Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Food Waste and Feeding Everyone

An article from the Guardian, published online today, coves a UN report on global food waste.

It claims that if everyone cut food waste by one quarter, that there would be enough to go around. 

In the UK, around £60 per month is thrown out (I find that an extortionate amount even with slightly larger than average family!)  So not only would people be doing their bit for the world, they would actually be reducing their own spending too.

By weight, the most wasted product in the UK is bread, and by percentage it is lettuce and leafy salads.  By no means is my family perfect.  I have been known to find a juicy green packet of once-leaves in the back of the vegetable drawer and have been caught out when bread moulds faster than usual.  But how can we combat wasting these resources...?

For starters, only buy enough to last.  I restrict myself to two loaves per week.  That of course might not cover lunchtime sandwiches all week.  So I will make scones or a rice salad for the last couple of days before shopping again.  I found that if we go beyond those two loaves, some weeks we do not consume as much bread for whatever reason, and it ends up wasted.  We always get through two loaves.  So that's what we stick with.

I very rarely buy lettuce and bagged salad leaves... because - guess what? - they go soggy within a day or two and end up wasted.  Whole heads of lettuce will last longer than bags, but better yet grow your own cut-and-come-again leaves so that they are always fresh.  I like to grow pea shoots and have lately been successful at growing basil and mint too; these take little attention apart from keeping them hydrated so I have been keeping them on the sill by the kitchen sink to remember to throw the odd unfinished cup of water on them.  In the winter we tend to utilise cabbage and frozen green beans as an economical green crunchy side dish rather than lettuce leaves - and for a cold season salad, white and red cabbage do a nice job when mixed with indoor-grown soft leaves.

We do sometimes end up with more bread products than usual or acquire bagged salad leaves, as family members who cannot get through these products before they go off very kindly let me take their slightly wilted greens and half loaves that would have otherwise ended up in the bin.

This is what I do with them:
*I have linked the particular items we use below, not because I have been sponsored, but because they are our favourites.