|Tomatoes stored on the bench with a green apple to help them ripen.|
Think Eat save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
At Chez Earthmotherwithin, we are working hard on this one -and have been for some time.
1. Menu planning. This is where I start by looking in the cupboards and fridges and freezers to see what we have got, and then plan meals for a fortnight around those things. This means that we use up what we have got before it gets too old to use. I used to only plan for the main meal of the day, but increasingly I plan all the meals. This includes ways to tart up leftovers to make them more interesting. I have a number of meals that I now know will work this way.
I have found it easier to do the menu plan if I pick up one of my many recipe books and use it as inspiration for the meals -this takes me out of the 'boring and humdrum' old favourites.
There are three of us here and we all cook, so a menu plan is posted on the fridge and then anyone can see what is for dinner. DH really likes the menu plan because it solves the problem of deciding what is to eat.
DD likes it because she can see what she is allowed to snack on , and what is an ingredient vital to dinner!
2. Eat less meat. Our aim is to eat vegetarian meals on every second day. Meat is expensive to produce -it needs lots of water and land- and to buy, and so we are supporting our budget and the environment by doing this. Last night for example, we had baked potatoes with coleslaw, sour cream, salsa and cheese, served with cucumber, green beans and tomatoes. It was followed with jam pudding and icecream.
|Lettuce pot in the winter sunshine|
We are not self sufficient in food. We try to grow things that are expensive -such as asparagus or avocadoes-or lettuces. This is a little pot of lettuce growing outside my sewing room window. Lettuce is $24.00 a kilo and goes slimy when kept if bought from the supermarket. Lettuce I grow is fresh and picked just before eating. It costs about $3 for a punnet which will supply us for about 6 weeks -and less if we sew seed rather than buy seedlings.
|Eureka lemons in season now.|
We also love the condiments and herbs which make food interesting -lemons and limes, parsley and rosemary, mint and sage. These are very expensive to buy -one lemon for $2 or a bunch of parsley for $3.50! Cheap as chips to grow yourself and your food is so much nicer as a result. Dried herbs are different than fresh ones in taste.
4. Store things carefully.
|Apples cooked in the slow cooker and frozen for later enjoyment|
5. Preserve what is in excess
This is as simple as freezing leftovers so that they don't spoil until you fish them out for lunch -adding them to a toasted sandwich or popping a pastry top on them to make a pie. It also includes making soup out of tired vegetables and then freezing in portions for later. We make jam out of lemons and limes and tangelos we have grown. I pickled radishes for garnishes to sandwiches (nicer than I expected) and I have done a little preserving in the hot water bath method.
|Pomegranates add a luxury touch to summer salads|
6. Have a compost bin and a worm farm for the waste -so it is not wasted!
My worms are easy to look after and turn the small amount of waste we produce into fertilizer to grow more veggies for free. Food waste in municipal garbage dumps creates harmful methane gas -but compost and worms just do the planet good, naturally.
Here are some suggestions for further reading:
Try your local library for these.