OK. Brace yourself. I’m fired up. I’m an ambassador for the International Love Food Hate Waste program and I’m going to be doing a series of posts that I truly hope will get as many of you as possible thinking about how much respect you have for food and the work and life and carbon miles and water and…. you get the drift… that goes into having it in our lives. I’ll say it not for the last time: wasting food is inexcusable. Period. Check out these facts:

Image via www.veryshortlist.com

In Australia alone, we buy $7.8 billion per year of food we don’t use.

Households are throwing more than $1000 – or 585kg – worth of food into the garbage each year.

In America, getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten.

And then this: discarded food rotting in landfill gives off methane 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution that comes out of your car exhaust.

It’s a disgrace. There’s no excuse for it. None. I’m not going to get all “think about the starving kids in Africa” on you. Because the issue is more fundamental. It’s just plain wrong to waste. Anything. And if you care about food in any way, then I personally and very passionately feel you have to give a shit about this.

Anyone who knows me knows the extent I go to to not waste food. I won’t leave the house to travel interstate without using up every last scrap. I juice things, soup things. My freezer is full of par-cooked vegetables. I’ll go to friends’ houses and cook their scraps or about-to-turn vegetables for them.

You can catch up on the clever ways I go about not wasting food here and here.

The European Parliament has resolved to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2020. The Love Food Hate Waste program has been conducted over the past five years and 53 of the leading UK food retailers and brands have adopted a resolution to reduce waste in their own operations, as well as upstream and downstream in the supply chain. In just five years, avoidable household food waste in the United Kingdom has been reduced 18 percent. British tv chef and beer expert personality Richard Fox is active supporter of the Defra-backed Love Food Hate Waste campaign. He’s here in Australia right now to spread the word here…so  I got him to share some basic food saving tips (they’re pretty clever):

  • Coat left-over pasta with a drizzle of olive oil to avoid it forming into a solid, unusable block. Either re-heat in simmering water, or keep adding random bits of leftovers for an ever-evolving pasta salad.
  • Store salad leaves in a container lined with damp absorbent kitchen paper, place more damp paper over the top, cover with cling film or a lid and store in the fridge.
  • Wrap herbs in damp absorbent kitchen paper, and then cling film for days, if not weeks of perfect herb life.
  • With left-over white bread, cut off the crusts (and blitz into breadcrumbs), roll out with a rolling pin, cut into discs and line a muffin tin; season and drizzle over oil and bake until lightly coloured for free edible vessels for party food.
  • Combine left over broccoli, peas or beans with a spoonful of crushed potatoes, some tinned tuna mixed with mayo, a little lemon juice and herbs; form into patties and then coat in flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs and pan fry for delicious fish cakes.
  • Use squidgy, soft tomatoes for making delicious Italian Passatta sauce with onion, tomato puree, garlic and herbs.
  • Make delicious pasties with left over roast dinner by chopping and mixing all the leftovers together with a little gravy and encasing in encasing in short crust pastry before baking.

I also like this idea for using up leftover herbs: make a quick compound butter.

And these ideas for using up leftover wine (that half a glass left in the bottle that’s gone all tomato-sauce-lid-rank).

And these ideas for using orange peels.

If you’re keen to see Richard demonstrate what to do with leftovers, check out this event.

  •  Tuesday October 23
  • 6-8pm
  • at Kitchen by Mike
  • $80pp, with profits going to OzHarvest
  • tickets available here

Fired up about the issue too? Feel free to vent below…

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • kissmevodka

    I didn’t see “soup”! Eat the meat, use for casserole the next night, use for sandwiches. When down to the bone, use it to make stock and soup. THEN, compost that sucker!

  • Kate

    I’d be a bit worried about herbs/leaves absorbing dioxins from wet kitchen paper. Plus, kitchen paper is a bit environmentally unfriendly of itself. Our grandparents managed fine without it.