Along with bananas, bagged salads are apparently one of the most frequently thrown away foods in the UK. It figures. There’s not much worse than squishy, brown bananas and limp, slightly smelly salad leaves.
According to Love Food Hate Waste, uneaten food
costs the average household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £60 a month
While I’m definitely way, way below the average (just who are these people who throw away £60 worth of food a month?!), even somebody who hates chucking away food as much as I do can find themselves with the odd bit of mouldy cheese or furry yogurt. But I do make a conscious effort to save anything in my fridge that looks like it might be on its way out from actually reaching the bin. Recently I’ve become even more determined in my attempts to swoop in and save overripe fruit and vegetables from their fate, which is why this afternoon I made what I’m calling my ‘super salad soup’.
Prior to producing a vat of soup, the contents of my fridge included:
- One lonely, limp carrot
- Some baby potatoes
- Two bags of sort of still fresh salad (bought because they were reduced to 29p each)
- Half a bag of decidedly un-crispy salad
- Half a tin of chick peas (no idea what I used the other half for)
- Two sorry looking spring onions
- Half a large onion
- A few cloves of garlic
Given I’m going away for a few days, action was clearly needed to avert a food waste disaster. On several occasions I’ve read about how it’s perfectly possible to make soup out of salad, but I’ve always been a bit put off by the thought of it. Until today, when I thought ‘What the heck?!’ and went for it (such is my dedication to the food waste cause!).
Now I’m not going to lie; when I was making my soup with the ingredients listed above, plus the dregs of a bag of frozen sweetcorn, it looked pretty gross, and I wasn’t even sure it would be edible. Once it had gone into the blender, however, and had been transformed from miscellaneous vegetable lumps with a hint of slime to lovely, velvety looking green soup, I perked up a bit.
I’ve always believed the beauty of soup is that you can chuck anything in it and it will taste good. The classic combinations of carrot and coriander or leek and potato are always winners, but you really can’t go that far wrong with any old veg. Nor, it would seem, with soggy salad. When I gingerly sampled my soup, I was quite surprised to find it actually tasted like pea with a hint of general vegetable goodness. I was pretty pleased with how the flavour turned out.
As of today, I’m a convert to salad soup and I’ve vowed I’ll never again throw away salad that’s past its best. My soup made me think once again that part of the issue of food waste could be addressed if people’s perceptions and attitudes changed. As I’ve discovered, limp salad leaves might look unappetising but by keeping an open mind, you can easily turn them into something filling, nutritious and tasty. If you’re still not convinced, give it a go!