Okay, so we’ve established it’s Zero Waste Week – which, for latecomers is Monday 2 September until Sunday 8 September. Welcome, pull up a chair, you’re not too late!
I’ve offered up three delicious blog posts so far but as the keener observers may have noted I’ve managed to avoid getting down to the nitty-gritty of actually reducing my food waste!
Fear not, the time has come for me to address the topic head on.
As documented in yesterday’s post, I felt I was fighting a losing battle before the challenge had even begun. We seemed to be drowning in food in the house – partly due to over-catering when I had friends round last Friday, partly because said friends had come laden with even more food and partly because I sometimes get things in my weekly veg box that I just don’t know what to do with.
No more, I decided, as I threw the last uneaten soggy plum into our composter.
I admit I was a bit dubious as I finished off my fridge audit and realised that the first things to be tackled were two bags of leaves that had come in the veg box. One was pak choi. To be honest, I can’t really be bothered with the stuff – I mean, it’s fine (sigh) but there’s a fair bit of chopping involved and the only thing I know of that it’s good for is stir fries. If you read yesterday’s post, however, you’ll know that I got motivated and stir fry for dinner it was. I used up the last of our carrots, an onion, some garlic and a pepper from the fridge as well buying some ginger and noodles and, do you know what? We all loved it! My other half even got some to take to work as part of his packed lunch today and he loved it all over again.
I’m going to whisper the next part:
I have thrown out approximately two bags of leaves each week for the last three weeks from the veg box. I just didn’t use them up fast enough or, in the case of this next picture, had no idea what it was!
Determined not to be beaten again by this weird dry woody stuff, I posted the photo above on Twitter and there was a rush of advice that it was purple kale. I admit it, my heart sunk. We’ve had kale (green kale?) before and I had duly fried it in olive oil with a bit of garlic and lemon and it was…well…it was okay.
Before I got too disappointed, there was another burst of activity on Twitter. Kale Chips was suggested twice and the enthusiasm oozed out of each tweet (impressive considering the 140 character limit!)
Kale chips it was. I dubiously laid the (voluminous) leaves out on a baking tray covered with foil and poured over a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, banged in the oven.
Twenty minutes later I had a slightly shrunken version of what went in originally.
I presented them in a bowl and we ate them with our stir fry.
We thought they were pretty good which is great news as it means never again will they go straight from the veg box to the compost bin.
Other little things we have been doing to reduce our food waste seem almost insignificant each day, but over the course of this week and beyond, I know will add up to make a difference. I’ve been noting down some of the changes we’ve made in the first two days of Zero Waste Week.
• Rescuing the pieces of egg mayonnaise that dropped on the (clean) worktop while making sandwiches instead of wiping and binning at the end.
• Using the end pieces of bread – we have got into a bad habit of disposing them.
• Pureeing tinned fruit in its juice to add to porridge instead of first draining the juice and pouring it away.
• Wasting less while chopping veg – on reflection we usually throw away more of the flesh than is necessary.
And (the kids’ favourite!)
• Instead of wasting leftover pastry…
turning it into jam tarts!
Please do join me tomorrow when I’ll be nervously examining my freshly delivered veg box!