Continuing the sustainable eating theme from last month, this post I’m focusing on some other ways to avoid food waste (aside from using the freezer, which I do think is the best tip!)
- Plan: yes it sounds incredibly dull and overly organised, but planning what you are going to eat for the week means you will only buy what you need. It also requires zero effort and imagination when you get home from work each evening as you will know exactly what you are going to eat and that you have the ingredients for it!
- Shop at small shops and markets: big supermarkets generally follow the “sell in bulk” mentality. Whilst this can be economical for families, if you are shopping for one or two people, it is often better to use smaller shops (your local butcher/ fishmonger etc) and markets, where you will be able to buy individual size portions. Sometimes they are more expensive than supermarkets, but they will almost invariable have better quality produce and you will save money but cutting down waste! You will also be supporting your local economy, and most likely be buying seasonal, local produce as that is what they will have available!
- Make only what you will eat: try not to make enormous portions that will only go to waste. Pasta and rice are prime culprits here… how many of you just pour a load into the saucepan, not having a clue whether it is the right amount? Get into the habit of weighing out portions, or, if you do make too much, instead of just piling it all on your plate, only to throw it away when you can’t eat it all, put some aside to make lunch for the next day
- Make stock: save up the bits of vegetables you wouldn’t eat (tough ends/ outer peelings etc) and make them into stock. Make sure you have washed them, then just boil everything in a large pot of water with a few herbs and a pinch of salt, then freeze in 300-500ml portions. Homemade stock is so much nicer than the bought stuff, and far healthier as isn’t full of salt and other additives. Plus, it’s basically free!
- Compost: when you do need to throw any food away, make sure you compost it instead of putting it in the bin. If you have a garden, brilliant, you can make your own, but if not, many local councils will collect compost waste along with your usual rubbish. Remember, you can’t compost animal products, only plant based items (pasta/ rice/ coffee granules all included).
Grow your own: I know this isn’t for everyone as not all of you will have access to outdoor space, or quite frankly the time or inclination to garden! However, growing your own produce is incredibly satisfying and there are a few things, like herbs, which can be grown just on a windowsill and with very little effort! Not only do they look and smell lovely, they work out far cheaper than buying packs of fresh herbs from the shops (which are usually wilted before you get them home so last all of 2 minutes). For more about growing your own produce, see the garden series on my blog www.suppersinseason.com/category/inspiration/mygarden/