Category: Lifestyle

creative ways to minimize food waste

Eight Creative Ways to Minimise Food Waste and Save on Your Shopping Bill

By Holly Taylor, chef and co-founder of Kindling Restaurant in Brighton

Over 30% of all food produced globally ends up in the bin. In the UK we are by far the worst offenders in Europe, throwing away 9.5 million tonnes of food each year. This is an enormous problem because as food degrades in landfill sites it releases methane gas which contributes to global warming.

Household food waste accounts for 60% of all food waste, so even small changes in the amount each family throws away can make a big difference.

Being careful with how much you buy, keeping an eye on use by dates, and getting savvy with the freezer are all great ways to start minimising how much food ends up in the bin. And with a bit of creativity and know-how you can start using more of what you buy and getting value for money too.

At Kindling restaurant in Brighton, we design our whole menu around using amazing local produce and minimising food waste. Here we share some tips and tricks to help you do the same at home and save some money along the way.

Get creative with your green trim.

green trim

A large proportion of green vegetables is often thrown away simply because we don’t think its edible or don’t know what to do with it. The green part of a leek still tastes amazing, it simply needs to be well washed and cooked for a bit longer than the paler part. The outer leaves of cauliflower are gorgeous roasted in the oven for 5 minutes at 220C with a little oil and salt, but they’re equally good shredded in a stir fry or added into a cauliflower cheese. Broccoli stalk is delicious sliced and pickled in a salad.

In the restaurant all our green trim is saved, thinly sliced, and then turned in a beautifully vivid green soup which we offer to our evening diners as an amuse bouche. The finely chopped greens are sauteed in butter, then cooked out in milk before being blended into a silky-smooth soup that’s chilled over ice. Everything from the outer leaves of cabbage to the trim from broccoli can feature in the soup. It simply depends what’s on the menu at the time.

Keep the peel

keep the peel

The peel from onions, garlic and shallots can be used to make an amazingly fragrant oil for dressing and cooking with. Simply save all your trimmings in a bag in the freezer until you have enough to fill a large saucepan. To make the oil, cover all the peelings with a neutral tasting oil such as rapeseed oil and heat over a very low heat for 2-3 hours. Allow to cool, then strain and decant into bottles. This oil is lovely for cooking with or as a base for a salad dressing, or a dip for bread.

Keep fresh spices and citrus in the freezer

spices and citrus

Some of the most commonly thrown away food items are wrinkled chillis, pieces of mouldy root ginger and citrus fruits that have been zested and become dried out. If you keep all these things in the freezer, you can grate them straight from frozen. This means you can easily portion half a chilli, the zest of half a lime or 1 tablespoon of ginger without the rest going to waste. Once you have what you need simply return the item to the freezer ready to use again next time.

Have a go at preserving and fermenting

preserving and fermenting

If you end up with too much of something there are a lot of different ways you can preserve it for use later in the year.

Gluts of fruit and vegetables can be turned into jams and chutneys or pickled. These make excellent presents or additions to a Christmas hamper.

Cabbages and root vegetables like carrots and beetroot can be turned into kraut. Thinly slice or grate the vegetables, carefully weigh how much you have and sprinkle in 3% table salt by weight. Set the veg aside for an hour then massage it with the salt until it creates enough liquid to fully cover itself when put in a jar. Pack the vegetables and liquid into a Kilner jar ensuring they are fully submerged, then seal and leave in a cool dark place to ferment for anything from a week to six weeks. It’s a good idea to open the jar once a week and have a taste to see how the flavour is developing. Once it’s reached a taste you’re happy with, transfer it to the fridge.

Softer fruits and vegetables can be fermented in a brine (salt dissolved in water). Sweeter fruits such as apples and plums should be fermented in a jar in a 5% salt solution. Less sweet fruits like rhubarb, and most vegetables can be fermented in a 3% brine. Simply place the prepared food in the jar, fully submerge in brine and seal the lid. Leave at room temperature for a week to 10 days then transfer to the fridge. As fruits and vegetables ferment, acids develop and gas is produced. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ‘burp’ your jars every few days while they are actively fermenting to avoid explosions!

