My ‘zero food waste’ challenge

Filed in Blog by on October 5, 2009 9 Comments
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'No food waste' challenge week

Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who wrote guest posts for us last week and enabled me to have a week off. I truly appreciate it and you all added such wonderful and insightful content to the site.

I’m back on track today, ready to take the baton on our food waste.

After a couple of disgraceful food waste Friday posts I’ve decided to set myself a challenge.

Yes it’s time for another ‘zero food waste’ challenge week.

If you’ve been throwing away a food mountain each week, feel free to join me!

After Sunday lunch yesterday I did a fruit bowl, veggie box and fridge inventory – these are the danger areas in this house.

The fruit bowl contains:

  • 4 lemons
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 orange
  • a couple of bananas
  • lots of apples
  • an avocado
  • lots of pears
  • 1/2 kg blackberries
Contents of fruit bowl - shouldn't be difficult to use

Contents of fruit bowl - shouldn't be difficult to use

That’s not difficult to deal with. I’d bought all the lemons to made lemonade – Little Miss Green has been asking me to make it for ages, after reading too many Enid Blyton books.

So I’ll either actually get around to it and pop in some lemon balm from the garden for good measure or she can drink them squeezed into water each morning, which she loves. I can also make a lemon cake if all else fails.

The rest of the fruit is simple enough as we eat fruit for breakfast every day.

The vegetable box contains a slightly more alarming array of things: I’ve split it into 2 parts; things which need using up before they are compost bin casualties

  • 4 onions
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 2 broccoli heads
  • around 1kg carrots
  • 1 courgette
Vegetable box ingredients which need using up soon

Vegetable box ingredients which need using up soon

and things which will last longer:

  • large white cabbage
  • 1 leek
  • potatoes
  • bag carrots
  • broccoli
Food that will keep for a while - phew!

Food that will keep for a while - phew!

Things which need using up in the fridge are:

  • 2 pots potatoes – 1 mashed and 1 cooked and diced
  • 1 tub home made tomato brushetta topping
  • bit of black pepper cheese
  • pot of cream
  • Some left over cooked vegetables from Sunday lunch
  • 1/2 tin sardines
Yesterday's leftovers become tomorrow's ingredients

Yesterday's leftovers become tomorrow's ingredients

It looks like, as well as a ‘no food waste’ week it will be a ‘no spend’ week too! Funny how these things go hand in hand. Not.

Does anyone else need to tweak their good habits back in to place? Have you been creating food waste recently?

I know I’m not alone in this! Just Gai has signed up to Bristol Council’s Food waste diary competition!  In conjunction with the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, residents in Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are being encouraged to keep a food waste diary for a week to raise awareness of what they actually throw away. What a fabulous idea!


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Great to see you back after a decent break. The visiting posters gave fresh perspectives on the many issue related to our trend.

    Lemons can be sliced and placed in a bowl of hot water, with sugar added to suit. Stirring helps circulate the flavour and cooling on the fridge finishes the process. It is a great summer drink but a hotter version might be more suitable, later in the year.

    Looking as ever for Zero Waste purchases, loose aubergines were on sale in Aldi. They are ideal for those who prefer grilled food and can be cooked alongside mince burgers etc, saving energy. Tripe has been a recent addition to the cheaper cuts tried from the local butcher. It seemed a difficult challenge but worked out fine with a similar recipe to ox liver. The trick with these foods is to use other meat, bacon or sausages, to provide a meaty flavour or texture.

  2. As John says great to see you back.

    Just a thought on some of that veg, most of it could be chopped and frozen if you weren’t going to get round to using it quickly enough, would need to blanch the carrots and broccoli but the onions and leeks can be frozen as is. The courgette can be grated made into muffins; or grated and frozen in little tubs/ ice cube trays for a quick addition to a soup or stew etc, will go watery so cant be used as a veg in its own right.

    Put the fresh potatoes into a dry dark place and they will keep for at least another week, wrap in newspaper if need be.

    the cabbage, carrots and onion or leek could be made into a homemade coleslaw only need a little lemon juice and mayonaise.

    with the garlic you could either chop or crush and freeze in ice cube trays for adding later in stews etc or with some softened butter make garlic butter and then wrap in portions in greaseproof paper great for cooking steak in or even chicken or for making garlic bread.

    As for the things in the fridge that to me would be a big bubble & squeak style lunch served with maybe some salad if you have some or even some of the broccoli and carrots.


  3. Sarah says:

    Welcome Back!

    You could plant the garlic?

  4. Welcome back Mrs G – great to see you. I’ve been pondering the whole food waste thing and I’ve noticed two things particular trends that result in extra food waste at home

    1. If Mr A goes shopping and buys unexpected things (like extra ham, pate etc), it will often end up going to waste, simply because he doesn’t tell me that he’s buried it at the bottom of the fridge.

    2. If either of us leaves an extra portion for the other to finish off, it can be left untouched because sometimes we forget to tell each other.

    At least the great news is that it doesn’t happen very often, so things are getting much better. And on that note, I’d better go and finish the rice pud left over from yesterday. 😀

  5. Just Gai says:

    Thanks for the link.

    I like the lists. It should be easier to plan menus if you know what needs using up first.

    Labelling’s a good idea too. If I had stuck a label on the tub of bolognaise sauce in my fridge I might now know how long it’s been there. As it is I shall have to rely on my sences of smell and taste.

  6. sandy says:

    Nice to have you back. you could make a vegetable stew.

  7. Julia says:

    Food waste is definitely a problem around here too. Everything looks so good when I go to the local farm stand or farmers market that I end up buying more then we could possibly eat before it goes bad. I’ve been trying to be better. The farm I like best is open wed-mon so I’m making more frequent trips and buying less and that’s been helping. Can’t wait to see how your challenge goes!

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, I loved having a week of guest posts because different people are able to write about all sorts of topics that I would not dream of. It was good to inject some ‘fresh blood’ into MZW! There is only 1 lemon left now I think. Aubergine is something I’ve never cooked…

    @maisie dalziel: Thanks for all your lovely sounding ideas, Maisie. Packs of garlic butter are an excellent idea and bubble and squeak is always a big hit, but I often forget to make it 😉

    @Sarah: Hi Sarah, I thought you had to buy special garlic for planting, a bit like you need to buy seed onions or seed potatoes??

    @Almost Mrs Average: It’s good to recognise the ‘weak points’ in the ways things run at home, Mrs A – we have a couple of issues too, so being aware of them can help to prevent the problem. The main one of ‘take what you can eat and then come back for more if you want it’ really helps with kids.

    @Just Gai: Hi Just Gai – you had a fantastic week; well done you! Labelling is a great idea; I never do it and I should

    @sandy: Hi Sandy; good to see you. Stews always go down a treat; I shall be making one this evening with my famous dumplings!

    @Julia: Hi Julia, I know what you mean – I always go shopping with a list now and only go to the farm shop once a week; that works better for me, but I can see how more frequent trips could work as well.

  9. Sarah says:

    @Mrs Green: Purists would say buy special garlic that is certified free from disease and is a recognised strain but I’ve had success growing supermarket garlic, and I know other people who have too.

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