28 Mar 8 tips for cooking seasonal food to prevent food waste at home
To help you avoid throwing food away in the kitchen, we’ve teamed up with the online farmers’ marketplace Farmdrop who are on a mission to simplify the food chain and fight food waste. Try your hand at their top tips to transform offcuts into essential ingredients and save money along the way.
When it comes to food waste, we all know the stats are tough to digest. Almost 50% of the food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes costing the average household £470 a year. However, our current food system is also a big part of the problem too. We’re on a mission to fix the food chain by connecting local food producers directly with people who want to enjoy the freshest food possible and prevent the waste caused by lengthy supply chains and unnecessary restrictions. Did you know up to 40% of farmers’ crops are thrown away because they are ‘imperfect’?
Of course nobody wants to waste food, and whilst we’re fighting it in the fields, just how is it that so much of what we buy and take home ends up in the bin? One of the main reasons is that we don’t use it in time, and that’s where OLIO makes things easy. Turns out we all need a helping hand when it comes to fighting food waste when it comes to cooking too. So, with that in mind, here are our tips to help you cook consciously at home, using as much as possible of your seasonal food to reduce what goes in the bin – roots, fruits and all. If there’s one thing that sticks to help you make the most of your food, we hope it’s the mantra: love the veg, the whole veg and nothing but the veg (and swap ‘veg’ for any waste-prone food!).
1. Beetroot to yourself
Don’t throw away the green leaves of fresh beetroot. Slice them up and use in salad like you would with fresh kale or chard. Serve it with the prepared beetroot bulb and you’ve got yourself a recipe that has very little waste. Try roasting your beets with olive oil, garlic and a little honey, serve with crumbled goats cheese and toss with its leaves.
2. Eat shoots and leaves
Talking of leaves…salad is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to waste food at home. 45% of all salad produced ends up uneaten and in the bin. It’s easy to refresh leaves by running them briefly under cold water. If time has run away with you and they really are past their prime, throw into a frittata or risotto with lots of garlic and herbs, or blend a vegetable soup – have a go by adding them at the end of whipping up a quick, flavoursome pea and mint soup.
3. Love the skin your potatoes are in
Forget about peeling potatoes. The nutritional value of vegetable skins has been proven over the years – potatoes, for example, have their vitamin C concentrated under the peel and as much as 35% of it can be lost when they are peeled. Give them a good wash, par boil, crush a them a little and roast them with the skin on – you’ll end up with a satisfyingly crispy flesh and a cracking skin. The skin of conventionally farmed potatoes may contain chemical residues removed in peeling, so go for organic or those grown at a trusted source where possible when it comes to tattys.
4. Seed snack saviour
Don’t throw away pumpkin seeds after you’re finished with it’s beautiful orange flesh. Packed with lots of fibre per gram compared to its flesh, roast them up with olive oil, a little garlic and chilli flakes and they’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer. You can do this in separate dish whilst roasting its flesh.
5. Use your onion
There’s nothing wrong with using the green shoots of an onion bulb. They’re a treat to eat, having been fed with all the goodness in the water and sugars in the energy powerhouse of the bulb. Chop them up and use like you would a spring onion – try in stir fries and wait for your taste buds to light up.
6. Pop a lemon in it
Often find yourself using half a lemon and have a spare half knocking around your fridge? Add a slice to a mug of hot water and sip on this for your first drink of the day. Full of vitamin C, lemon is great for your immune system and boosting digestion – trying this first thing in the morning will really help to get your system going! Add slices to water with ice and cucumber for a refreshing sugar-free pep of a drink too, or drizzle its juice and zest shavings on blanched greens and salads at every opportunity to add fresh zing to veggies.
7. Stock party
Use up the odds and ends of vegetables (and any meat carcasses) by throwing them into a big pot for a batch of stock-making. Root vegetables, onions, shallots and fresh herbs all make the grade for stock, in fact, pretty much anything goes! Leave to cool and freeze in tupperware or in ice cube trays to make it easy to access and you can be proud of dishes made with your own homegrown stock.
8. Say hello to sweet treats
Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and beetroot lend themselves really well to cakes. If you love juicing and have leftover pulp, pop it in a cake or biscuit and it’ll provide added fibre and texture to your sweet proceedings. If raw, throw them in finely grated into the batter of American-style pancakes for a quick breakfast (if using beetroot, gaze in amazement at pink pancakes before diving in!) or pack into flapjacks.
Farmdrop is an online farmers’ marketplace that delivers to the freshest food from the best local producers straight to your door. Find out more about Farmdrop’s seasonal food and their mission to fix the food chain.