Once fermented, fruits and vegetables will keep for months in the fridge provided they stay in the fermentation liquid. On a dark winter’s day, it’s nice to have a splash of colour from some fermented rhubarb or the zing of a preserved plum to remind you summer is not far away.

If all else fails, make a cake

make a cake

Over ripe fruit and vegetables that have gone a bit soft like carrots and courgettes are perfect for baking. Many other fruits and vegetables can also be pureed or grated and added into sweet loaves, cakes, muffins and cookies. Think banana bread, courgette and lime loaf cake, apple sauce muffins and carrot cake cookies!

Buy whole animals where you can.

buy whole animals

At the restaurant, wherever possible we try to buy whole animals from the farmer or hunter. Whilst we understand buying a whole deer or sheep just isn’t practical for most families you can still reduce food waste by opting to buy a whole bird instead of just the breasts. A whole chicken can easily be turned into two to three meals making it a cheaper option than buying the individual cuts. If you butcher it yourself, you’ll also end up with a carcass that can be used to make a chicken stock as a base for soups and stews.

If you’re not sure how to do this it is surprisingly easy and there are lots of videos available online that will show you a step-by-step guide to breaking down a chicken and making a stock. For those with a big freezer, many farm shops offer the chance to buy half or quarter animals. This can also be an economical option as well as an exciting way to discover new cuts of meats and recipes.

Get creative with eggs and dairy

eggs and dairy

If your recipe calls for egg whites, keep the yolks and turn them into a homemade mayonnaise, Hollandaise or custard. At Kindling we often cure our spare egg whites in a 50:50 mixture of salt and sugar for 24 hours then dehydrate them overnight to create a firm, grate-able egg yolk that can be used like Parmesan cheese!  If you have egg whites to spare then you can use them to make meringue, perhaps a lemon meringue pie,  pavlova or batch of macarons. Egg whites can be frozen so you can collect them up in ice cube trays until you have enough to do something with.

If you end up with extra dairy products like milk, then making yogurt is a good way to turn them into something different that will last a little bit longer in the fridge. To make yogurt you simply bring the milk to the boil, being careful not to scald it then allow it to cool to 40˚C. When it’s at the correct temperature, add a tablespoon of live natural yogurt and transfer to a flask, yogurt maker or dehydrator set to the yogurt making setting. Allow to ferment for 4 to 24 hours then transfer to the fridge to set. The longer you ferment it for, the higher the levels of friendly bacteria and the more naturally sour and runny the yogurt will be.

Don’t forget the garden

vegetable garden

Some items of food waste can make excellent additions to your garden or allotment. Crushed eggshells make an excellent slug and snail deterrent around young plants or the can be dug into the soil to add vital nutrients for seedlings. Coffee grounds can be added to soil to create a nitrogen rich environment loved by plants such as onions and salad leaves. And of course, anything you really can’t find an edible use for can be used to start a compost heap. Unlike in a landfill site, food decomposing in a compost heap doesn’t produce greenhouse gases so it’s a much better choice than putting food in the bin.  At Kindling any veg trim we can’t use is collected and sent back to our local growers to use as compost, creating a closed loop where nothing is wasted.


beauty of imperfect and unintentional sustainability

The Beauty Of Imperfect and Unintentional Sustainability

Sustainability, sustainability, sustainability. You and I see these words almost every day and everywhere, from blogs to social media posts. Though the term “sustainability” gained popularity pretty recently, especially from the climate change movement, early stages of environmental debate began as early as 1980.

In simpler terms, being sustainable doesn’t only mean creating new technology for the betterment of our planet but our capability to maintain that stability between man and nature. The ever-changing modern world has pushed most people to start advocating for a greener Earth, especially when most of our planet is slowly being destroyed in the name of urbanization and greed.

It’s still not too late for us to demand change and take matters into our own hands, by taking small steps as individuals. That is how the sustainability movement that we know today, was born. Sustainability is defined differently for everyone, but we’re all working towards a common goal.

