I watched an interesting film the other day, “Just Eat IT a food waste story”, about a couple who try to live off food which is destined to be thrown away. Very interesting – especially as we become more conscious of the scale and impact of food wastage is having personally, locally and globally.
One of the worst times for food waste is around key holiday times with Christmas being the biggest offender. When faced with larger numbers to cater for (coupled with our attempts to replicate Masterchef and Great British Bake Off all at the same time!) we buy far too much and end up throwing it away. In 2014 Unilever released a report which estimated we wasted the equivalent of 4.2 million Christmas dinners which equates in part to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussels sprouts!
It is too easy to say that an individual’s actions do not have an impact, but when you consider that in developed countries more than half of food waste takes place in the home it is an obvious step that I can take some collective responsibility. When we casually throw away that bowl of sprouts, we throw away all the energy and resources it has taken to produce, process, transport and cook them. So, this year I have decided to have a ‘zero food waste’ Christmas.
I have put together a strategy to help achieve this, and now is the time to get organised!
Identify what is needed over the key entertaining period and organise all the menus and recipes. Look at the storage required and make room. I use the garage as additional external storage space for vegetables – it is a time when cold weather can be helpful!
Write out shopping lists out and stick with them! Busy supermarkets seem to send us into a spin of panic impulse buying!
Many elements of our traditional Christmas meals can be prepared beforehand and put in the freezer – you can even cook and freeze roast potatoes! Not only does it reduce the panic on the big day but it also helps free up cooker space at critical times!
Have fun with your cooking. Share the load, set leftover challenges, see what culinary magic you can all conjure up! There are lots of great websites out there for inspiration such as “Love Food Hate Waste” which has masses of great ideas and recipes.
My hope is that this methodology will continue after Christmas and ‘zero food waste’ will become a new 2020 New Year’s resolution. Enjoy!