Trash Talk!

10 food offcuts into essential ingredients

11-Sep-2017 10:00:00 Victoria Gaymer Green Living, food Banks, Food Waste, War On Waste, Food

Food waste is big news  - here's some handy hints to do your bit in the war on waste 


1 : Tops & Roots

  • Pay a bit extra and support your greengrocer - Supermarkets trim off roots & tops from most of their produce.
  • Buy "Wonky Veg"  the roots and tops indicate freshness because they perish more quickly
  • Use beetroot tops as a replacement for spinach or chard: wilted or stir-fried.
  • Carrot tops can be blitzed to make pesto.
  • Radish leaves make a soup or can be eaten as a salad leaf.

2 : Salad leaves

Salad is the most common food to be bought then thrown away uneaten:

45% of all salad produced will end up in the bin - 37,000 tonnes per year.

  • Store it properly and eat it as soon as you can.
  • If it does start looking a bit sad refresh it in cold water.
  • Make  a lettuce soup, blend into a vegetable soup, or chop and add at the last minute with herbs.
  • Chop and freeze herbs ( if your feeling extra organised, use an ice cube tray  ) or again, blitz with garlic ,olive oil parmesan and pine nuts to make fresh pesto. 

 3 : Meat past its sell-by or best‑before date

  • The best advice is to use it before the best before date  - use your judgement and senses. If it doesnt smell right , has mould or sticky bin it. Don't risk it with poultry .
  • However you can freeze or cook it so that it will last another three to four days in the fridge.
  • Make a stew or a curry.

Read my blog here on food labelling

4 : Animal fat

  • Keep the fat that renders off your meat for use when cooking other dishes to add more flavour.
  • Bacon fat adds depth of flavour to  risottos and rice dishes .. 
  • More ideas here

 5: Sour milk

Great for scones and soda bread, or to add to scrambled eggs.  

  • Mix 500g of plain or wholemeal flour with 2 tsp salt, 4 tsp baking powder, then stir in 300ml of sour milk. Knead together until thoroughly mixed, split in two and shape into rounds. Cut a cross on top and place in a preheated oven at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.

6: Pastry and pasta offcuts

  • Make biscuits Roll out to about 5mm thick, cut into rough shapes, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and a mixture of whole spices, press them in and bake for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 until golden brown.
  • Make pasta - For each person, add one egg to 100g of “00” plain or spelt flour, mix together and knead, roll out and cut to size. When using  a machine, you will be left with funny‑sized offcuts that can be cut into odd shapes and dried to eat another time.

7 : Egg whites or yolks

Eggs are a great, healthy source of protein and energy and often recipies result in spare yolks or whites

  • Have a cocktail ! shake up one egg white with 100ml of whisky, bourbon, amaretto or pisco ( use white tequila or grappa as substitute ) 100ml of lemon juice, a tablespoon of sugar and some ice, strain the mix into a glass

If you have more willpower than me add fresh and raw egg white to your smoothie for a protein boost.

  • If you prefer them cooked, add to scrambled eggs or fry with some leftover rice with a drop of soy.
  • Egg yolks = mayonaise or add into cooked spaghetti for an authentic carbonara.

8 : Stale bread

According to Wrap, the government’s waste prevention scheme, we waste 328,000 tonnes of bread a year.
Read more on food waste 
  • Repurpose old sourdough to make dishes such as pappa al pomodoro, an Italian bread and tomato soup; or panzanella, a salad of tomatoes and shards of fried bread that soak up the dressing
  • migas, a Spanish dish made with rehydrated bread fried with olive oil and different flavour combinations, such as mushrooms, paprika and onions. This makes a brilliant breakfast served with a fried egg.
  • Make Beer : The clever lot @ToastAle produce Ale from leftover bread and donate their profits to charity  - get the recipie HERE

9 :  Mouldy cheese

  • Don't eat soft cheeses and curds if they go mouldy, hard cheeses are fine.
  • “So long as it’s not black, it’s fine!”  
  • Cheese left unpackaged in the fridge so that it dries and cracks is best used melted in a cheese toastie, or grated on top of hot pasta or soup.

Potatoes have their vitamin C concentrated under the peel and we can lose as much as 35% of it when they are peeled

10 : Vegetable skins

  • If you must peel an ingredient, save your peelings to use in a stock or lay underneath a roasting joint of meat.
  • Food is best ingested with its fibre, so that our bodies can digest it slowly, and absorb as many of the nutrients as possible.
  • skin of conventionally farmed vegetables is not always good for us because of the chemical residues that can result from the use of fertilisers and pesticides.
  • It’s best to spend a little more on organic produce, and then get more out of it, from root to fruit.

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Victoria Gaymer

Written by Victoria Gaymer


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