week #8 waste not want not

applesI am staring at four apples that are clearly past their prime, wondering what I can possibly do with them. I could just throw them away but lately I have been trying not to waste anything. Instead I laboriously peel and chop them (assisted by my long-suffering, small-changer-by-default husband) and stew them into a tasty treat for dessert to be complimented by toffee ice-cream. Call me Betty Crocker if you must but my reasons go deeper than simply wanting to connect with my inner domestic goddess.

Instead, I am concerned by what I see and read. According to one website, eighteen million tons of food is wasted in the UK each year. The impact of this is vast. It puts pressure on landfills, the cost of this waste is passed on to consumers and it requires unnecessary carbon emissions to produce food that will never be eaten. While we would all love to blame the supermarkets, the reality is that one third of this waste is produced by households. What is worse is that 925 million people around the world are underfed. Yet, according to the UN’s World Food Programme website, enough food is produced to feed the entire global population.

I think we can learn a lot from those who lived through world wars. My grandparents’ generation are far less cautious about product dates and other guidelines which are meant to ‘protect’ us when I wonder if these dates have just made our common-sense redundant. By carelessly buying food that will just go bad in the fruit bowl or by leaving produce to form a living community in the refrigerator, I am contributing to the impact of waste on the environment and the world’s poor.

So, I am proposing to a) be more realistic about how much food two people can consume when I buy groceries and b) not throw anything away if it can be refashioned into something edible. I draw the line at anything which is green and fury. Florence Nightingale might have begged to differ but thankfully she is not in a position to debate the matter. If I am hard-pressed for inspiration I can always turn to the Love Food Hate Waste website which has plenty of information and great recipe ideas. I suspect we can look forward to many soups, smoothies made from fruit I have frozen and bread pudding. I must admit, I am rather looking forward to using my innitiative and developing my culinary imagination. Step aside Betty Crocker?


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