Britain wastes seven million tonnes of food every year, and over half of this is from food and drink we could have eaten.
Our disposable culture, linked with a habit of throwing perfectly good food in the bin the second it passes its sell-by date means that we waste enough food to feed millions of people every day.
There’s even evidence that local councils collecting food waste as part of their bin collections makes it easier for households to throw food away.
However, that’s not the whole story.
One of the greatest wastes of food that we face it that of food scraps at the end of a meal. It’s all too easy to cook too much, and dispose of anything leftover straight into the bin. After all, there’s a fridge and a freezer full of fresh food to replace it the next day.
This waste has to stop. It’s costing you money, it costs councils money to get rid of, and it’s wasting agricultural capacity. Everybody’s losing.
During the Second World War and the years immediately following victory, it was actually a crime to waste food, and people were actually sent to prison. Householders became adept at re-using meal scraps and leftovers were a way of life in many families. In fact, I grew up in the 1970s and 80s with Monday’s dinner being the leftovers from the Sunday roast. Sometimes this carried on until Tuesday, because my mother was born in 1939 and wouldn’t dream of wasting food.
And it’s something we can do today, and the Sunday roast is still the greatest cause of leftover food. The roast chicken is still a favourite, but as soon as the breast is carved away, the rest of the bird is thrown in the bin.
Instead, try this:
• Carve off the meat from the wings and the legs
• Turn the bird upside down, and you will find – amazingly – several servings of perfectly good meat
• These can be served cold the next day (never re-heat chicken), but how about trying it with a curry sauce poured over the top?
• Perhaps mix in any left-over veg and potatoes, nobody will notice the difference.
We can guarantee it will be better quality than a curry meal from certain cheap supermarkets, and all your own work.
And that’s just dealing with leftovers. Kitchen scraps are just as easy to deal with, and there are (literally) thousands of recipe websites on the internet with great ideas.
Even the humble potato peel need not go to waste.
• Once you’ve peeled your spuds for dinner, don’t chuck them in the bin.
• Toss them in oil, salt and seasonings of your choice.
• Roast on a tray for 20 minutes for so, gas 6 for tasty potato crisps
Try the same with apple peels, replacing the oil and seasonings with butter and sugar and cinnamon. Amazing.
And finally, don’t throw out the end of the bread just because you’ve started a new loaf. Grind down for breadcrumbs, or make bread pudding, or even use to stuff the chicken for your Sunday roast.
The recipes are out there – you need never waste food again.