Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food Wastage

“Wastage” Is that a word? I looked it up and it means, among other things...

3. An amount that is wasted or lost by wear.

I googled (as you do!) and got this:

Food waste
Every day all over New Zealand, families throw out food that could have been eaten. Bread that has gone stale, bananas that have gone black, and mince that we didn’t cook by the use by date all end up in the rubbish. A good part of the family grocery bill simply gets thrown away.

How much food gets wasted?
We don’t have the exact figures for New Zealand but a 2008 United Kingdom study found that on average each person throws away 70kg of edible food a year. That is one third of the all the food a household buys a year – and a huge amount of money! The study also showed that most of the food wasted was avoidable. Sixty-one per cent of the food thrown away could have been eaten if it had been better managed (e.g. left over take-aways, food that has past its expiry date).
The UK study also found the top ten types of avoidable food waste were:
1. Potatoes
2. Bread Slices
3. Apples
4. Meat or fish mixed meals
5. World bread (e.g. naan, tortilla)
6. Vegetable mixed meals
7. Pasta mixed meals
8. Bread rolls/baguettes
9. Rice mixed meals
10. Mixed meals

We don’t waste that much in our house (I don't even buy 'world breads') but some food is disposed of when not eaten, but not in the rubbish.

The first step is to only buy what you know you will need to prepare and eat.
You will need to have an idea of the meals you will be having, but that is another post altogether!!
I try to only prepare the amount of food we are going to eat.
Leftovers are either served up the next day as lunch (especially pastas, rice meals and pizza) or an after school snack.
Sometimes if there is enough to make up a meal I will reheat that thoroughly for hubby and the rest of us will have a pasta meal as he doesn’t like pasta.
Cooked veges will be made into a quiche  and left over casseroles will be frozen and added to the next casserole as flavour or thawed for a single meal.

If cooked meat has been left for a few days our dog Charlotte gets it as a meal or snack!

Biscuits that have gone stale will be made into chocolate truffles and old cake is frozen for the same reason. One of my Christmas treats uses old cake.

Crusts are frozen and when enough are collected to cover a baking tray they are put into the oven straight after baking to ‘dry out’ and then processed in the food processor to make homemade bread crumbs. I have not bought store bought bread crumbs for years.

Fruit that is not so nice to eat raw can be used in cooking and puddings.
Vegetables can be added to soups stews etc.

In years gone by there weren’t fridges like we have now and people didn’t die from food that was a few days old. In fact it just wasted wasted as people couldn't afford to waste it.

If bananas go brown they are made into muffins, cakes or frozen until I have time to do so. Banana skins are placed around the base of roses bushes as the skins produce potassium as they rot down which rose bushes love.

Any other food scraps are feed to the chooks They will either eat them (and the bonus is we get eggs) or scratch the scraps into the ground which helps to fertilise the ground for our gardens.

Before we had chooks we had a compost heap and the scraps would go on it along with grass clippings, leaves, weeds, vacuum cleaner dust, wood ash from the fire, branch clippings etc.
Anyone can have a compost heap and it is easy to make from a basic heap on the grown to a purchased manufactured one.
The secret to making good compost is turning it so the air gets through it and keeping it warm. Even a heap on the ground can be covered with plastic or an old carpet to help the process.
If the end result isn’t enough to build a garden it can be just added to the garden you do have or it would certainly be enough, to add to the ground as you plant trees, plants or to place around them for mulch etc.

So although you may have food that needs to be tossed, think twice before it goes in the rubbish as there maybe other ways to put it to use.

Today as I sit here the slow cooker is clicking away and the smell of a warm winter meal is filling the house. It is oxtail meat and it was given to us. In the slow cooker the meat just falls of the bones and I serve it as a casserole.
I added some peas left over from last night’s tea. The vegetable juices from the carrots and peas cooked the night before were the only liquid I put in..
There is a chopped onion and some meat juices I collected after the fat was taken off from a roast a few nights ago.
To finish it off I added ¼ cup of my home made tomato sauce.
In doing so I cleaned out the fridge of food that was beginning to need to be biffed, but it hasn’t been. I will soon add some finely chopped silver beet and serve it with lots of mashed potatoes and carrots (all from the garden). And none of this food has cost me anything.

1 comment :

  1. Good advice Fiona - simple but very effective. If everyone took one of your hints and practised it, then things would impove greatly.