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Welcome to Leftover Pie

Carrot in the shape of a pair of trousers

Welcome to Leftover Pie: 101 Ways to Reduce your Food Waste.

With tips, recipes, hints on how to reduce your food waste and much more, this blog will give you practical ideas on making the most of the food you buy, as well as the odd picture of vegetables in interesting shapes.

Share your ideas with us, or let us know if you’d like to write a blog for us.

 

5 ways to deal with food waste

Food Waste Hierarchy, AP, Apr17

The food waste hierarchy seems to be a well-kept secret.  Yet it is a very important piece of information in the fight against climate change.  Given that food and farming are responsible for such a huge carbon footprint and food waste itself compared to every country’s total carbon emissions, would come in third behind only the USA and China, we really do need to be more familiar with it.

The food waste hierarchy tells you how best to deal with your food waste and here are 5 ways that help you do that:

1. At the top of the hierarchy is to reduce the amount of waste we produce.  Leftover Pie covers lots of ways to do that, from meal planning, better storage, or better use of the bits. Making more of the food we buy is a great way to save money, helps you to get more of the goodness out of your food, and helps you reduce your own carbon footprint.

But even so, everyone will have some food waste.  I certainly do. So assuming you have number one on your to-do list already, what can be done with the waste you still produce?  This is where chapter four comes in.

2. Make use of your council’s separate waste collection if you have one.  You can read more about why this is important in the book, but in short:

  • it save money
  • it reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • it turns a problem into a solution.
What’s not to like?  If you have creatures in your food waste, rest assured you’d have them in your residual waste too – if that’s where you are chucking your waste food. They are probably just hidden by all the other rubbish, so you can’t see them.  Most of the time food waste collections are more frequent than your general waste, so it makes sense to make use of it.
3. Composting at home is a great way to deal with food waste if you have the space.  You can get closed composters, open composters and hot composters.  There will be something that suits your circumstances.  Leftover Pie explains the important part of getting the mix right on your compost to keep it smelling sweet. In short, you need to have the right mix of nitrogen-rich greens and carbon-rich browns.  If your compost starts to smell, hold back on the greens. If your compost looks like it is doing nothing, then hold back on the brown while you add a bit more green, to boost it into action.
4. Most people consider that you can’t compost cooked food.  It is not that cooked food isn’t compostable, just that it is considered to attract unwelcome visitors, particularly of the ratty variety. An alternative, that can deal with cooked food including meat is to have a wormery.
5. If you are short on space and want your compost to break down a bit quicker, consider having a bokashi bin.
All of these ways are good ways to deal with your unavoidable food waste (and of course those little mistakes we all make from time to time when life gets a little out of hand).

 

10 top tips for reducing food waste

I’m often asked for my top 10 tips on reducing food waste, so here you have them.

  1. The big number one tip has to be…  Buy less food! Try to think of each shopping expedition as one where you will buy the minimum amount of food to get by rather than one where you are going to fill your trolley and pack your fridge full to bursting.  It is a small change in mindset that makes a huge difference.Buy Less
  2. Before you shop, use up what you’ve got in the fridge.  Even though your fridge is a device to keep food safe to eat for longer it is actually where most food waste occurs.  A fridge doesn’t stop rot, it just slows down the process.  SO you need to make sure you organise your fridge so that anything that has a short life or has already been opened in the case of packets or jars is at the front of the fridge at eye level. If you have one main weekly shopping day, make sure the meal the night before is a use-it-up style meal such as risotto, stir-fry, soup or omelette. If you run your stocks down it is easier to see what you have and work out what you need.
  3. When you make each meal, make sure you check the Use-by date on other items so you don’t find you are using things in the wrong order.  If you really don’t fancy cooking whatever has a Use-by date today, then take action and put it in your freezer for another time.
  4. If you do a meal plan, which I highly recommend – make sure you plan in meals that can use up leftovers and plan to have store-cupboard only meals on a couple of days each week.  That gives you leeway for last minute invitations or days when your plans just go completely astray and you run out of cooking time or enthusiasm.
  5. Have a read of chapter two of Leftover Pie and get to grips with portion control.  Premeditated leftovers are fab is you are deliberately cooking an extra portion for tomorrow’s lunch boxes.  But unless you know you want extra for a specific reason, then weigh out what you are going to cook.  If your scales are a permanent feature on your kitchen counter then this can become second nature and you will have perfect portions every time.
  6. Avoid plate waste by encouraging people to serve themselves.  Only you can know how hungry you are, so remember only they know how hungry they are.  Encourage your family to be conservative in their estimate of how much they are going to eat, finish it, pause and rest a bit, then go back for more if you feel the desire.
  7. Cool leftover food quickly and put it in the fridge.  You can help things cool more quickly by dividing them up into single portions.
  8. Freeze in a mixture of single or double portions and never more.
  9. Make rules for fridge foragers.  Get them their own shelf and lay down the law that that’s where they pick from first.
  10. Don’t be afraid to write notes in your fridge.
Top 10 tips to reduce food waste
Top 10 tips to reduce food waste

For delicious “leftover” recipes from leading chefs and to find out how you can reduce your food waste, buy Leftover Pie today.