19 November 2013

Food Waste in the Home ~ just stop it willya!

I have just read an interesting article in The Telegraph;

UK yearly food waste: in charts

Britons throw away an average of six meals a week in food waste, according to Wrap, the environmental campaign group. The Telegraph explains the key figures

I am always reading articles like this recently and I have to say they really get up my goat, to mis-coin a phrase.  Apart from abject poverty where people have no cooking facilities or fridges or can’t afford the fuel why oh why do people throw away so much perfectly good food?  Is it laziness, lack of education, lack of inspiration, fear of eating something that has gone off or, probably, a combination of these factors and more?

Here’s a chart from the article showing how much food we in the UK throw away daily.  Actually not “we” I have no part of this. 


So to break this down a bit and comment on it …


I’m not sure if this means the common or garden banger or all sausages including chorizo and salami etc. but whichever it is it looks as if we throw away more than 1.5 m a day. If bangers then, yes they are not good keepers but if raw they can be used up in soups, bean stews, stuffing, Toad in the Hole and so on or, if they haven’t already been frozen freeze them whilst you have a think.  If cooked then sandwiches, soups (again), pizza, pasta to name but a few.

Generally speaking dried sausages such as chorizo and salami have a lovely long shelf life (although, of course, do check on the packet). I always keep chorizo in the fridge as a I can think of so many delicious things to do with it!


I cannot abide a banana (although I will work with them!) yet I came up with over 20 good ideas for bananas, including overripe bananas, in “The Leftovers Handbook” and at least a couple more in this blog.  If I can do that with my bananaphobia surely those who actually like the buggers would be able to think what to do with them.  They freeze superbly and can be eaten from frozen or make almost instant ice cream (see here)!


Well really, how ridiculous!  Roast ‘em, they’ll be good for days and are lovely.  Make a sauce. If you don’t need a sauce make one anyway and freeze it!  Add them to soups, sarnies, salads and pretty well anything else you fancy. 


According to the chart we waste almost 6,000,000 potatoes a day!  A day!!! I am not sure if these are raw or cooked but either way there’s no excuse.  Raw potatoes keep well if kept in a cool dark place and (interesting little known fact coming up) stored away from onions which make them go off!  Potatoes that are going green or sprouting are OK to eat if you cut away the green and/or remove the sprouts. 

There are numerous ways to use up cooked potatoes from Bubble & Squeak to Krumplinudli (see here), lots more ideas can be found on this blog and in my book.

Sliced Ham

Ham can be added to numerous dishes including pizza, pasta, in egg dishes and lots more or it can be frozen short term, say three months, well wrapped.  As you can see it doesn't inspire me much so only 12 good ideas (at least!) for leftover ham in my book!


Again - exasperating.  Eggs keep quite well (3-4 weeks), even if not in the fridge in the UK, and older eggs have the advantage of being great for making meringues – my foolproof (honest!) recipe is in my book as are storage and freezing guidelines and loads of other ideas and recipes


Not shown on the above chart but apparently the most discarded item of food seems to be bread.  According to Wrap we throw away 24,000,000 slices a day!  How utterly ridiculous.  

I have given lots of ideas for leftover and stale bread on this very blog (see here for one unusual, quick, easy, cheap and delicious suggestion), 20 or more ideas in” The Leftovers Handbook” and I haven’t even started yet, I can think of lots more.

Two for One Offers – I have a  Good Idea!

A couple of days ago Tesco was offering Two for One bags of prepared lettuce, just like they said they had stopped doing.  There has been a lot of talk recently about how these offers, particularly on prepared lettuce, causes food waste.  Well not with us, it causes sharing.  If we get two bags of prepared lettuce for the price of one and we don’t need two can you guess what we do?  We give one away.  Simples!  It doesn’t cost us anything, it doesn’t cost the store anything, it doesn’t cost the planet anything and it makes someone happy! 

The other day we bought a box of clementines reduced from £4.00 to £1.20 and gave half to our neighbours.  24 fruit in a box so sturdy it may have cost £1.20 itself!  

PS.  I have also just read that we throw away 86,000 tonnes of cakes, pastries and doughtnuts a year – we must be mad! 

PPS.  “The Leftovers Handbook” has recipes and suggestions for over 450 potential leftover food items and tackles not only food waste but also the waste of good eating opportunity.  Have a look at it here, it is a lot cheaper than the £60 a month it is reckoned we Brits (not me) waste on food per month!

Come on Britain - get a grip!

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Sue said...

It's absolutely ridiculous isn't it. I think a lot more food education is called for, right through the school curriculum.

If children have such 'pester power' they should be taught at school to pester their parents into preparing proper meals and using all the earths resources in a fair and proper way!!

ALoadofOldTat said...

Sharing with neighbours or friends is the way to go.

debs said...

hmm food waste is annoying,can you please write something about how to store stuff, potatoes for one because no matter how diligent I am my potatoes often sprout and go green even though I keep them in the dark..what am I doing wrong also bread is a bugger and often goes green quite quickly..its annoying as hell..many thanks

Jenny Eatwell said...

This just makes me incandescent with rage. Not at the waste necessarily, but at what causes the waste. The plastic bags that supermarket bread comes in, that causes the bread to sweat and so go mouldy (even though the bread is liberally laced with mould retardants that make it inedible for the likes of me), people who have no idea how to make a tomato sauce out of their squishy tomatoes, people who buy too much with no idea what they're going to use it for, oh and I could go on. Without some significant changes to education of the masses and people's attitudes to food waste, it is going to continue. When I think of the starving masses out there, my frustration levels over the whole thing just go into overload.

Suzy Bowler said...

I agree with you Jenny, education could really help. I put this post on Linkedin and lady commented that she didn't have time to shop once a week so had to throw away coriander and bananas (her two examples). I told her what to do with them so to speak but if she can comment on Linkedin she can google "leftover bananas" or "how to store herbs". So I think its laziness too! (Don't get too incandescent!)

debs said...

I freeze herbs in the bunches they come in then just take out and snip of with scissors..