I’ve had a bit of a thing for food waste for a while now. Or rather, reducing food waste and the belief that this needs to happen across the food chain. Recently I’ve started making an even more determined effort than before to make sure I’m doing everything I can on an individual level to prevent the food I buy from being wasted. So I’ve decided to:
- Not be put off by buying or eating food that’s past its prime – hence my recent super salad soup
- Eat all parts of a food where possible
- Try new ways of cooking food in order to use it up
Earlier this week, for example, I got a bargain cauliflower which was about to reach its sell by date. Ordinarily, I would throw away the outer leaves and most of the stalk, and just eat the cauliflower itself, but the leaves/stalk are also perfectly edible, so they’ll get chucked into a vegetable soup at some point. We’ve been conditioned in the West to believe we can’t eat stalks, stems, cores, seeds and leaves when there’s really no reason why we shouldn’t.
I’ve found that wanting to waste as little as possible has made me start thinking more creatively about how to cook food, which has been quite fun. As I’ve also been trying to empty my freezer so I can defrost it, I’ve been experimenting with things I might not have otherwise tried. A few days ago, I hit on the idea of combining the soya beans and small tub of mint I had in the freezer with a tin of butter beans and some plain yogurt that also needed using. Voila my bean and mint dip!
It was delicious with the homemade pitta, which also got me thinking about things I might easily be able to make myself from time to time, rather than buying them from the supermarket. That way I’d be saving money and not purchasing something packaged in plastic (another of my pet peeves!).
While there are many people out there who are doing a lot more than I am to reduce waste – food and otherwise – I think when you’re trying to change habits you’ve lived with your whole life, you need to start with small steps. But the great thing is taking those steps can be really enjoyable and can often give you a whole new perspective on something.