Zero waste message for Renfrewshire families
KAREN Gilligan is giving Renfrewshire families food for thought when it comes to making the most of this summer's fruit and vegetables.
As Volunteer Co-ordinator of the Scottish Government's Zero Waste campaign in Renfrewshire, she's handing out tips and advice on how best to cook and store fruit and vegetables.
Karen works with Paisley's Kibble Education and Care Centre, which in partnership with Engage Renfrewshire, is managing the Zero Waste campaign locally.
Scotland households throw away around £70 million of fresh fruit every year, but there are lots of easy ways to cook and store fruit and vegetables. Now Karen aims to make sure families don't throw good food in the bin.
She says: "It's not only the money we waste when we throw away good food, it's also the water that's been used to grow and produce it. Not to mention the energy and effort that's gone into bringing the food to our table.
"There's an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables around at this time of year so why not make the most of them? Enjoy delicious harvest fruit and vegetables now and use our Love Food Hate Waste tips to store the rest to enjoy later in the year."
Karen's hints on cooking up a harvest feast include -
- Tasty vegetable lasagnes, Bolognese and chilli can be cooked now and any leftovers frozen in airtight containers, to make homemade ready meals to use when time's short. Defrost food in the fridge, use within 24 hours and cook thoroughly, making sure it's piping hot all the way through.
- Making a vegetable curry uses up lots of vegetables that need rescuing from the back of the fridge. Any veg can be used - courgettes, cauliflower, butternut squash, the choice is endless.
- Jacket potatoes make a quick and easy meal. Any leftover spuds are ideal for making fried potatoes for breakfast - dice and cook in a bit of olive oil or butter or try rustic hash browns for a change.
- An apple and berry compote is a delicious way to use up fruit.
Karen says almost any food can be frozen and it's a terrific way to enjoy seasonal food throughout the year. Storing food in the right place is important and preserving and pickling are also great ways to make harvest food last longer.
- Try making a fruit jam as even fruit that's past its best can be put to good use.
- Peppers are in season, but often recipes don't need a whole one. If there's any leftover leave the stem, seeds and membrane intact as it will keep in the fridge for much longer.
- If you've got lots of onions, chop them up and freeze in a container (such as a plastic storage box or freezer bag). They last for months and are great to use straight from the freezer. If they stick together give the container a bash and they'll loosen up. This also works for peppers and chillis.
- A great way to freeze swede is to peel, slice and cut into chips, but don't put into water. Pop into a plastic bag and freeze - they can be cooked from frozen.
- If you buy watercress in bunches, keep it fresh by storing it in a bowl of water and keep it in the fridge.
- Having a lot of tomatoes needn't mean throwing any away. Make batches of tomato sauce for pasta by simply chopping up the tomatoes, add to some fried onion, throw in some fresh herbs and garlic to taste and cook down to a pasta sauce. Put into individual portions and freeze.
- It's best not to keep potatoes in the fridge. Instead store them in a cool, dark, frost-free place (such as a cupboard - or larder if you have one) and they'll keep for longer. If they're past their best, cook them up into mash and freeze in portions - readymade topping for shepherd's pie or use to make easy potato cakes.
For lots more ideas, recipes and money saving tips to make the most of our food this harvest-time visit lovefoodhatewaste.com .
If you want to volunteer to help in the Zero Waste Scotland programme contact Karen by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0141 889 0044.
This article appeared in The Gazette 15 Aug 12