruits that have been zested and dried out. If you keep all these things in the freezer, you can grate them straight from frozen. This means you can easily portion half a chilli, the zest of half a lime or one tablespoon of ginger without wasting the rest. Have what you need. Return the item to the freezer, ready to use again next time.
Have A Go At Preserving and Fermenting
If you end up with too much of something, there are many different ways you can preserve it for use later in the year.
Gluts of fruit and vegetables can be turned into jams and chutneys or pickled. These make excellent presents or additions to a Christmas hamper.
You can turn cabbages and root vegetables like carrots and beetroot into kraut. Thinly slice or grate the vegetables, carefully weigh how much you have and sprinkle in 3% table salt by weight. Set the veg aside for an hour, then massage it with the salt until it creates enough liquid to cover itself when put in a jar fully. Pack the vegetables and juice into a Kilner jar, ensuring they are fully submerged, then seal and leave in a cool dark place to ferment for anything from a week to six weeks. It’s a good idea to open the jar once a week and have a taste to see how the flavour is developing. Transfer it to the fridge once it’s reached a flavour you’re happy with.
Softer Fruits and Vegetables
You can ferment softer fruits and vegetables in a brine (salt dissolved in water). It should ferment sweeter fruits such as apples and plums in a 5% salt solution jar. Less sweet fruits like rhubarb and most vegetables can be fermented in a 3% brine. Place the prepared food in the pot, fully submerge in brine and seal the lid. Leave at room temperature for a week to 10 days, then transfer to the fridge. As fruits and vegetable ferment, acids develop, and gas is produced. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ‘burp’ your jars every few days while they are actively fermenting to avoid explosions!
Once fermented, fruits and vegetables keep for months in the fridge, provided they stay in the fermentation liquid. On a dark winter’s day, it’s nice to have a splash of colour from some fermented rhubarb or the zing of a preserved plum to remind you summer is not far away.
If All Else Fails, Make A Cake
Overripe fruit and vegetables that have gone a bit soft, like carrots and courgettes, are perfect for baking. Many other fruits and vegetables can also be pureed or grated and added into sweet loaves, cakes, muffins and cookies. Think banana bread, courgette and lime loaf cake, apple sauce muffins and carrot cake cookies!
Buy Whole Animals Where You Can
WWheneverossible, w,e try to buy whole animals from the farmer or hunter at the restaurant. At the restaurantWhWhilee understand buying an entire deer or sheep isn’t practical for most families, you can still reduce food waste by purchasing whole birds instead of just the breasts. A whole chicken can easily be turned into two to three meals making it a cheaper option than buying the individual cuts. If you butcher it yourself, you’ll also end up with a carcass that you can use to make chicken stock as a base for soups and stews.
If you’re not sure how to do this, it is surprisingly easy, and there are many videos available online that will show you a step-by-step guide to breaking down a chicken and making stock. For those with a big freezer, many farm shops offer the chance to buy half or quarter animals. This can also be an economical option and an exciting way to discover new cuts of meats and recipes.
Don’t Forget The Garden.
Some food waste items can make excellent additions to your garden or allotment. Crushed eggshells make a great slug and snail deterrent around young plants, or they can be dug into the soil to add vital nutrients for seedlings. You can add coffee grounds to the earth to create a nitrogen-rich environment loved by plants such as onions and salad leaves. And, of course, you can use anything you really can’t find an edible use for to start a compost heap. Unlike in a landfill site, food decomposing in a compost heap doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, so it’s a better choice than putting food in the bin. At Kindling, any veg trim we can’t use is collected and sent back to our local growers to use as compost, creating a closed-loop where nothing is wasted.
Being careful with how much you buy, keeping an eye on use-by dates, and getting savvy with the freezer are great ways to minimise how much food ends up in the bin. And with a bit of creativity and know-how, you can start using more of what you buy and getting value for money.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Holly Taylor and Toby Geneen are the founders of Kindling Restaurant in Brighton. Kindling is about more than just delicious food. It is a community of people: staff, customers, and suppliers sharing and celebrating local produce. Nature writes the menu as the seasons inspire the dishes. Kindling is featured in the Michelin Guide and is a member of the Sustainable Restaurants Association.
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