Pumpkins: the scary truth

It’s that time of year when supermarkets are experiencing something of an identity crisis. Reindeer shaped chocolates sit on the shelves alongside Halloween costumes. With stocking fillers, fireworks and trick or treating paraphernalia all vying for our attention in store right now, supermarkets are no doubt doing a sterling job of creating a nightmare for anyone with young children.

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But it’s not all bad news. For me, this time of year is all about warming, comforting root vegetables, oven roasted or in soups. Last week I discovered a new way of cooking parsnips, thanks my favourite recipe book, the Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion, and also made my own root vegetable crisps out of peelings over the weekend. I generally never bother peeling any of my vegetables (what’s the point of investing time and effort into getting rid of all that goodness?!), but after making those, I might just start – they were delicious!

October is synonymous with pumpkins, of course, but I found out today that unfortunately only 1 in 3 Brits actually eat their pumpkin once they’ve carved it. That’s the equivalent of the weight of 1500 double decker buses in pumpkin waste, which is pretty sad, given how many people that could feed.

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As a result, a new campaign has been started to try to get us to think more like our American cousins and use pumpkin flesh in pies and soups. I hope the campaign is successful – apart from anything else, pumpkin is far too delicious to simply end up in the bin post Halloween.

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Inglorious fruits

Did you know that 2014 is the European year against food waste? I had no idea until recently, which leads me to suspect the UK hasn’t been doing much of the national awareness raising it’s supposed to as part of the EU resolution that was adopted. The European Parliament is hoping to halve the amount of food waste its member states produce by 2025, across the food supply chain, with an emphasis on getting more food to the 79 million Europeans who live below the bread line. You can read more about the legislation here.

France – as ever when it comes to anything food related – looks like it’s a bit ahead of the UK with supporting the year against food waste. One of their major supermarket chains, Intermarche, has devised this brilliant campaign to change consumers’ perception of  ‘inglorious’ or ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables. I love this video they made to explain the project.

Apparently Intermarche are now rolling out the scheme across all their supermarkets, which is great news for producers and consumers. Apart from their very clever marketing of the ‘ugly’ produce, the fact that they also used the fruit to make smoothies and the vegetables for soup, and then sold these in-store, must have helped to get the message across that the appearance of carrot or apple isn’t related to how it tastes. It’s great to see a supermarket making a genuine effort to tackle food waste at last.