Despite common myths and stereotypes, living ethically does NOT make you a hippie, though that would be pretty fun too! Sustainability is not a trend or lifestyle change, it’s simply a mindset shift. It’s all about how creative we can get in finding solutions to common problems that often leave a negative mark on our environment. Honestly, it’s as simple as that.

sustainability

Having a sustainable lifestyle can mean many things, from going vegan to reusing items that are usually thrown out. However, not everybody has the opportunity or budget to practice ethical living. Limitations such as age, country, ethnicity, community and poverty act as a barrier for most people when it comes to going green.

Being a high school student from Southeast Asia, I often envy those who have more opportunities and stepping stones in helping them live more sustainably, such as being able to attend climate change marches and getting sustainable swaps for a lower price. Regardless, nothing is stopping me from taking small sustainable steps such as composting leftover food, repurposing items and educating others. This is what we call imperfect sustainability.

In order to raise awareness on climate change and popularize the sustainability movement, we need to first change the way we perceive the movement. Imperfect and intersectional environmentalism helps us understand that sustainability will continue to seem foreign to millions around the globe unless we learn to be more inclusive and respectful of others within the community.

All of us can’t be forced to follow a single path, thus, shaming others for not thinking the way you do will often result in people being discouraged and giving up on the movement. This is a reminder to always be mindful of how we treat others, especially in the sustainability community.

sustainability community

Now, you might be thinking, “How can we tackle climate change together if everyone is not doing the same thing?”. Well, we need people from all walks of life working differently towards a common goal for this to work. A common misconception is that using plastic is unsustainable, but we often forget that plastic is used widely in multiple fields such as the field of medicine.

To put it into simpler terms, we can’t get rid of the consequences of our past actions, such as the invention of plastic and usage of cars. We can, however reduce our consumption and try to be more conscious of our carbon footprint by doing simple actions, such as carrying reusable bags and taking public transportation. To be honest, such small actions won’t get rid of climate change in a day but it can help raise awareness and contribute, though not largely, to the climate change movement.

Imperfect sustainability plays a huge role in ensuring everyone around the globe gets the message that our planet needs help and we must do something about it. We need to remember that we have the power to demand change and one cannot demand change unless one changes himself first.

recycle

Now, let’s talk about unintentional sustainability. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard about that before and I’m not sure if it’s just something I invented! Regardless, the whole idea randomly popped into my head one day and I realized how often it’s either overlooked or not addressed at all.

Unintentional sustainability is when we carry out sustainable practices without even realizing it. Something as simple as not littering can be classified as unintentional sustainability. Furthermore, this term also highlights ancient “sustainable” practices that have been and still are carried out in some parts of the world. Using banana leaves as plates is one simple example of an ancient practice that evidently does minimal harm to the environment.

Growing up, I’ve noticed a lot of unintentional sustainability going on in my home, such as having a collection of used jars, reusing plastic bags and occasionally using banana leaves and clay pots as plates. This comes to show that we’re not new to the sustainability concept and it has actually been around for a long time. We just never paid attention to it!

On that note, I would like to remind everyone who’s reading this to take the first step. It is okay if your journey looks different from everyone else’s as we’re all working towards a common goal. You will never know how much potential you have in changing the world unless you give it a try!

Sure, your small steps may not make a huge difference but in taking the first step, you inspire so many people out there to take their first step too. Everyone knows that a collective movement bears more fruitful results. Regardless of where we’re from or how old we are, we all have our own unique ways to tackle climate change.

With that being said, here’s a gentle reminder to allow others to practice sustainability uniquely without being discriminated or shamed for their actions. Using plastic now and then doesn’t make you a bad person, so don’t let that discourage you from taking the first step. I’d recommend going on social media to get inspired first, or at least that’s how I began my sustainability journey. Never be afraid to take the first step, you never know how many people you’re inspiring.

one world



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Continue reading “5 Staycation Destinations in the U.K.”



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References

1 Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, Roland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law, 2017


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Let’s get started!

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By Julentto

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